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8 Ways To Keep Your Car Running Well

Updated on May 19, 2012

1. Spark Plugs

Change them. Copper plugs should be changed every year or so while iridiums, platinums, etc will all last 2-4 years. No matter which you choose to run in your car, make sure you change them within a reasonable period to avoid engine misses and poor gas mileage.

2. Air Filter

Changing the air filter isn't something a lot of people think of. But over the years air filters become clogged with dirt and debris. Cars with air boxes are also good at trapping old leaves and such in there as well which will restrict air flow even further. Paper filters are relatively inexpensive and some cotton filters can be washed and reused for many years.

3. Seafoam

Seafoam is a fuel system cleaner. Half a can with a fresh tank of gas will help clean out the fuel system very well. If you're experienced with cars, Seafoam can also be run through the engine via a vacuum line to help out carbon build up and in the oil (oil needs to be changed within a few days to reduce the risk of gasket deterioration).

4. Oil Changes

Changing your oil routinely is very important. The longer oil is run through an engine, the thicker it gets. If you never change your oil, the oil will turn into a brownish, blackish paste which is no good for lubrication (there was a story of a BMW owner not changing oil for 60,000 miles). Conventional oils need to be changed every 3,000 miles and synthetic oils can last upwards of 5,000 miles (although some people still change oil at 3,000 miles).

5. Fuel Filter

Fuel filters are relatively easy to change on most vehicle. Changing your fuel filter every 50,000 will allow fuel to flow more easily to the engine and prevent the engine from running lean due to restrictions in the fuel filter.

6. Spark Plug Wires/Coils

Some cars run spark plug wires, some run coil on plugs. If you have spark plug wires, check them for corrosion in the boots and signs of wear on the wires. If wires inside the plastic casing are exposed, they could be grounding out to surrounding metal areas and not delievering enough power to the spark plugs.

If you have coil on plugs, a simple spark tester can determine if each of your coils are still firing well.

7. Clean Your IAC and MAF

A dirty idle air control valve (IAC) can lead to rough idles and a dirty mass air flow meter (MAF) can lead to poor engine performance. A can of carb cleaner will clean an IAC quickly and some electric contact cleaner (or MAF cleaner) will have your MAF metering air properly in no time.

8. Inflate Your Tires

Keeping your tires well inflated can lead to a better ride and better gas mileage. When inflating your tires, keep in mind that for every 10* increase in air temperate, the pressure in your tires will increase by 1psi. Never inflate your tires to their maximum recommended psi on a cold day.

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