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Preventive maintenance can
save you money on repairs.

Many parts on your car are
Ignoring maintenance can lead to
trouble: specific parts, or an
entire system can fail.
Neglecting even simple routine
maintenance, such as changing the
oil or c
hecking the coolant, can
lead to poor fuel economy, unreliability,
or costly breakdowns.

Winter Season Tip:
On cold winter mornings, do not rev
up the engine after you start it.
Allow your engine to run at idle speed
for a few minutes before starting out,
especially when it's below 10 degrees.
Then drive moderately until it warms up.
Warming up the engine for more heat
inside the car may be nice for the
driver, but it's hard on the engine.

Transmission Fluid:

This check is while the engine
is running.
The transmission should be at
operating temperature.
Remove dipstick, wipe clean, insert
and remove again to check the
fluid level.
Be careful not to overfill!
The transmission fluid is part of
a closed system and should be
red in color.
If you check it, and it’s brown or
smells burnt, it’s time to replace
the fluid.

Some experts recommend that you
should change your transmission fluid
every 24,000 miles.
Most transmission failures are the
result of fluid contamination.
Be careful!
Draining your transmission fluid is
not like draining the oil.
At least 70% of your transmission
fluid is held within various components
in your system.
Check with your mechanic for
professional advice or service.

Windshield Washer Fluid:

This check should be done by
removing the cap of the reservoir
and filling it with washer
Keep it full. It’s important to keep
your windshield clean, especially
when there is sun glare.

Check the Oil:

Most service attendants will offer
to check your oil when the
engine is hot.
Some will even show you the dipstick to
validate claim engine needs oil,
( the oldest trick in book to sell you more oil ).
It is then overfull causing a
smoky exhaust.

Always check on level ground when the
engine is cold to give accurate reading.
Remove the dipstick, wipe with a paper
towel, reinsert the dipstick completely
in the tube.
Remove the dipstick and
read oil level.
The dipstick should have a
normal range indicated.

Add oil only when oil level is at or
 below Add Oil mark.
Be careful not to overfill.

Changing your oil is one of the
most important things that that
you can do to improve the life of
your engine.
You should change your oil every 3,000
miles or every three months.
7,000 to 10,000 miles on newer cars.

An oil change service is referred to
as an "Oil, Lube & Filter," the lube
is a chassis lubrication where the
mechanic applies grease to various
steering and suspension joints
under the car.

Newer cars are manufactured with sealed
joints that don't have grease fittings,
however if any of these parts were
replaced, the new parts probably do
have lubrication points and must
be greased to prevent premature wear.

The best way to tell when you need
to change your oil is to check it
Fresh good oil is a clear golden color.
Once oil starts to wear and break
down, it starts to become black

and thick and that causes wear
and tear on the engine.

Make sure you use the correct oil weight
for your car and climate.

Power Steering Fluid:

This check is done by removing
and checking the dipstick.
Use the dipstick to check fluid level in the
same way you would the engine oil.
On newer vehicles, you can
visually check the reservoir.
If you hear weird noises as you steer,
or find it hard to steer,
your power steering fluid may be
running low.


Check the antifreeze/coolant

level weekly.

Some cars have transparent reservoirs

with level markings.

This check should be done by removing
the radiator cap from the cool
engine or reservoir.

Caution: Do not remove the pressure
cap when engine is hot.
 If a refill is needed, fill with a 50/50 mix
of water and antifreeze.

<<< Warning >>>
Antifreeze/coolant is toxic to children
and animals.


Make sure the engine is off before
checking the battery.

Safety first!
If you are a do-it-yourselfer,
Wear rubber gloves, battery acid burns the
skin and clothes, so be careful and if you get
battery acid on yourself or clothes,
wash immediately.
Also protect your eyes by wearing Safety
goggles whenever you service your

Visually check the car battery terminals
(one is marked positive "+" and the other
is marked negative "-").

<< Warning >>

Use extreme caution when handling a
battery since it can produce explosive
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.

Before cleaning the connections or
removing the battery, disconnect the
negative terminal first whenever
you disconnect the battery cables
from the terminals.

If the battery terminals don't come off
easily, use a battery puller tool to
take them off.
Do not use a screwdriver to pry the
terminals off, because it can break the
battery post internal connections.

Removing the positive connector can
cause a spark, especially if you're
using a metal tool that comes in
contact with any piece of metal
on the car.
The spark can create an ignition source
that could cause the battery to explode.

Check battery cables and posts
for corrosion and clean them
Most batteries these days don’t require
much in the way of maintenance,
but you should know where it
is and check it to make sure it’s not
leaking and there’s no mineral or
other buildup on the contacts.
If there is, clean it off with a battery
cleaning brush.

"Check Engine" Light is On:

If the Check Engine light comes on and
remains on while you are driving, check
to see if you have an emissions or
sensor problem.
If the light flashes, check for the problem
as soon as possible, because this is an
indication that there may be a serious
problem and left unchecked, could
cause damage to your car.


