Keep your vehicle in order……Car Bible
The secret is that there is no real secret to getting a vehicle to last a long time. The difference is maintenance. Regular fluid checks and an almost pious dedication to scheduled lubrication will keep the vehicle going strong. What kind of oil, brake fluid, and grease used is just as important as when it is changed. The best oil in the world will do your engine no good if you never change it. Cleaning and protecting the finishes of the vehicle inside and out will keep things looking good. Paint, plastic, leather, and fabric need help to survive the constant assault of sun and elements. Utilize both of these plans together and you, like Uncle Fred, will enjoy happy motoring for a good, long time. Follow the accompanying 10 handy tips for keeping your vehicle in top shape.
Check and change the oil. No single step will help an engine last more than regular oil and filter changes will. Conversely, nothing will destroy an engine faster than neglecting oil-level checks or fresh-oil changes.
This is something everyone can do – it’s quick and easy and it’ll tell you if your engine needs oil. If the oil is too high or too low, it can cause trouble for your engine. To check the oil, park on level ground and wait until the engine has cooled down after driving, then locate the dipstick. Pull it out and wipe it clean, then push it all the way back in until the top of it is seated properly in the dip tube again. Wait a moment then pull it out again. Check the level of the oil. If it’s between the high and low marks, you’re fine. (If it’s too low, add a little.) The high and low marks can be denoted by two dots, an “H” and “L” or a shaded area on the dipstick. Why not just read the level first time around? The first time you pull the dipstick out, it will have oil all over it and it will be difficult to tell where the level is. That’s why you need to wipe it on a rag to get a clean dipstick, then dip it back into the oil to get a good reading.
Flush the cooling system and change coolant once a year. Again, something everyone can do. The coolant is the other thing your engine cannot go without. Every engine is different but if you check your handbook you should find where the coolant reservoir is. It will normally be bolted to one side of the engine bay or the other, and be a white semi-transparent bottle. Wait until your engine is cool and take a look at it – the outside should have ‘low’ and ‘high’ markings on it and the level of coolant inside should be between the two.Do not take the radiator cap off to check coolant levels. If the coolant system is still hot then it is still under pressure and the pressure release will burn you.
Change out transmission and differential oils. While not requiring frequent service, these fluids must be changed according to service intervals. Always use transmission fluid or gear oil of the recommended type and viscosity.
Keep it clean. While washing the outside of the vehicle is obvious, most everything the vehicle ran over can also get stuck to the underside. Hosing off winter salt and road grime is a good idea.
Everything with moving parts needs grease to survive.
This ball joint went into early retirement due to poor lubrication.
Nothing keeps paint looking good and protected like a coat of quality wax. Apply wax at least every six months.
Driveline components such as u-joints also require regular lubrication.
Brake fluid is hygroscopic. This means it is adept at attracting moisture. Moisture causes components to corrode and fail. Replace fluid and bleed system once a year. Brake fluid is cheap.
Check your tyre pressures regularly – once a week is ideal. Bad tyre pressures can affect fuel economy very noticeably. It’s easy to do and there is no excuse not to
No. Sportier cars have higher compression engines which generate more power and require higher octane fuel to prevent detonation. That’s where the myth of “premium = more power” came from. If your handbook says “regular”, use regular
DON’T TOUCH THE GLASS WHEN CHANGING HEADLIGHT BULBS
Most headlight bulbs now are filled with halogen and have special coatings on the outside of the glass. If you pick the bulb up by the glass with your fingers, you will leave trace amounts of oil and grease on the glass. When the bulb is used, that area of the glass will get hotter than the rest and it will eventually cause the bulb to crack. When changing headlight bulbs, only hold the metal bulb holder at the base, or make sure you’re wearing rubber surgical / mechanic’s gloves (clean ones) if you’re touching the glass.