How To Repair Maintain And Care For Your Car
Here are the repair, maintenance, and car-care tips you need to know to keep your ride in top shape for years to come.
You’ve bought your car, and whether it’s new or usedum, pre-ownedthere’s a lot more to know about ownership than how much your monthly payment costs. There’s maintenance to consider take care of your car and it’ll take care of you. What kind of upkeep will it require, and what can youand should youdo yourself? Sooner or later your ride will need new shoes, and you’ll need to make a. And there are simple ways to make your car’s current set of donuts last longer. If it’s an older model, you might just need a jump start when the battery begins to run down. How do you do that safely? A clean, shiny ride will make you feel goodand help you maintain your car’s maximum valueso what’s the best way to keep it looking sharp over the long haul? You can find the answers to these questionsand many moreabout owning and maintaining your vehicle right here. Plus, we’ve included a host of tips that’ll help you be a better, safer driver in all manner of weather and road conditions.
Maintenance and Repairs
Don’t be afraid of the word “maintenance.” You don’t have to be a certified auto technician, have a vehicle lift in your garage, or own a tool chest full of expensive wrenches to handle the simple tasks that will keep your vehicle running reliably and safely for years to come.
A Schedule Of Preventative Tasks
To maximize the life and performance of your vehicle, here is a list of items you should check depending on the time and season. Some of these parts of your vehicle should be checked regularly, and others only in the long run. Be sure to follow your vehicleâs maintenance schedule and service interval record.
Caring for your car and keeping it in proper running order takes a little bit of effort, but you definitely donât have to be a mechanical whiz to keep your vehicle running well. The biggest hurdle is being aware of what needs to be doneâand how oftenâfor optimal vehicle upkeep. By knowing the basics about what your car needs, and when you should perform routine car maintenance, youâll ensure that your car is in top-running condition.
As an added bonus, if you can prove that your vehicle has been well maintained, youâll be able to ask top dollar when itâs time to resell it. And, of course, itâs important to remember that car maintenance costs, while not always cheap, can ultimately help you avoid expensive repairs down the road.
To make it easy to keep track of your car maintenance schedule, weâve created a simple, downloadable car maintenance checklist to help you keep on top of your automotive maintenance.
When Temperatures Affect Tire Inflation
When outside temperatures drop or soar, tires tend to lose pressure. A drop of 10 degrees F , in fact, will decrease a tires air pressure by 1 or 2 pounds. Tires can lose even more air in hot weather. Under-inflated tires can result in accelerated wear and poor driving performance. If you live in a place where temperatures vary a lot, check your tire pressure often and add air as needed.
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Add Graphite To Door Locks
Graphite powder keeps delicate lock mechanism working. We dont think much about our door locks until the key breaks off in the cylinder. Keep these delicate mechanisms moving freely with a blast of dry graphite powder. You may need to push the dust protector flap back slightly with a small metal nail file to get at the lock. A quick pump of the tube will dispense enough graphite. Move the lock cylinder with your key several times to work the graphite into the mechanism. Do this to your trunk lock as well. Check out other amazing ways to loosen up locks on cars.
Change Of Fluids Extend The Life Of Your Vehicle
The health of your engine cooling, power steering, anti-lock braking, and automatic transmission systems depends on the condition of the fluids. Similar to engine oil, other fluids in your vehicle begin to lose their lubricating qualities over time. Therefore, all vehicle fluids should be replaced at regular intervals. You can consider using a dipstick to check the fluid levels and fluid color before refilling. If the level is low or the color black, top up accordingly or change the fluids.
Additionally, if you use your vehicle for towing or other power-draining activities, consider installing an additional transmission fluid cooler. This way, you can prevent any overheating issues which can cause considerable damage to your vehicle.
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Let Floor Mats Take Winters Beating
Use floor mats to protect the carpeting. The best type for controlling salt, slush, and mud in winter are rubber wafflestyle mats. They stay in place, dont allow the water to seep through, and are easy to wash clean. Carpet-style mats are helpful, too. Shake, vacuum, or wash as needed replace them as they wear through.
Secure Loads To Avoid Dents And Scratches
The beginning of the end for the finish on many cars and trucksand for wagon and hatchback interiors for that matteris an improperly stowed load. Invest in the appropriate racks for bicycles, cargo, and luggage. A good trick to keep tall objects from sliding around in a pick-up truck bed is to use a shower curtain rod as a brace. Just push the cargo against the front wall of the truck bed and install the rod behind it. Twist to secure. Cargo nets will also help keep objects from banging around and damaging a truck bed.
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Avoid Resting Your Foot On The Clutch And Your Hand On The Gearstick
Some drivers are inclined to drive with their foot resting on the clutch pedal. This pushes the clutch release bearing in contact with the clutch cover, leading to unnecessary friction. Over time, the clutch can wear out prematurely.