Test with a voltmeter, unless your
car has a voltmeter gauge.
Connect the meter leads to the battery
terminals and look for 14 to 16 volts
(engine running, lights and
accessories off).
That means the alternator is working


Inspect all lights including headlights,
turn signals, brake lights and
emergency flashers.
Replace bulbs if they are burnt out.
Don't forget to also check
all the reflectors.

Keep your lights and reflectors
clean, especially during the winter.
Clear all snow and ice from
your lights.

"Make Sure They See You."

Studies have shown that using your

headlights during the day can help
reduce accidents significantly.

Many newer cars are equipped with
standard daytime running lights.

Because a well lit car is a
safer car.


Always keep the mirrors clean,
lot of accidents happen just because
drivers don't see a car moving from
behind while turning or changing a
Check mirrors adjusting before


Be sure your horn works properly,
it can prevent you from a collision in
many cases.

Wiper Blades:

Your windshield wipers play a
significant role in keeping you safe,
especially during rain or snow

They’re one of the easiest parts
of your car to maintain.
Check your owner’s manual for the
recommended length and type of
wipers that's best for your car.

Inspect wiper blades for cracks, tears,
and windshield contact.
Blades should be replaced at least once
a year.
Be sure the wiper arms and springs
are in good shape, and that the
blade is held square to the
windshield surface.

The metal part of your wipers can
get bent or damaged for a number
of reasons.
If the frame or the blade is bent,
it won’t come into contact with
your windshield properly, and even
if the blades seem to function ok for
now, they won’t be for long.
Time to replace them.

If you notice a consistent film of
grime on your windshield, even after
you’ve sprayed fluid to clean it off,
that’s a sign your wipers are dirty
and need to be replaced.
Sometimes wiping the blades with a
paper towel will clear up this

Is the rubber all one smooth piece
or is it cracked, split, or broken
off in places?
If you see any imperfections in the
rubber, that means it’s time for
new wiper blades.
The blade may also get a rounded look,
which means it’s gotten too old
and you should replace it.

 Don’t wait until you can barely
see through your windshield.

Also, give your windshield a good
cleaning inside and out, if it’s
hard to see, the problem
may be inside, instead of out.


It is important to check your tires

The only way to determine proper
tire pressure is to use an accurate

Make sure you check air while the
tires are cool (when you haven't

Even a short drive can make your
tires too hot for accurate pressure

When the tires warm up, the air pressure
rises slightly, and can give a false
reading as to the actual tire pressure
in the tires.

 Under inflated tires wastes fuel and over
inflated tires can be hazardous.

Your tires need extra attention during
the winter.
Colder temperatures will cause tire pressure
to drop about 1 psi for every 10°F drop
in air temperature.
Check tire pressure regularly, especially
after a sharp drop in temperature.

Use the inflation pressure recommended
by the vehicle’s manufacturer, not the
maximum pressure embossed on
the tire’s sidewall.

Check the sidewalls for cuts and
Don't worry about fine surface cracks.

Regularly inspect your tires for

irregular wear and sidewall bubbles.
Irregular wear is often caused by a
worn or misaligned suspension, or
improper inflation.
Sidewall bubbles are caused by a break
in the sidewall and could cause a

Get your tires rotated and balanced,
and your alignment
Check with your mechanic about how
often you should do this, so your
tires wear evenly and your car
drives smoothly.
Your tires last much longer by
getting them rotated and
Your alignment is just as important.

Do the penny test:
To tell if your tread is worn out is to
insert the edge of a penny into a
groove, hold the penny so the top of
Lincoln’s head is pointing toward the
tire's surface.
If the top of Lincoln’s head is still visible,
the tread is too shallow and it’s time for
new tires.

Remember to check the air pressure
in your spare tire.


Look underneath for loose or broken
exhaust clamps and supports.
Check for holes in muffler or pipes.
Replace rusted or damaged parts.

For more about Mufflers & Exhaust,
click on the link below.

Shocks & Struts:

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
Always replace shocks and struts
in pairs.

Replacing one or two at a time
can create a balance problem that
could make your car unstable when
braking and accelerating.

For more about Shocks & Struts,
click on the link below.

Air Filter:

Check the air filter every other

It's recommended that you change
your air filter once every 12 months
or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If you live in the city with frequent
stop and go traffic, do it more

The average engine can suck in
thousands of gallons of air per
gallon of fuel.
This air comes straight from the
atmosphere, meaning that the inside
of the engine is exposed to all the dirt,
bugs, moisture and other
contaminants that come with it.

If your air filter gets too dirty
or clogged, your engine won't be
able to suck enough air into the
combustion chambers.
The engine will then run rich
(too much gas and not enough air).
When this happens, your car will
lose power and run roughly.
Your Check Engine light may also
come on.

