The engine is the most important part of an off-road car. Therefore, you have to take care of it if you want to enjoy your driving experience.
In this article, you will get some valuable tips on how to make sure the engine is always in good condition.
9 Tips To Protect Your Off-Road Engine
#1. Get A Regular Oil Change
If the engine is the heart and soul of an off-road vehicle, then oil can be said to be the lifeblood of the machine.
The oil provides lubrication, allowing the engine’s parts to operate smoothly by reducing the effects of friction.
Oil has to be changed on a regular basis. As oil is heated up in your engine, it slowly loses its viscosity or its ability to lubricate.
Over time, the oil loses its ability to keep the machine well-lubricated. If your engine is not well-lubricated, it will suffer from more wear and tear, drastically reducing its lifespan.
Some of the extreme conditions your engine endures when taking the car off-road can take a toll on it if you don’t regularly change the oil.
Fortunately, your vehicle will likely come with a manual with specific oil specifications and recommendations for oil change intervals. Stick to those recommendations and your engine should be fine.
#2. Use The Right Products
There are many off-road engine products out there, aside from the oils, such as filters, and additives.
You have to understand your engine’s specifications before settling for the right products. Otherwise, you risk damaging your engine courtesy of suboptimal maintenance.
If you’re not well-versed in your engine’s recommended products, get some expert advice whenever you want to try out a specific option.
For example, you have to be sure that your engine needs it before choosing the right catalytic converter cleaner or an injector cleaner.
#3. Listen For Any Unusual Noises
Being an alert driver is one of the attributes you’ll need to prolong the life of your engine.
When you’re off-road, your engine will absorb lots of bumps and vibrations that could loosen some bolts and nuts here and there. One sign of this would be loud rattling sounds coming from under the hood.
You probably know the usual sound your engine makes. If it starts making sounds that you don’t normally hear during a regular drive, you might have a problem.
Engine problems range from simple loose bolts to more complex issues that may need to be checked out in the shop.
Whatever the problem, you can’t ignore it. If you do, it could lead to more serious issues later on.
#4. Maintain The Cooling System
Your engine’s cooling system is also an integral part of your engine operation. If engine temperatures get too hot, the metal parts tend to deform or warp.
Your off-road engine will probably have to work extra hard if you’re in rocky or hilly areas, so it will end up running hotter than normal. Every car, including your off-roader, has a specified engine operating temperature.
To ensure that this temperature is not exceeded, you have to make sure that the coolant is topped up and the cooling system is doesn’t have any clogs.
#5. Do A Tune-Up
If you’re a handyman, doing your own regular service may have its advantages, but you may need to take it to a professional for a tune-up from time to time.
Having a trained eye check out your car once in a while could help maintain the engine better than if it was maintained by an amateur.
A professional will know things you likely don’t, so their insight and input are always invaluable.
#6. Change The Air Filter
The air filter is one engine feature usually taken for granted, but it plays an important role in your off-road’s engine.
Your engine needs some clean air to run efficiently. Think of it this way: What happens if you go out for a jog while covering your nose and mouth?
You’ll run out of breath and possibly faint. Likewise, if your air filter is clogged up, your engine will be starved of air and die.
Your off-road engine will likely travel in dirt roads and dust most of the time. Therefore, your air filter will likely get clogged sooner than a regular engine.
You have to be mindful of this and regularly change your air filters. Also, never take your car for a spin without an air filter; any dirt sucked into your engine will be detrimental.
#7. Check Belts
Your engine has a series of belts like at the alternator, water pump, and oil pump. Some cars will have a single belt running all these vital components.
Whatever the case, you have to ensure that you regularly check your belts for any signs of wear and tear.
Because these belts are made of rubber, they’ll begin to crack over time. The wear might be faster than usual for off-road engines because of the harsh conditions they’re exposed to.
Changing your belts regularly will therefore keep your engine smiling. Just remember to also check all the pulleys and bearings on which the belts run.
If a pulley is not running smoothly, your belt may face too much resistance, increasing wear. Replace any pulley if it shows signs of spinning inefficiently
#8. Fix Any Leaks
A leak could signify that you’re losing one of the many fluids powering your engine so they should never be ignored.
Engine leaks usually lead to problems such as loss of transmission fluid, engine oil, or coolant. They usually start small, but they could end up drastically reducing your fluid levels.
If your engine runs with low oil levels, it could suffer from abrasion and warping, causing engine knocking, among a host of other serious problems.
#9. Check Spark Plugs or Injectors
As with other engines, you will need to regularly check the condition of your spark plugs and other electrical components to keep your engine in good running condition.
Also, keep an eye on your battery; the last thing you need is a dead battery in the middle of nowhere.
If you drive a diesel engine, you may need to pay attention to the injectors. If your injectors malfunction, your fuel economy and general performance will be significantly diminished.
To keep your injectors in good working order, you should only use high-quality injector cleaners.
In A Nut Shell
The engine is the heart of your car, and an unhealthy engine means you have an unhealthy car.
For your off-road vehicle to keep a high level of performance, you have to ensure that the engine is well taken care of.
Using the tips discussed here should go a long way in keeping your engine protected. Good luck and drive safe!