Similarly, its tempting to rest your hand on your gearstick between gear changes, but this applies pressure to the selector fork and other internal parts. The added friction speeds up wear and tear on the gear box.
Try to get into the habit of moving your hand onto the steering wheel and resting your left foot elsewhere in the footwell instead.
Car Maintenance Guide: Everything You Need To Know
Car maintenance is a crucial part of vehicle ownership. Taking care of your car by performing preventative maintenance helps to ensure you have safe and reliable transportation.
Use this guide to learn about common automotive maintenance issues. Itll help you protect your investment and keep your car in top-running condition.
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Tire Assessment And Rotation = Smooth Drives
The tires are the foundation of your vehicle, without which it can be impossible to drive a vehicle. They balance your car and facilitate movements accordingly by working with your vehicles suspension system. However, this doesnt mean they are immortal, as tires are subject to maximum wear and tear. Therefore, it is imperative for vehicle owners to check the tires regularly for warning signs. To maintain proper alignment, consider rotating your tires every three to four months. Additionally, to avoid any road-grip issues, make sure to check and maintain proper air pressure.
Im A Cleaning Expert 8 Rules Your Kids Can Follow To Make Sure They Dont Leave Your Car Grimey And Dirty
IF YOU have children, you know how filthy your car can get.
Little kids often bring in germs, leave behind crumbs and old wrappers, and rarely ever pick up after themselves.
Car experts from StressFreeCarRental.com put together a list on how to keep your car clean while simultaneously keeping your kids happy.
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Keep On Top Of Your Antifreeze
Antifreeze prevents water in the engines cooling system from freezing.
In order to check the effectiveness of the antifreeze you have in your car, youll need an antifreeze tester. These arent expensive a good one will cost around £5.
Once you have this, all you need to do is unscrew the coolant resrvoir and lower the tube of your antifreeze tester into the coolant. You then have to squeeze the rubber ball on the end to get antifreeze into the tester and you can then read the freezing point.
A normal temperature for an engine to run at should be between 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit .
Drive Smoothly Most Of The Time
Driving with mechanical sympathy is something you should practise at all times. That means using the controls of your car while understanding how it works.
Doing so will reduce component wear and youll make your fuel go further. Simple things like using the steering wheel, gearbox and pedals smoothly are key, along with looking well ahead to reduce the need for sudden braking.
Our guide on how to save fuel offers many more tips to improve your driving style to get the most out of your car and its fuel economy.
The more aggressive you are on the pedals the higher your fuel and repair bills are likely to be. Driving smoothly is kinder to your car and the environment, plus accelerating and decelerating in a controlled manner and anticipating the road ahead will save you pounds on your fuel bill.
RAC patrol Chris Burgess
That said, if you never rev your engine fully, carbon deposits can build up and foul the valves, intake manifold and other parts, reducing efficiency and potentially causing a misfire.
You should therefore allow your engine to rev to the redline at least once every few hundred miles but only when the oil is warm and youre on a quiet road.
Diesel cars may also have problems with clogged diesel particulate filters , which are designed to trap harmful exhaust emissions.
A longer motorway run once a month will help clear them.
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Have Wheel Alignment Checked
Have your cars wheel alignment checked every 30,000 miles , or as recommended in your owners manual. Also, have it checked after buying new tires and when you replace a rack-and-pinion steering unit or other steering parts. Improper tire alignment will shorten the life of your tires as well as cause poor handling. If your steering is stiffer than normal or the vehicle pulls to one side, you probably have an alignment problem.
Mount A Device Holder Without Wrecking Your Dash
Want a great way to mount your electronics without drilling holes? How about a vehicle-specific bracket/adapter mounting system? You can buy a version for just about any car or device from pro-fit-intl.com. The mounting bracket for this 1999 Toyota Camry fits onto one of the radio fasteners. Other versions mount in different places. Then the device-specific adapter mounts to it. This adapter fits the Garmin nüvi GPS.
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Exhaust And Emissions System
The exhaust system could be the last thingthat you think when it comes to your car, but a worn out exhaust system canproduce a lot of harmful emissions. Sometimes, the exhaust smoke can sneak intoyour car which is dangerous since it contains carbon monoxide. If you want totake care of your exhaust system and cut down the emission significantly, thethings to check are:
59. Get the Check Engine Light checked
One way to know if there is a problem withthe exhaust is to check the engine light. Granted, there could be a lot ofreasons why that check engine light comes on, but in most cases, it may aproblem connected to the emission system. Fortunately, you can run the On-BoardDiagnostics to pinpoint issues such as failed oxygen sensors, exhaustsystem break down, loose gas cap, engine misfire, and bad catalytic converters.
