Most of us are keeping our vehicles for longer periods and higher mileages. As your vehicle ages the performance of the engine will slowly decline. Good preventive maintenance will not only maintain your engine’s peak performance, but will also lesson the likelihood of an emissions system failure. It all starts with the fuel you choose to use in your vehicle. Always follow the manufacturers’ recommendation for octane level. More importantly use a fuel that has the proper cleaning additives to help keep the amount of carbon build up in your engine to a minimum. Look for fuels that are Top Tier compliant. There will usually be a sticker right on the pump to let you know it is Top Tier fuel. All fuels will leave carbon residue behind, but the Top Tier products will reduce the interval for extensive cleanings.
Every 30,000 miles have your fuel system cleaned thoroughly by a professional shop. This cleaning should include your throttle body, the injectors and a decarb service for the intake, valves and pistons. When your engine burns the fuel, it leaves carbon deposits throughout the engine and when these deposits go unattended the result is poor fuel mileage, poor performance and sometimes emission test failures. Tuning up your engine at recommended intervals is also vital to performance.
Worn spark plugs and other ignition components will weaken the ability of your engine to burn the fuel efficiently. Most vehicles use iridium spark plugs that last 100,000 miles but there are still some cars that have copper plugs that need to be replaced at 30,000 miles. It is recommended, to replace the ignition wires when spark plugs are replaced. Poor conductivity of the wires will also rob power from your engine. Always replace spark plugs with the brand and type recommended. All spark plugs are not created equal.
The final item that is causing your performance to decline is your engine compression. Compression is the force created by the piston as it travels towards the cylinder head. Over time carbon build up and wear on the cylinder walls will reduce the compression and weaken your engine. Regular oil change services are critical to help reduce the wear. The fuel system decarb service will correct the carbon build up on top of the pistons. The last step is cleaning the oil system and correcting the damage to the cylinder walls. This is accomplished by using an oil system cleaner before the oil is changed and then adding a system protectant that will correct the cylinder wall wear. The cleaner will remove carbon from the piston rings and remove sludge build up that has occurred over time. The protectant will smooth the cylinder walls and help the rings seal against them. It is recommended performing these services every 15,000 miles.