Basic Car Care Tips Every Motorist Should Know

Know the Basics of Caring for your Car

Inspect your cooling system. Cooling systems have to cope with the summer heat and cold winters all year long. Look for swelled, chafed, cracked or weeping hoses. If they burst they can leave you stranded. Also make sure there’s enough coolant in the overflow reservoir; add more as required. Your system needs flushing if the antifreeze looks discolored or rusty.

Check your car belt. If it isn’t concealed by layer after layer of plastic shrouds it should be easy to give it a quick look. If the belt shows heavy abrasion, cracking across the grooves, lengthwise tearing or other obvious signs of damage you’ll want to replace it soon. You might need help to get the belt positioned exactly where it needs to be.

Replace your air filter. If it’s clogged with dirt and debris it won’t flow as much as it should, reducing the engine’s output. Without a free-flowing supply of oxygen, internal combustion simply can’t take place. However, it’s easy to replace. Many modern cars and trucks have the air filter often found underneath a large rectangular housing with a lid.

Know how to jump start a vehicle that has a dead battery. It requires a set of cables, a car or truck that’s fully charged (or a portable jump starter) and a little bit of know-how.

Make sure you don’t mix up the leads. A positive terminal must connect to a positive terminal, negative to negative; or the color red is associated with positive and black with negative. In modern vehicles, the negative cable doesn’t necessarily have to connect directly to the battery as the negative side is grounded to the engine and body structure, an engine bracket or metal part of the body will work just as well as a terminal. If in doubt, go for the battery.

Know how to change a flat tire. The ability to jack a vehicle up, remove a flat and install a spare is an important skill to have. That is even as temporary spares have become less and less common, replaced by space-and-weight-saving emergency inflation kits. A process that is time-consuming is rotating the tires. Done right can prolong tire life. You might have to reprogram the tire-pressure monitoring system so it accurately shows which tire is affected. Likewise, check your tire gauge pressure. It is best to maintain the factory-recommended pressure.

Add your oil. You should know if you are low on lube. Locate the filler cap and pour the correct oil consistency down in there, then check the dipstick again. Add small amounts at a time until the correct level is reached to avoid overfilling. Car engines typically take between four and five quarts, with variations. Check the owner’s manual for specific details. It would be great if you are able to also change the oil and filter.

Replace windshield wipers and add washer fluid. A fresh set of windshield wipers is commendable. It’s easy to swap them as they essentially clip into place. To release a blade, you can push a small button or slide it into a hook on the end of the arm. Do this simple task when you see that instead of your blades wiping, they are smearing your windshield. It’s simple to keep the reservoir filled with plenty of this windshield wiper fluid. Look for a cap with a windshield icon on it, usually blue or yellow for easy spotting. Then, just pop it off and pour your liquid.


Know More Car Care Tips and Be A Pro in Seattle

If you need to fix up your car, come by our auto shop in Seattle. We’re conveniently located in Greenwood.