Best auto care tips

Best auto care tips

Car mechanics are like doctors – wherever they go, people ask them for free advice. Here are some of their best maintenance tips to keep your car running smoothly.

Cabin air filter

  • A clogged cabin air filter puts an added load on your car’s A/C system and reduces heat in winter.
  • Replace your filter at least once a year.

Coolant change

  • Change coolant every 38,000 kilometres (24,000 miles) for green coolant, or 161,000 kilometres (100,000 miles) for extended-life coolant.
  • If you keep driving on worn coolant, expect to replace your car’s radiator, heater core and water pump.
  • To test your coolant set your digital voltmeter on the lowest DC setting reading and dip the positive probe right into the coolant.
  • Touch the negative probe to the negative battery terminal and rev the engine to 2,000 rpm.
  • If the reading is 0.4 volts or more, your coolant is toast.
  • Transfer case fluid and differential oil changes
  • Replacing these components will cost you about $1,500 each.

Shocks and struts

  • Shocks and struts aren’t just for comfort — they help stop your car!
  • If you’ve already clocked 129,000 kilometres (80,000 miles) and want to keep driving on your shocks and struts, stay well behind other vehicles on the freeway.
  • You’ll need an additional 6.7 metres (22 feet) of stopping distance until they’re replaced.

Cloudy headlight lenses

  • To repair cloudy headlight lenses buy a headlight restoration kit at any auto parts store and follow the sanding and buffing instructions.

Sticking or slow power windows

  • Give each window channel a shot of dry Teflon or silicone spray lubricant.
  • Then run the window up and down a few times to spread the lubricant.

Avoid iced-up wipers

  • Install winter wiper blades.
  • A rubber boot that prevents ice from building up in the wiper and that provides streak-free wiping covers these wipers.

Defroster grid out of action

  • Yes, you can fix this yourself.
  • Pick up a window defogger repair kit at any auto parts store.
  • Follow the instructions and you’ll be defrosting in no time.

Clogged radiator fins

  • Disconnect the electrical connectors to your electric cooling fans and remove the fasteners.
  • Lift out the entire fan assembly.
  • Then use a garden hose and nozzle to spray the back of the radiator.
  • That will dislodge the gunk stuck to the front side and provide better cooling.
  • Reinstall the fan assembly.

Squeaky door hinges

  • Rusty hinges wear faster, causing the door to sag and not close properly.
  • A quick spray of white lithium grease is all you need to keep them from wearing out.

Prevent false ABS trouble codes

  • Anti-lock brake (ABS) sensors contain a magnet that can pick up metallic road debris and set off a false “trouble code.”
  • Use a rag to wipe the debris off the sensor any time you have your wheels off.

Corroded battery terminals

  • Corrosion puts added strain on your charging system and can mess with computer-controlled systems.
  • Cleaning is your cheapest insurance against electrical problems.

Rattling exhaust pipe

  • Replace exhaust clamps and brackets at the first sign of rust-through or rattling.
  • They’re cheap and easy to install, and they protect other exhaust components from vibration damage.

Two things to avoid during your car DIY

1. Mixing different types of coolant

  • Green, yellow, red, orange and blue coolants create cool “mud” when mixed.
  • Cost of a new heater core: $400 to $1,000.

2. Putting E-85 in a “non-flex-fuel” car

  • This little mistake will cost you the price of a tow, a fuel tank and fuel line flush, a new fuel filter and a new tank of gas.
  • Expect to pay about $400 for this “oops.”

Remember these auto care tips when you’re working on your car to help make the job easier and to save some money.


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