Essential Car Maintenance Guide


Authored by Jayant Row in Automotive
Published on 04-23-2009

If you have been using a car, you should already be well aware of the essential maintenance that your car requires to keep it running efficiently with no breakdowns. Preventive maintenance can give you a car that is trouble free and rides that are smooth. The first thing to do in this essential maintenance routine is to check the various fluids that go to making your car ride a smooth affair.

Engine Oils

Check the engine oil levels in your car at least once a week. The engine oil level as measured on the dip stick should be above the minimum level and less than the full level. If the level indicates that the oil can do with a top up, make sure that you are using the oil that is recommended for your car. The oil should not be too dark, as this indicates that it has been used up and sludge has started to form in the engine sump. In this case you should replace the oil in the engine completely, flush out the sump and replace the oil to the desired level. This is an operation better done at a service station.

Coolant Levels

The coolant in the car is used to cool the radiator which in turn cools the engines. Coolants are generally a mixture of coolant and water. The coolant tank should always be full. If there is a constant draw down in the coolant tank level, you need to get the engine examined to see if there is any other reason for the coolant levels getting depleted very often

Wiper fluid

A car wiper ensures that you can keep your windscreen clean and thus ensuring that you are driving in safe conditions. The windscreen wiper tank should be topped up at regular intervals.

Power steering fluid

If your car has power steering see that the tank containing the fluid for this steering is always topped up.

Brake Fluid

Brakes work on the hydraulic principle where oil is forced into tubes to operate the brakes. It is very essential to see that this brake fluid in the master brake cylinder is always full. Each manufacturer has his own suggestions for all these oils and fluids and you could do well to see that you follow their recommendations.

Other maintenance requirements

Check car tire pressure at regular intervals and especially when you visit the gas station. Car tire pressures are best checked when the car has been at rest for some time, as running a car does increase tire pressures. Here it is again necessary to follow the recommendations given by the car maker or the tire maker. Properly inflated tires ensure that you have more control of the car and also ensure that the strain on the engines is minimal. This can give you better mileage.

Car batteries also need to be checked at regular intervals to see that the battery is charging adequately and will give you the necessary power when required. This is better done by experts. Change your batteries every three or four years for a better running car.

Occasionally check the fan belts and radiator hoses and replace them if you feel they are worn out or showing some signs of wear.

Ensure that you are carrying the right tools in the trunk of your car and a properly inflated spare tire. On long trips, carrying fan belts and spare hoses for the radiator are also recommended.


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