Car Maintenance And Checkup Tips For The First-Time Car Owner


If you've just bought your first car, you probably know that there's a good amount of maintenance involved, but you might not be sure what that involves. Maintaining a car is mostly preventative; by making sure your fluid levels are steady and your tires are taken care of, you can keep your car working nicely.

Maintain Your Tires

Your tires don't need too much work, but they should be checked about once a month for two things: tread depth and air pressure.

The tread of a tire is the part that makes contact with the ground as it moves, and all the grooves provide traction. As the tread wears down the grooves become shallower, which means they aren't as effective. Once the tread is too low, the tires need replacing. To test this, place a quarter inside the grooves with Washington's head facing down. If you can see his entire wig, it's time to start shopping for new tires.

To check your pressure, find out what pressure your tires need by looking inside the driver-side door frame or in the car's manual. They'll show up as a number followed by "PSI." Your tires need this amount of air pressure to work at their best. Use a tire gauge to check each tire by placing it on each tire's valve stem. If you need to fill up, you can use an air compressor or an air pump available at many gas stations.

Check Your Fluids

Your engine and components need fluids, so part of your monthly maintenance is making sure all your fluid levels are good. You can find all of them underneath the hood,

The most important is your oil, which lubricates your engine. To check its level, use the dipstick, which is a long, slender metal rod. Pull it out of its casing, wipe it clean with a paper towel, re-insert the dipstick completely, then pull it out again. Look how high the oil level is on the stick; the stick will have marks that will show you when it is too low. If it's too low, it is probably time for an oil change.

Your transmission fluid, often right next to your oil, can be checked the same way with the transmission fluid's stick.

While you're here, you can check your coolant and brake fluid. In both cases the fluid should fill their respective containers. In the case of your coolant, refill it only with a coolant mix approved for your vehicle; don't just add water. When checking your brake fluid, take note of its color. If it's starting to get very dark, it needs to be replaced.

Look At Your Belts

While you're looking under the hood, check your engine belts. They're responsible for moving various engine parts and need to be in good shape. A good belt is pulled taut and is devoid of cracks and chips. A belt that is starting to hang loose, make squealing noises or crack will need to be replaced soon before it breaks.

Get To Know Your Dash

Your dashboard has a variety of lights and indicators that tell you various things about your engine and other car components. Check the manual for your car to see what icons can be displayed there and what they mean.

See What Fuel and Oil You Need

Depending on what type of engine you have, you may need a special kind of fuel and/or oil. For example, when you get your oil changed, you may need a synthetic blend over a conventional blend. A mechanic won't always know these off the top of his head, so learn what you need before you go in for an oil change or fill up your gas tank. 

For professional automotive repair, contact a company such as Gordie's.


19 August 2015

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