Cars need to be maintained frequently in order to stay healthy. Your vehicle needs your attention more often than most people realize. Some people don’t even know the least little thing about maintaining a vehicle. Your vehicle is basically a weapon if used incorrectly and if you don’t maintain it there’s a greater risk of hurting yourself or others. I will go through some of these maintenance methods in full detail, the methods I will be discussing are fluids, air filter, and oil. Preventative maintenance will save you money and headaches. Just like a human being, your car needs fluids to survive. If they were taken away, your vehicle would quickly find its way to the shoulder and beg for a drink. Maintaining proper fluid levels is an essential and easy maintenance task. Even armchair mechanics can perform this one. It's fun, quick, and can add thousands of miles to the life of your car. This procedure is particularly important if you're planning on a long road trip and want to travel safely and efficiently. The systems that need checking include the following:
Engine. Find a cool, shady spot to pop the hood. Let the car sit for at least five minutes before checking, to give the oil time to settle into the oil pan. With the hood open, locate the dipstick. It will be near the front of the engine, close to you, and sometimes has a brightly colored handle, yellow, red, or some other noticeable color. OK, remove it and wipe it with a clean rag or towel. Reinsert it into hole, and then slowly remove it again. Check the level. The oil mark should fall between the two hash marks on the dipstick. If it's below the lower level, you need to add oil -- a quart will usually do it. Before you do so, though, wipe the dipstick again and check it a second time. Still low? Add a quart and recheck it. (It's best to add the oil, and then start the engine to circulate it, and then let it sit for another five minutes before rechecking.) If it's still below the lower hash mark, you may need to add another quart, but be careful not to overfill it, as this can lead to other problems. Automatic Transmission/Transaxle. The automatic transmission fluid should be checked with the engine running. The transmission dipstick is typically located behind the oil dipstick, and doesn't stick up as high. If you have trouble locating it, consult your owner's manual. Oftentimes it will have the same colorful markings (yellow, red, etc.) as the oil dipstick. Start the engine and locate the transmission fluid dipstick. With the engine running, extract the transmission dipstick. Wipe it clean and reinsert it, then extract it again. It will have similar markings to the oil dipstick, one mark for too low, another for too high. Transmission fluid will almost never be low. The automatic transmission is a sealed system, requiring little maintenance. If your fluid is low, it most likely means you have a leak in the system, if so, you may have a transmission leak and will need to see a mechanic.) Even if the level is OK, note the color and consistency of the fluid. If it is very dark or black, check your records and owner's manual and plan on getting it changed; it's probably overdue. Manual Transmission. This is done with the engine off. For most cars, you have to get under the car and remove the fill plug with a wrench. Stick your finger in and feel for fluid. If you can feel fluid on the tip of your finger, it's probably OK. Again, as above, note the color of the fluid. Radiator/Cooling System. This should be done when the engine is cool or lukewarm, not cold and the engine is off. Locate the radiator cap. It should be in the center of the engine compartment, in the very front. Use a rag to remove it. Look down into the radiator and see if you can spot fluid. If it's near the top, you're in good shape. If not, you'll need to add some coolant is added on a 50/50...
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