Automobile Maintenance: Three Key TasksShare
Automobiles, like other machines, need maintenance from time to time to remain in good working order. If you are handy with tools, you can perform some maintenance tasks yourself, although, of course, you also have the option of taking the car to an auto repair shop and letting a professional handle it. The following article looks at some key maintenance tasks every vehicle owner should be aware of.
Checking your oil regularly can prevent damage to your engine. If you run your car when the oil level is low, the engine could be seriously harmed. To avoid this, check your oil level at regular intervals. Car and Driver magazine recommends checking the oil level once a month.
With your car parked on level ground, locate the oil dipstick. If you are unsure of the location, check your owner's manual. Pull the dipstick completely out of its housing and wipe off any oil on it with an old rag or a paper towel. Then reinsert the dipstick all the way down into the housing. When you pull the dipstick out a second time, check where the oil level is on the stick. The dipstick has two lines or indentations on it. If the level is between the two lines, then your car does not need more oil. If the oil level is below the bottom line, you need to add a quart of oil.
Your car's brakes are a key safety feature that protects you from accidents. Keeping a close eye on how your brakes are performing is a critical maintenance task. Listen for any scraping or screeching noises coming from your brakes. This is a sign that the brake pads are wearing out and you need new ones. Feeling your brake pedal vibrate when you are braking is a sign of worn brake pads as well.
Check your brakes for worn pads by looking for any excess dust on the wheels. Brake pads produce dark or reddish particles due to the friction of the brake pads striking the rotor. If brake dust on your wheels is noticeable, take the car to an auto repair shop and have them inspect the brakes.
If your battery is weak, you are probably going to have a problem starting the car. To make sure the battery is strong, test the voltage with a multimeter. Before running the test, make certain that you remove any corrosion or debris from the battery terminals.
Place the negative and positive probes of the multimeter on the negative and positive battery terminals, respectively. The reading on the multimeter should read between 12.2 to 12.6 volts. A lower reading means the battery is weak and needs charging. Next, have someone start the car while you check the voltage. If the voltage goes below 10 on the multimeter, the battery needs attention. Finally, check the reading while the car is idling. The voltage should read between 14 and 14.5 volts.
Automobile maintenance is essential to keeping your car running smoothly. Not everyone will have the time or inclination, however, to do the job themselves. To make sure that your automobile is well-maintained take it to a local auto repair shop if any issues arise.