If you’re a vehicle owner in Utah, it’s important that you take extra precautions to extend the life of your engine. You’ll get more miles and have fewer problems as the years go on. It can also mean decreased insurance rates!

Utah car owners would do well to follow a few simple rules for a stronger engine.

1. Have Your Car Serviced Regularly

The single best thing you can do for your vehicle is to have it serviced regularly. That’s typically every 3,000 miles or 3 months for regular oil and 6,000 miles or every 6 months for synthetic—follow your car’s owners’ manual to determine exactly when it should be serviced.

Research Utah mechanics to ensure you get the best possible service—a company that will treat you and other customers well will also do a great job on your engine service.

2. Inspect the Muffler

It never hurts to look into a muffler replacement. Utah emission laws are strict, especially after the inversion we’ve been experiencing in the last few years. Carefully monitoring your car emissions can contribute to your vehicle’s engine running more smoothly.

If your muffler is doing its job, you shouldn’t have to worry about failing to meet these protocols, but you’ll want to have it checked out. If it’s broken or not doing its job properly, consider a muffler replacement.

3. Drive Fewer City Miles

Utah mechanics will always tell you that a simple way to minimize engine problems is to drive fewer short, city miles, and more highway miles. Quick trips cause your engine to heat and cool rapidly, which is hard on the mechanisms within.

When possible, avoid heavy traffic and take fewer quick trips to the store. This will allow your engine to warm and cool more naturally, reducing strain on the machine.

4. Change Filters Regularly

Have a Utah mechanic check your air filter, fuel filter, and other filters in your vehicle regularly. Doing so will help to prevent impurities from entering your engine and causing problems down the road.

5. Identify and Repair Minor Engine Problems Immediately

Don’t ignore that sound coming from under your hood—have it checked out as soon as you can! Repairing minor issues can prevent larger ones down the road.

Additionally, never ignore your check engine light! In some cases, the light can flick on if there’s just a problem with a fuse, but in others, it could mean a more serious problem under your hood. If you’re not careful, ignoring a check engine light could mean your engine burning up while you’re driving!

6. Let the Car Warm Up This Winter

Utah winters can get rather cold, and if your vehicle has been sitting outside in subzero temperatures, the engine needs a minute to warm up before you drive off. Let it warm up for 5-10 minutes before taking off. It might increase your gas bill slightly, but it will decrease your expensive engine repairs in the future!

7. Watch Your Tires

The efficiency of your tires also affects the efficiency of your engine. Bald tires or tires with uneven tread can cause your engine to work harder, especially in more difficult conditions like snow or ice.

Having your tires rotated regularly and replaced when the tread is low or uneven can actually improve the efficiency of your entire vehicle.

8. Clean Your Engine Yearly

Did you know that your engine should be regularly cleaned? Many Utah mechanics offer this service and recommend that you do it yearly.

Having your engine cleaned doesn’t necessarily offer a smoother operation, but it can help mechanics spot problems like oil leaks or cracks in rubber hoses and plastic parts. It also prevents oil or grease buildup that can create a bad smell.

9. Store Your Vehicle Inside

If possible, store your vehicle inside a garage. Cold weather isn’t good for your engine, as the mechanism is expected to go from freezing cold to warm in seconds. It’s just enough warmth in your garage to help prevent this problem.

It also protects your vehicle from damaging hailstorms, falling debris, and other exterior elements. Keeping your engine clean and warm will certainly extend its life.

10. Drive More Carefully

Zipping in and out of traffic is not only hazardous to your health, but it’s also hard on your engine. Accelerating and braking quickly increase stress on engine components, causing it to wear down more quickly. It will also mean you’re getting more brake services in Utah.

Driving more cautiously and defensively is one of the best things you can do for your own safety as well as the longevity of your vehicle’s engine.