Basic car maintenance guides are important to increase the performance of the car. However, it is strongly advisable that if any procedure is not fully understood, it is best to hire the service of an expert to do the car maintenance.
It is everyone’s desire to own a car to ease day-to-day activities. Cars are valuable assets and as such, they should be properly maintained to increase their life span. To prevent them from breaking down, regular checks should be done on their vital components such as the belts, lights, breaks, oil and coolants. Easy-to-read basic car maintenance tips are important to also keep the quality and money value of the car in top form.
- Car maintenance for cold months
- Car care maintenance and instruction
- Clues to car trouble
- Preparation for winter driving
One of the most important checks that must be done before driving the car each day is the oil level. If the oil level of the car is not up to the minimum required, then driving the car will be at a huge risk. The oil level can be checked by inserting the dip stick into the engine and bringing it out to know the level of the oil. Usually, there are two marks on the dip stick. If the oil level is in between the marks, then it is safe to drive the car but if not, it is better to change the oil when it has lost its viscosity. It is recommended that oil filters should be changed whenever the oil is changed.
Apart from the engine oil, the car’s brake fluid is a very important component of the engine. It provides the support mechanism for brakes to work. To check the level, the plastic container on the brake master cylinder should be located. The plastic reservoir has a line to indicate the best level for the brake fluid. If this line is not reached, it will be good to top the fluid at once. It is important to change the entire fluid at least once in two years. This is because brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning that it can absorb moisture from the air; this reduces its quality. Equipment needed to change the brake fluid include some hose for the brake bleeder valves, a container to trap the drained brake fluid, brake bleeder wrench, spray brake cleaner and one or two new brake fluid cans.
It is not enough to change brake fluids without inspecting the brakes. The brakes are important for safety so adequate care should be given to them. It is good to inspect the brakes at least once in 6 months for any wear and tear. While inspecting the brakes, attention should be given to the disc and brake pads.
The transmission fluid of a car is another important component of the car engine. It helps to cool the transmission. Transmission fluid level is checked with the dip stick when the car is running. Before using the dipstick, it should be cleaned to remove any dirt or grease. The transmission fluid should however be changed if the car has been used to run about 48,000 to 65,000 kilometers. Transmission fluid filters should be changed at the same time with the transmission fluid.
The windshield wiper fluid is used for cleaning the windshield when used with the wiper. It is contained in a reservoir made of white plastic jug. If the fluid level is not okay, it can be topped. However, changing it once in a while helps to increase the performance of the car. The basic equipment needed for this include a funnel and the new windshield wiper fluid. It is important to turn off the car engine before beginning the process.
The antifreeze coolants are also important for the car’s optimum performance. It helps to cool the engine and prevents water in the radiator from freezing in the colder weathers such as the winter. An antifreeze coolant is poured into its reserve tank located in the hood of the car. The tank has a mark to locate the appropriate level of the fluid. If the mark is not reached, then it will be nice to refill it. The reserve tank is connected to the radiator with hoses. To change the coolant, the tank will be drained and a new one will be added with the aid of funnel until it reaches the required mark. These must be done when the engine is cool.
In addition to the brake fluid, engine oil, antifreeze coolants, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid, the power steering fluid is very important. It helps the driver to turn the steering of the vehicle with ease while driving. To check the fluid level, the reservoir is located in the hood. If it is not up to the line indicated for the full level, it has to be topped up. However, it will be more appropriate to change the oil if it is darker than when it was bought. The basic equipment needed include funnel, jack and the new fluid.
For vehicles to perform at their best, the belts also need to be changed when necessary. Belts have part numbers written on them so it will be fine to note the part number of the previous one so as to get the exact kind in the market. To replace the old belt with the new one, it is important to know the routing of the belt. If this is a difficult step, drawing the routing before removing the belt is recommended. If there are more than one belts, they should be properly labeled to avoid being mixed up. To replace the old belt, the tension must be loosened with an allen wrench. Tension must also be added while fixing the new belt in the same routing as the old one. Belts should be replaced whenever they make noise, squeal, grind or smoke.
The importance of a windshield wiper is more evident on a rainy day. When faulty, it can be fixed by using locking pliers or adjustable wrench to tighten the nuts. If the wiper works but cannot clean the windshield properly, then it will be better to change the wiper or contact a professional.
It is risky to drive with damaged vehicle lights especially at night because of the risk of having accidents that may eventually lead to the car’s damage. The kinds of vehicle lights include the headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, reverse lights and hazard lights. It is important to inspect the lights before embarking on any journey. To repair faulty tail lights, the requirements include the Philips screwdriver and the new tail light bulb. For headlights, no tools are necessary to access the bulb in the housing. The bulb in the vehicle lights can be removed by turning anticlockwise. The tools needed to change brake lights include the screwdriver, sockets of specific size range and the new bulb.
- How to change a car headlight
- Replacing headlight bulbs
- Changing a car light bulb
- How to Replace a Rear Brake, Turn Signal or Back Up Light Bulb
It is needless to inspect and change the different parts of the car without minding the vehicle’s battery. It is important to keep the battery active because vehicles cannot start without it. One way to take care of the battery is by preventing their terminals from corroding. Preventing battery terminal corrosion can be done by applying petroleum jelly on the posts of the connector cables or by applying silicone spray. To clean the battery terminals, the following will be needful: baking soda, wire brush and warm water. Cleaning the battery also helps to prevent battery corrosion.
The tires also play a vital role in the performance of the car. Failure to take care of the tires can cause accidents or embarrassments in the middle of the road. It is important to frequently check the pressure especially every morning and when the car has been driven for a long time. To inspect tire pressure, a digital tire pressure gauge and small air compressor will be helpful. Tires that cannot be trusted for long distance journeys should rather be replaced to avoid causing havoc or deteriorating the more.