Keeping your engine well-maintained and healthy is the best way to improve fuel economy and extend the life of your car. Fuel economy can be improved by 4% just from proper fluid maintenance and up to 40% if there’s a major issue. It’ll also make your vehicle run better and drive more easily. Keep an eye on the engine, be able to recognize trouble in the early stages, and always take your car to your dealership or mechanic when you notice an issue.
One sign of an engine problem is leaking fluids. The fluids can come from a number of places in the engine and can be the cause of cracks or leaks in the oil drain plug, the oil pan, the transmission, axle, radiator—you can diagnose the issue yourself, but you’ll need to schedule a service appointment to get the leak repaired.
Loud engine noises like clicking, knocking, or pinging can indicate a variety of issues including low engine oil, loose parts, or even the wrong motor oil. If you’ve checked your oil and filled it to the right level it’s still making noises, head to the shop.
If your engine is smoking, make sure it’s not spilled oil burning off and then check to see if the head gasket has blown or if there are any other issues you can see. If it doesn’t go away—you guessed it. Make a service appointment. You should also go in for repairs immediately if you see any visibly damaged parts on the engine, or if you notice the check engine light on your dashboard.