Car Care Tips
Whether or not you pump your own gas, your car probably receives less
attention than it should. Filling up your car gives you the perfect opportunity
to do regular car maintenance checks and simple service which can greatly
reduce the cost of car ownership. Find car care and car maintenance tips
• For maximum fuel efficiency and cleaner
air, keep your engine in tune.
• For safe driving, keep brakes, steering and suspension systems
in A-1 condition.
Most of the car maintenance tips, checks and services described here can
be done at little or no cost. Best of all, they are quick and easy to
do and they can save time, money and inconvenience later. Always refer
to your owner's manual when performing any maintenance task on your vehicle.
Periodically your car should have a thorough inspection by a qualified
Car Care Tips Under the Hood
1. Check the antifreeze/coolant level weekly. Some cars have transparent
reservoirs with level markings. Fill to level marking with 50/50 solution
of antifreeze and water. Caution: Do not remove the pressure cap when
engine is hot.
2. Inspect belts and hoses monthly. Replace worn, glazed or frayed belts.
Tighten them when more than 1/2" of slack can be depressed between
the pulleys. Vehicles with spring loaded belt tensioners require no adjustment.
Replace bulging, rotten, or brittle hoses and tighten clamps. If a hose
looks bad, or feels too soft or too hard, it should be replaced.
3. Check transmission fluid monthly with engine warm and running, and
parking brake on. Shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe
dry, insert it and remove it again. Add the approved type fluid, if needed.
Do not overfill!
4. Check oil every other fill up. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean.
Insert it fully and remove it again. If it is low, add oil. To maintain
peak performance, change oil every 5,000 kilometres or 3 months, whichever
comes first. Replace oil filter with every oil change.
5. Check the air filter every other month. Replace it when it's dirty
or as part of a tune-up. It is easy to reach, right under the big metal
"lid" in a carbureted engine; or in a rectangular box at the
forward end of the air duct hose assembly.
6. Check brake fluid monthly. First, wipe dirt from the brake master cylinder
reservoir lid. Pry off the retainer clip and remove the lid or unscrew
plastic lid, depending on which type your vehicle has. If you need fluid,
add the approved type and check for possible leaks throughout the system.
Fill to mark on reservoir. Caution: Do not overfill.
7. Keep windshield washer fluid reservoir full. When topping off, use
some windshield washer fluid on a rag to clean off the wiper blades. In
winter months, pay attention to the freezing point of the washer fluid.
8. Use extreme caution when handling a battery since it can produce explosive
gases. Do not smoke, create a spark or light a match near a battery and
always wear protective glasses and gloves. Have it checked with every
oil change. Cables should be attached securely and be free of corrosion.
If the battery has filler holes, add only clear, odorless drinking water.
9. Check power steering fluid level once per month. Simply remove the
reservoir dipstick. If the level is down, add fluid and inspect the pump
and hoses for leaks.
Car Care Tips Around the Car
1. Inspect windshield wiper blades whenever you clean your windshield.
Do not wait until rubber is worn or brittle to replace them. Wiper blades
should be replaced at least once per year, and more often if smearing
or chattering occurs.
2. Be sure all your lights are clean and working, including brake lights,
turn signals and emergency flashers. Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your
3. Keep tires inflated to recommended pressure (it helps to own your own
gauge). Check for cuts, bulges and excessive tread wear. Uneven wear indicates
tires are misaligned or out of balance. Keep a record of tire rotation.
Rotate at the first 5,000 miles and every 7,500 miles thereafter.
4. Look for signs of oil seepage on shock absorbers. Test shock action
by bouncing the car up and down. The car should stop bouncing when you
step back. Worn or leaking shocks should be replaced. Always replace shock
absorbers in pairs.
5. Look underneath for loose or broken exhaust clamps and supports. Check
for holes in muffler or pipes. Replace rusted or damaged parts. Have emission
checked at least once per year for compliance with local laws.