Top 4 Basic Home Auto Maintenance Tips
It's often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By doing some basic auto maintenance at home, not only can you extend the road life of your vehicle, but you can also detect small problems before they become big ones, potentially saving you thousands of dollars at the automotive repair shop. Below are a few simple habits worth starting.
1. Checking the brakes
Look behind the wheels at the brake pads. If they appear to be thinner than ¼-inch thick, it might be time to replace them. You can also do a test drive, paying attention to how the brakes feel when you step on them. Is there a lot of play in the brake pedal before the brakes start working? Does the car pull to one side? These are signs that the brakes need work.
2. Checking the oil
Between oil changes, it's a good idea to check the oil from time to time. With the engine at room temperature, look under the hood and find the oil dipstick. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean, then replace it and pull it out again. If the oil level is below the lowest indicator mark, you need to add oil to the engine.
3. Checking the other fluids
There are several other fluid levels you should check as part of basic auto maintenance. You can refer to your owner's manual to know where to check these fluids:
- Transmission fluid - Check this fluid with the engine warm and running. Healthy transmission fluid should be bright red and clear, with a sweet smell. If it's low or dark and burnt, you should have the transmission checked as soon as possible.
- Power steering fluid - You can usually find this fluid in an opaque reservoir that allows you to see the fluid level from the outside. The power steering fluid should not dissipate, so if it's low, top it off and bring the car into the shop to have it looked at.
- Brake fluid - You check this fluid level in a reservoir similar to the power steering fluid. Again, it shouldn't be low. If it is, you should have the brake system checked.
- Coolant - Check the coolant when the vehicle is completely cold, as the radiator cap should never be touched or removed when the engine is warm. Either open the radiator cap or look at the external plastic reservoir (in some vehicles). A 50/50 mix of water and coolant is recommended if the level is low.
4. Checking the tires
It's always a good idea to make sure the tires are inflated to recommended pressure levels (which you can see printed on the tire wall), because this keeps your tires working at their best. Also take a look at the tire treads. If you see balding areas or the tread starts looking thin, take it to the auto shop to have the tires checked.
Finally, you should follow your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule, as this will prevent repairs later on. You don't need to take the car to the dealer for this - you'll save money by taking it to a qualified independent auto repair shop. In Everett, O.N.B. Automotive is a full-service repair shop with a reputation for quality work and excellent customer service. For all your auto maintenance needs, they can be reached at 425-317-9618.
O.N.B. Automotive Blog
Written By Brian Corey
Published By MORBiZ