Our series on simple car maintenance begins with a look at the basic oil check. This is an easy-to-do maintenance task you can perform in less than 15 minutes.
Clean oil is essential to keeping your engine running smoothly. An oil check will tell you if your car has enough oil, and if the oil is still clean and effective.
Your oil’s job is to reduce friction in your car’s engine and to keep it running properly. It is recommended that you check your car’s oil once a month to be sure you have the right amount and that it is not too dirty to do its job.
Follow these simple oil check steps:
- Park your car on a level area and wait for the engine to cool
- Open the hood and locate the dipstick, usually located next to the engine
- Remove the dipstick and wipe it with a clean, dust-free rag
- Insert the clean dipstick back into the pipe
- Remove the dipstick a second time and examine the oil on it
- If the oil does not reach the second or “full” indication line, you need to add oil
- Check the oil’s condition – if it is dirty, you need an oil change
- Once your check is finished, return the dipstick to its storage spot in the pipe
When you need to add oil, make sure it is a good quality oil that is right for your car. Your auto pro can help you find the best oil selection for your engine. Remember that oil checks do not replace the need for regular oil changes. See your owner’s manual to find out your vehicle recommendations.
There are few possessions you depend on in life as much as your car. For most it is a huge investment. We rely on our cars each day to get us to work, help us run errands, and transport us to the fun destinations we enjoy in between. It is easy to take your ride for granted, but eventually the day will come when your vehicle will fail. If you don’t take proper care of it, that day maybe sooner than later.
Taking care of your vehicle means making sure that you take your car into a professional for the regular maintenance it needs. Not only do you need to protect your investment, you need to know that you and your passengers are as safe as possible while on the road. Your trusted auto service provider can help you be sure your car stays in top condition.
There are also some basic auto maintenance things you can check on your own to keep your car running smoothly:
- Oil Check
- Engine Leaks
- Air Filter
- Accessory Belts
- Wiper Blades
- Tire Care
Over the next several weeks, I will expand on how to do these checks on your own. In the meantime, knowing your vehicle and finding a trusted local auto service professional will keep you driving safely, reliably, and efficiently.
Now is the time for car care spring cleaning. Not only will spring cleaning get your car looking great, it is the ideal time to undo some of winter’s damage. Generally speaking, as the seasons change, it is also a good idea to stop by your auto service center to have regular services performed such as oil and fluids changes, wheel alignment, and tire rotation.
Start your car care spring cleaning with a thorough car wash including underbody. After a season of driving on winter roads, the bottom of your car will be coated with corrosion causing salt, sand, and grime. Corrosion leads to rust that will seriously damage your car, so it is important to clean it from top to bottom. Be sure to get the undercarriage power wash at your car wash or spray the car’s bottom with your own hose. A thorough rinsing is all you need – special cleaners are not necessary.
Tires can become cracked or dry-rotted, so it is essential to include them in your spring cleaning. Scrub your tires with a good quality cleaner. Follow up with a protective product. There are a number of options, with some providing a slick finish, others a more matte finish. The important thing is that it conditions and protects the rubber in your tires, and contains a UV protectant.
When I say clean, I mean clean. Do a thorough job inside and out. Wipe down the engine to clear away all the debris that has accumulated under the hood. Remove any white residue off the battery with a toothbrush, baking soda, and water. It is important to do this because if corrosion residue accumulates, it may prevent your car from starting. Cleaning also helps prepare the battery for the stress of warmer temperatures.
As part of your car care spring cleaning, be sure to scrub the bottoms of doors and clean the window channels. It is a good idea to apply a silicone spray that will repel dirt and lubricates the surfaces so the windows will not stick. Take the time to clean rugs and upholstery to remove all the salt from the car’s inside. Salt can damage some fabrics and lead to damage. Be sure to check the wiper blades and replace them if necessary.
Your final spring cleaning step should be to wax. Waxing provides your car with protection and gives it a beautiful finish.