The air filter, along with the other filters
ensures that the vehicle is
performing at it's best.
The filter should be clean, not clogged
or damaged.

Remove the filter and holding it
up to a light will show you
how dirty it is.
If it's really caked with dirt, it
obviously needs to be replaced.

Check your owner's manual on
how to access the air filter.
Otherwise, you can ask your
mechanic to do it for you.

Spark Plugs:

You’ll find either four, six, or eight plugs,
depending on how many cylinders
your car has.
Check spark plug wires to make sure
they are not hard or cracked.
Change your spark plugs if they are
worn out or covered in buildup.

Remove the wire to the first spark
plug only.
Do not remove all of the wires
at once.
Your spark plugs are installed in
a certain order, which you need
to maintain.

Use a spark plug socket and extension
on your ratchet to remove
the first spark plug.
Install the new spark plug, screwing it in
by hand at first and then tightening it
with a wrench for a snug fit.
Do not over-tighten.
Re-attach the spark plug wire, replace
the other sparks the same way,
one at a time.

If you don’t feel like doing it
yourself, ask your mechanic
to check for you.


Check all hoses monthly.
Check for cracks,
frays, leaks and bulges,
at the ends where they are attached.

If a hose looks bad, or feels too soft
or too hard, it should be replaced.

Engine Belts:

Inspect the engine belts regularly,
especially the serpentine belt.

Many older cars have a single serpentine
belt that handles everything.
This type of belt looks flat on one side
with several ribs on the other side.
You should check the ribbed side for
signs of dry and cracked rubber.

Worn belts will affect the engine
Look for cracks and missing sections
or segments.

Replace worn, glazed or frayed belts.
Tighten them when more than 1/2" of
slack can be depressed between the
Cars with spring loaded belt tensioners
require no adjustment.
Replace bulging or brittle hoses and
tighten clamps.


Brake Fluid:

Usually in a clear reservoir marked
with minimum and maximum
The brake fluid is also part of a closed
system and should never run low.
This check is done by loosening the top
on the master cylinder and removing
the lid.
If fluid is needed consult your
owner's manual for correct type and fill
to recommended level.

Check color of fluid, it should
be a golden color.
If the fluid appears brown, it is time to
have the fluid replaced.
If your brakes ever feel a little off,
check the brake fluid first.
Fill if it’s low, but then have the system
checked, there could be a leak or the
brake pads may be wearing.

The brake fluid level will drop slightly
as the brake pads wear out.
This is a normal condition and you
shouldn't worry about it.
If the level drops noticeably over
a short period of time or goes down
to about two thirds full, have your
brakes checked as soon as possible.

Take care when handling brake fluid.
It can damage the finish of a
painted surface.

Wash Your Car Regularly:

Maintaining your car’s exterior is
important in preserving it and can
extend the life of a car.

Windows, mirrors, lights and windshield
should be clean at all times for
optimum visibility and safety.

While failing to wash your car
won’t result in immediate damage,
over time the elements will corrode
your vehicle, along with its
potential re-sell value.

Wash your car to prevent the damage
to the paint.
Dirt, grime and salt can damage
the finish.
The underneath of the car should
be cleaned as well because it is
exposed to the debris from the road,
which might affect the car’s
performance or functioning.

Every day your car is exposed to the
sun, salt, grease and grime, tree sap,
dead bugs, and even those lovely
bird poops.
These things eat away at paint,
and once that’s gone, they will
eat at the metal in your car.

Wash your car once or twice a month
in the Summer, and every week, or at
least every other week in the Winter.

Wax at least every six months.
When water beads on the finish
become larger than a quarter,
it’s time for a wax job.

Plus, having a nice clean car helps
boosts your mood.
Study shows that most drivers feel
much better about themselves when
their car is clean and shiny.

If you wash your car by hand,
do not use dish soap.

Even though dish soap is a great
degreaser, it’s not the thing to
use on your car’s finish.
It removes dirt, grease and old wax,
but it also sucks the important
oils out of the paint’s finish.

Dish soap is also considered
to be an abrasive soap.
When you use an abrasive soap
on something like car paint, it
accelerates the oxidation process
and gives the car a dull look.

Always use car wash shampoo.
Don't use too much car-wash concentrate
in your bucket of water or it will leave
a filmy residue on the glass.

Always try to park your car in
shady areas as it reduces the damages,
burns and cracking of the interior
from high sunlight and heat in
the Summer.

If you can’t find a shady spot,
then you can try the use of window
deflector screens or a UV protectant
which keeps your car safe from
melting of the vinyl and plastic.

Don't forget to clean the interior.
Keeping your car’s interior clean
and tidy can reduce stress in your
life and make the driving
experience more enjoyable.

Service Brakes:

Brakes should be inspected at least
twice a year.
The best times are just before summer
and winter to prevent problems
in extreme temperatures.

For More About Brakes:

More Tips & Info: