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Time For An Annual Service Check? Here's What Should Be Checked About Your Engine

If there is one thing you can do to see your vehicle stay functional for the long haul, it is to make sure annual maintenance checks and tune-up schedules are closely followed. It is during an annual check-up that all kinds of things will be checked on your vehicle, from your steering and suspension to the electrical functions and your engine. Whether you do the basic service and tune-up on your own or you have someone do this for you at a mechanic is not important, but what is important is that you make sure all your bases are covered—especially where the engine is concerned. Here is what should be tended to at your annual service check when it comes to your engine.

1. Oil and filter change - Changing the oil and oil filter may happen more than once per year, depending on your average mileage, but in most cases, an oil and filter change will be part of the basic annual service call with a mechanic. This also is the ideal time to check everything over for oil leaks.

2. Check for Correct Timing Belt and Chain Placement and Operation - The timing belt or chain is what helps your vehicle run smoothly. It is not uncommon for this to slip out of place through the year and need to be adjusted, so this is naturally one component that should be checked during an annual check up.

3. Inspect the cooling system - The cooling system is a primary component of any engine, regardless of its components. Some of the things which should be checked in the cooling system include:

  • checking for proper coolant levels
  • examining the electric fan for proper operation
  • taking a look at the radiator
  • looking at coolant cap seals for signs of oil seepage
  • surveying coolant lines for signs of leaks

4. Check the spark plugs - Spark plugs are responsible for the generation of sparks which are sent into the piston chamber to ignite. While spark plugs can have a long life span, they can also fail due to corrosion or soot buildup. So an annual check up is the ideal time to check, clean and replace the spark plugs as needed. 

5. Replace the air filter - The air filter prevents contaminants from getting into the exhaust system of your car. Therefore the air filter must be checked and regularly changed to keep your car running smoothly.