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Vehicle Maintenance


Vehicle Maintenance You Can Do

To help you get started here are some important vehicle maintenance suggestions.

Your car/ truck is running great and you're thinking if it isn't broken why fix it? That is a good question. After thirty years in the military and having been in the automotive trade since I was a boy I know that proper vehicle maintenance is the all important key to keeping your car or truck running the way you like it to with less repair.

When done regularly and correctly, maintaining your vehicle will make it last longer, use less fuel, run better, and could save you a lot of unnecessary time, trouble, and money spent on auto repair. Today's automobile generally does not require as much maintenance and upkeep as they did in the past but there are some things that need attention occasionally.

Engine Oil

Checking your engine oil level weekly and changing the oil and filter at the vehicles regular maintenance interval is one of the most important and least costly services that you can do to keep your expensive engine operating smoothly. Contaminated oil and low levels can cause the engine bearings to heat up quickly and cause serious and usually expensive internal engine damage. The repair bill can sometimes be more than the vehicle is worth. I can't emphasize enough what a vital part of vehicle wellness this is.

Under The Hood

Open the hood on your vehicle. That might raise the question, how do I do that? There is generally a hood release handle under the dash on the left side of the auto or truck next to your left leg when you are sitting in the driver seat. You may have to get out of the vehicle and bend down to look under there to locate it for the first time. Pull the handle to release the hood latch then you will have to locate the second release safety latch under the front of the hood. Once the hood is open some vehicles have hydraulic shocks to hold the hood up, others have a metal bar that has to be raised and set into holes in the bottom of the hood. Let's do some auto maintenance. This would include not only checking the engine oil levels as I mentioned earlier but checking all of the other fluid levels as well. This could include but is not limited to the automatic transmission fluid level, power steering fluid, windshield washer solvent, cooling system reservoir, and the brake master cylinder reservoir level.

Take a look at the rubber belts at the front of the engine. With the engine turned off and the key with you or out of harms way you can push on and turn the belts to examine them for excessive cracking and dryness. Belt tension is important. Generally a belt that is too loose will make a squealing noise when the engine is started and could even continue to squeal while you are driving.

Tire Maintenance

Even if your vehicle has a tire pressure monitor system built in you should purchase and carry in your auto or truck a tire pressure gauge. This inexpensive device can help you save a lot of wear and tear not only on your tires but on your purse or wallet as well. Tires with the correct amount of air or nitrogen in them last longer and provide less rolling resistance giving you better fuel economy. The manufacturers recommended tire pressure for your vehicle can usually be found on a label attached to one of the door jambs and in your owners manual under maintenance. I also recommend rotating your tires every 6000 miles as this will make your tires wear more evenly and ultimately last longer.

Follow your auto or truck maintenance schedules as found in your owners' manual. If the manual is missing you can contact a dealership for your vehicle and they can order one for your make and year of auto or truck. If your vehicle is more than 10 years old and the dealership can't get one, you should be able to find one on e-bay or a local auto salvage yard.