Maintaining Mazda Engine   

by Kraig Johanssen

Mazda engines are of different sizes and various types. Nonetheless, they all have similar auto parts; they just vary in design and output. Another common denominator of these engines is that they need regular tune-ups and engine maintenance in order to yield fuel economy, longer engine life, and greener environment.

Radiator and heater hoses, not like some other hoses, can be replaced by you alone. It is advised to inspect these hoses for leaks, softness (which can indicate deterioration in the interior), hardness (which keeps clamps from sealing) and swells.

When scheduled for radiator hose replacement, start by draining the cooling system or capturing the antifreeze. Refill the radiator and overflow "throw up" tank with the recommended mixture of antifreeze and water. Your owner's manual will guide you in coming up with such mixture. And still according to your manual, "burp" the cooling system.

The Mazda valve cover also needs regular inspection. It is the hard metal cover that is located on top of the cylinder head that is tasked to prevent leaks and firmly cover the valve train. This engine part is very important because it allows protection for the engine and keeps it away from oil spills.

Most of the latest vehicle models use a serpentine-belt system. Automatically adjusting the single belt is a spring-loaded tensioner. A broken belt will disable almost all vehicle accessories. It is therefore appropriate to regularly inspect the belt for missing ribs and rumbled plies. And to help you, a belt-routing diagram is usually seen somewhere under the hood.

Following the recommendations in your owner's manual, replace the paper-style air filter elements which are more often under dusty conditions. Inspect the old air filter and see if there are dirt and debris. By merely removing the old element, replace it with a new one. But make sure not to drop the lid's wing nuts down the throttle bore or intake (if so equipped) in the process.

Also, see to it that the new filter is properly located in the housing. Take note that inside some vehicles is a foam element inside the air-cleaner housing where the valve cover hose attaches to the air cleaner. This element should also be replaced regularly.

Filtering emitted gases before they circulate back to the air cleaner are the positive-crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve. Consult your Mazda owner's manual for the accurate period of replacement of the PCV.

The exhaust gas recirculation or the EGR valve utilizes exhaust to minimize cylinder temperature, which in turn minimizes emitted nitrogen. One of the symptoms of a faulty EGR (as is a failed emissions test) is engine pinging. To assure the proper functioning of the valve, it should be checked with an external vacuum pump.

The engine cap and rotor should also not to be taken for granted. Although electronic ignitions do not require that much maintenance, the distributor cap and rotor still depreciates over time. Oxidation and carbon deposits make the strength and timing of the sparks weak. Therefore, one still needs to maintain the engine cap and rotor.

The external cracks on the plug wires are indicators that the engine part needs to be replaced. With the engine running, faulty wires will also show visible sparks in the dark. In this case, they also need replacement.

When replacing the distributor cap, inspect the plug wires as well. Only remove a single wire at a time, regardless of whether the wires will be replaced or not.

Modern spark plugs now come "pre-gapped." However, it is still wise to verify the gap before installing new plugs. And to lessen the chance of cracking the plugs' insulators, always use a spark-plug socket.

The oxygen sensor over looks emissions and informs the vehicle how to adjust the air/fuel ratio for efficiency at its best. Over a long time, the nose of the sensor becomes clogged with carbon. As a result, faulty readings are produced. The replacement of the oxygen sensor is just the same as changing a spark plug. But for an easier job, buy an exact-match sensor.

Another significant engine part, also needs regular replacement is the fuel replacement. To lessen the mess in replacing the filter, release the fuel pressure from the system following the recommendation in the Mazda owner's manual. Then, disconnect the battery, keep smokers far enough, pop the old filter loose, catch seeping gas in a coffee can or other suitable container. Finally, the installation of the new filter will come next.

The timing belts should also be changed at the recommended intervals. A broken belt can inhibit expensive valve train damage.

Maintaining you Mazda engine may sometimes be costly but it is all worth it when performance, comfort and convenience are at stake.

About the Author

Kraig Johanssen is a native of Connecticut and holds a degree in Software Engineering. He now works at a software development firm in Alabama. His love for writing and great interest on cars makes him a proficient contributing author to various automotive magazines.