60. Repair broken components
Every single component that makes up theexhaust system matters regardless of how small it may seem. Its called thebutterfly effect a phenomenon where those minor overlooked details can make abig difference in the grand scheme of things. For example, the exhausthangers play a supplementary role but if those hangers dont hold the pipe, thewhole system can get damaged. Thats why its important to repair every singlebroken component connected to the exhaust system.
61. Fix leaks quickly
Headlights Turn Signals Brake And Parking Lights
Itâs important that the lights on your vehicle are properly functioning, but oftentimes it can be easy item to overlook. Once a month, turn on your headlights when youâre parked in front of a flat surface and check that both headlights are working properly and well-positioned. Walk around your car and visually inspect both turn signals and your parking lights. Have a friend stand behind the car while you engage the brakes to be certain that your brake lights are functional.
Dont Ignore The Check Engine Light
This light is your cars subtle scream for help. Never ignore this and immediately get the car inspected by your local mechanic. We did an article earlier on what it could possibly mean Check Engine Light Popping Up? Here Is What It Means. Its basically a self-diagnosis which is put in place to protect your engine. Its not necessarily serious every time but youll never know unless you get it checked.
Dont Forget The Filters
There are several filters important to preserving your car engine, and they should be changed according to the schedule in your owners manual or as follows:
- Change the oil filter at least at every other oil changeevery change is even better because the old filter contains nearly a quart of dirty oil that will remain with the new, clean oil. If you change your oil yourself, wipe the filter threads with an anti-seize lubricant, available at auto supply stores.
- Check the air filter every two months and replace it when dirty or as part of a tune-up. Air filters are generally easier to get to than oil filters.You find them under the big metal lid in a carbureted engine or in a rectangular box in a fuel-injected enginecheck your owners manual for the exact location. Extend the life of air filters by blowing them clean with compressed air.
- Despite claims by makers and dealers that some newer fuel filters never need changing, its smart to have it done once a year. A clogged fuel filter will cause poor engine performance and is an early warning that there may be corrosion in your gas tank.
- Change your transmission fluid filter after the first 5,000 miles of driving and every 25,000 miles or two years thereafter.
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Wax To Protect Your Cars Paint Job
No way around it! Waxing your car is work. But its satisfying work that will help keep your car looking new. Car wax preserves paint by slowing oxidation and forming a barrier against bird droppings, sap, and pollution. Plus driving a nice shiny car is just plain fun.
Heres what to do to ensure the maximum in protection:
- Liquid and spray waxes are tempting to use they make the car shiny with less work than rubbing in paste wax. But theres still no beating paste wax for the hardest, longest-lasting finish. Look for paste with a high carnauba wax content.
- Apply a thin, even coat of wax to the cars surfaces with a damp sponge. Avoid applying too much, or it will be difficult to remove and some residue will inevitably mar your finish.
- To avoid fine scratches, use a clean, soft cotton or microfiber cloth to remove wax once it has dried.
- Apply an extra coat of wax to the nose and hood. The wax film in these areas wears away quickly.
Zip Through Metal With An Electric Cutoff Tool
Sometimes it’s just not worth the time and effort to save a rusted fastener or clamp. When I run into those situations, I break out my cutoff tool, slice through the rusted part and install new parts. You can buy an air-powered cutoff tool at any home center for about $30, but it consumes a lot of air . If you don’t have a huge two-stage compressor, an electric version may be a better option (one example is the Chicago Electric No. 68523, which is $35 at harborfreight.com.
Cutoff tools aren’t just for cutting rusted parts. They’re great for cutting angle, shelf brackets and threaded rod.
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How Often Should You Take Your Car In For An Inspection
Always follow the manufacturers maintenance recommendations found in your vehicles owners manual. At the least, you should have your car inspected by a qualified mechanic every 12 months to look for problems.Please note that many vehicle manufacturers have replaced the printed owners manual you might be familiar with for an online version availability through the manufacturers website.
Some states require car inspections or smog checks for annual registration renewal, depending on the area of the state and age of the vehicle. This type of inspection evaluates only vehicle emissions or essential safety criteria rather than a full mechanical inspection of the cars health.
Having your cars oil changed at a repair shop or dealership usually includes a multi-point inspection to check fluid levels, filters, and other components. In previous decades, a rule of thumb was to change a cars oil every 3,000 miles. Since 2010, many vehicles use synthetic oil that can go up to 10,000 miles between changes.
In addition to outlining regular maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotation, manufacturers give guidance for inspection or replacement of certain parts when the odometer reaches 30,000 miles, 60,000 miles, and 90,000 miles, for example. Again, refer to the owners manual for your vehicles maintenance schedule.
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