Over the 40 years in the motor trade these are reoccurring situations that I see.
If you as a driver deal with it correctly you will save yourself vast amounts of money.
It is the early stages of an issue that makes the difference to the cost.
If your engine sounds unusually noisy check your oil as it likely to be low.
The oil light may not have come on but that means nothing it will only come on when the engine has no oil in it.
The upper parts in the engine called the valve trail will start to get rattly when it is low on oil not out off oil, the noises are a warning sign, listen to your engine its not happy.
Check your oil.
If it needs it put some in, if you don’t know how to it is in your owners manual or ask me to show you.
The error that some drivers make is that I am getting it serviced next week I wont bother because the oil is getting changed. WRONG . you will cause major engine damage due to lack of oil, thousands of $ or $20 worth of oil from the service station you make your choice.
If your oil light comes on under brakes or going around a corner you are likely to be low on oil.
Check it and put some in.
The phone call starts with my engine is getting hot. For how long? About a week.
How much water if any did you have to put in( I know the answer to this one) “Oh, I haven’t checked it.”
OK LETS STOP HERE.
All modern engines take coolant (water /chemical mix)some hold as little as 5-6lt, not a lot.
The cooling systems are very efficient in modern engines until you lose some coolant due to a leak.
What this does is induces some air into the system ,cooling systems do not have any air in the system at all, when the engine gets hot this air turns into a steam pocket and the engine overheats rapidly.
You as a driver will see the temp gauge go to hot then drop then go up again then drop, it has a steam pocket.
You need to stop ASAP. And that does not mean I will drive home another 5 k then I will check it.
It is a human instinct to get home because it is safe , or I had to get to work, I have replaced a lot of head gaskets on that excuse.
Don’t do it. You need to stop.
Let it cool down and put water in the radiator or engine depending on the car.
Filling the overflow bottle will not fix it you have to fill the radiator or engine, check the owners book or ring me.
If you don’t deal with it ASAP you will most likely blow a head gasket or worse.
The other point is don’t go buying coolant just put water in, you have a leak ,you are wasting money, water is free it will continue to leak until it is repaired.
You need to keep checking the water and topping until the repair is carried out.
If you see steam you have a leak.
If you see coolant on the ground( it feels oily but its not oil) you have a leak.
Manufacturers for some time started to make the schedule servicing longer and longer.
Most of these are 12 months 15-25.000km.
The 12 months is fine but my recommendation is 10km there abouts.
What is occurring to these engines out in the field is the variable valve timing assemblies are clogging tiny oil holes and clogging fine screen filters in the system.
Timing chain stretch is also becoming an issue, old oil brakes down and can not get into the rollers on the chains causing the chain to stretch.
On some diesels the pumps drive off the camshaft via a cam follower when the oil brakes down the cam shaft wears out as does the follower .
Some manufacturers state never to change transmission oils.
This is not a good thing , mechanical units like engines /transmissions /differentials all shed tiny particles of metal that is why they have filters or magnets to catch them.
Over time the oils brake down and does not do its job.
From time to time it is money well spent to replace filters and flush the system.
One last thing is the owners book has more in it than you think.
Oil types where to fill and how.
Where your fuses are ect ect.
If a light comes up on your dash and you don’t know what it means go to the instrument section and you will find a legend of all you dash lights and what system it is warning.
I hope these hints help you out.