How to Find Your Way Under the Hood and Around the Car - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

How to Find Your Way Under the Hood and Around the Car

Whether or not you pump your own gas, your car probably receives less attention than it should. Regular maintenance checks and simple service can greatly reduce the cost of car ownership. 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 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 now and 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 technician.

Whether or not you pump your own gas, your car probably receives less attention than it should. Regular maintenance checks and simple service can greatly reduce the cost of car ownership. 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 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 now and 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 technician.

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 anti-freeze 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 3,000 miles 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 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.

 

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Vehicle System
Or Part
Ref.
No.
Check
Weekly
Check
Monthly
Check Every
2 Months
Special
Note

 
Air Filter 5

{short description of image}
Inspect and replace when dirty.
Antifreeze 1 {short description of image}


Add 50/50% solution when needed.
Battery 8


{short description of image} Check with every oil change.
Belts 2
{short description of image}

Inspect for slack between pulleys.
Brake Fluid 6
{short description of image}

Add approved type when needed.
Engine Oil 4


{short description of image} Check level every other fuel fill up - change every 3 months or 3,000 miles.
Exhaust 14


{short description of image} Have emissions checked yearly.
Hoses 2
{short description of image}

Inspect for softness or bulges.
Lights 11


{short description of image} Keep spare bulbs and fuses in vehicle.
Oil Filter 4


{short description of image} Replace with every oil change.
Power Steering Fluid 9
{short description of image}

Add approved type when needed.
Shock Absorbers 13


{short description of image} Replace when worn or leaking.
Tires 12
{short description of image}

Inflate to recommended pressure level.
Trans-mission
Fluid
3
{short description of image}

Check with engine running - add approved type when needed.
Washer Fluid 7


{short description of image} Check every other fill up.
Wiper Blades 10


{short description of image} Replace yearly or when smearing or chattering.
Around the Car


10. 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.

11. Be sure all your lights are clean and working, including brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers. Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your vehicle.

12. Keep tires inflated to recommended pressure (it helps to own your own gauge). Check for cuts, bulges and excessive tread wire. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

Source: Government Publication, The Motorist Assurance Program, and The Car Care Council

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