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Car's General Maintenance

14/May/2023 213 |
The most important things to consider for vehicle maintenance are

Vehicle Owner's Manual

owner’s manual for each make and model is the most useful reference for the maintenance and repair of that specific vehicle. The owner’s manual will have a maintenance chart. The chart will include such information as when to change the oil, rotate tires, replace the air filter, inspect the fuel cap and lines, change other fluids (transmission fluid, etc.), and other maintenance issues. vehicles have different maintenance requirements at 30,000 miles, 90,000 miles, 150,000 miles, and at other intervals as indicated specifically in the owner’s manual.

Vehicle Fluids:

Vehicle fluids include brake fluid, engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid, and battery fluid. Fluid level information and the location of each fluid reservoir can be found in the owner’s manual for your particular vehicle.

  • Brake Fluid: You can check the fluid without removing the cap. There will be a marking on the reservoir that indicates the minimum and maximum levels. You’ll want to make sure that the level is between those two marks. Most vehicles have a dashboard light that illuminates when the brake fluid is low. If the fluid is low then you should consult the mechanic,
  • Engine Oil: Most engines, but not all, have a dipstick to indicate the oil level. Typically the handle is yellow. The stick will have marks on it.
  • Coolant: A low coolant level indicates a possible leak that should be investigated. A very small amount of evaporation of coolant can occur over time. As a rule, if you need more than one quart of coolant, that indicates a problem. If the coolant is low then it needs to be replenished with the proper type of coolant and mixture.  Never open the cooling system if the engine is hot or you’ve just been driving 
  • Power Steering Fluid: If the power steering fluid is not in a clear reservoir then it will have a dipstick. Refer to the owner’s manual for the location of the reservoir and the type of fluid that should be used. Low power steering fluid is an indication of a leak and it should be investigated. low power oil can reduce the steering performance.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid: There may be a clear reservoir or a dipstick for windshield washer fluid. Refer to the owner’s manual for the location. If you live or travel in cold climates, below 32 degrees, you need to make sure that you use washer fluid with antifreeze.
  • Transmission Fluid: Some vehicles have a dipstick but many new vehicles do not have one. In some vehicles, you have to go underneath the vehicle to check this fluid. If the fluid is low, then there is a leak and it should be investigated.

Fuses

Consult the owner’s manual to locate the fuse boxes in your vehicle. They can be anywhere in the vehicle. Modern vehicles use blade-type fuses. The part of the fuse that you’ll see initially is plastic and color-coded. Violet – 3 Amp Pink – 4 Amp Orange - 5 Amp Red - 10 Amp Blue - 15 Amp Yellow - 20 Amp Clear - 25 Amp Green - 30 Amp Orange – 40 Amp (and many others)

Belts

If a belt squeals after starting the engine or while driving then this indicates a problem with belt tension. Most modern vehicles have automatic belt tensioners which keep the belt at the appropriate tension. Checking the belt tension varies by make and model.

Modern vehicles only have one belt, but older vehicles have an individual belt for each accessory of the engine (i.e. power steering, air conditioning, and alternator). Belts can also be checked by visual inspection and touch for signs of cracking, fraying, or glazing. Glazing means the drive surface of the belt will be shiny.

Hoses

Hoses can be checked visually and by touch for signs of cracking, swelling, or leaks. If the engine is cool, then squeeze the hose to check for softness. If there is any variation from the hose to hose within the same vehicle then that could indicate a problem.

Vehicle Lighting

Vehicle lighting includes instrument panel lighting, warning indicator lights, left and right turn signals, brake lights, hazard lights, headlights and tail lights, front marker lights, the license plate light, and lights for the cab and trunk.

Warning indicator lights on the dashboard

These include the brake light, oil light, check engine light, anti-lock brake (ABS) light, airbag light, tire pressure monitor, engine temperature light, etc. All of the warning indicator lights will turn on for a set amount of time (about a minute, but varies per vehicle) when you turn the key to the “on” position without cranking the engine. Once the engine is running, none of these lights should be on (even the seat belt light should be off, indicating that you’re wearing your seat belt). If one is on, then it indicates a problem with its correlating system. The number of lights and types of lights will vary by make and model. Some vehicles have features that others don’t, such as traction control.

Air Filter

Consult the owner’s manual for the location of the air filter. Remove the air filter. Inspect for visual signs of dirt and debris. Hold the filter up to fluorescent light; you should be able to see light coming through the filter. If there is any doubt then change it. It’s cheap preventative maintenance and it helps preserve fuel economy.

Global Spare Parts, Oman

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