Perform Your Own
by: David Maillie
Todayís cars can typically be expected to pass the 200,000 mile mark with consistent automobile maintenance. With the price of automobiles, you will want to protect that investment by performing regular maintenance. If you can do much of the work yourself, you will save a lot of money in labor. Invest in a good set of tools and choose quality parts when performing your own automobile maintenance.
If you have some skill, but want to learn more look for courses in general repairs and maintenance. These can often be found at your local community center, Community College or an automotive technical school in your area. Consider investing in a good repair manual for your car, such as a Chiltonís manual. The internet is a good place to look for articles and information. There are many sites devoted to auto repair and maintenance.
You will want to keep track of all maintenance performed on your car. You can do this in a log, a notebook or on your home computer. There is software available to help you keep track of maintenance. These programs track repairs, maintenance, replacement parts used on the vehicle and fuel consumption. You can use the same software for multiple vehicles.
Most software allows you to create a service schedule and will remind you when itís time to perform maintenance tasks on each vehicle in your household. The software contains a wide variety of tips for car care. In addition, many have reference and diagnostic tools to help you diagnose various problems with your cars. Many companies offer a free trial that can be downloaded on the internet. This allows you to try out the program before investing your money.
Your ownerís manual will give you some basic information about when certain maintenance tasks should be done. Most tasks will be listed according to the mileage on the car.
3000 Mile Maintenance
Change the oil in your engine every 3000 miles. The filter should be changed at the same time. Newer synthetic oils are said to last longer without breaking down. When you change the oil, check the fluids, the air filter, tires, hoses and belts. At this time check the battery cables and terminals for corrosion. This can be removed with a wire brush or sandpaper.
Have your tires rotated and balanced every five to ten thousand miles. This helps the tires wear evenly and extends the life. The best tires should be put in the front of the car. Check the tire pressure regularly and check the tread for signs of uneven wear or damage.
Change the air filter every 15,000 miles. A clean air filter improves the fuel economy of your car. A dirty air filter can cause the engine to run rough and stall. At this time you should also check the pads and shoes on your brake system. Check the brake fluid and top it of, as needed. The fluid should be clear. If you notice noise when the brakes are applied or the steering wheel shakes or vibrates, this can be an indication that the brakes need replacing. In this case, donít wait check the brakes and replace as needed.
Check the fluid level on your transmission. The ownerís manual will have information about the kind of fluid that should be used in your car. The manual should have directions on how to drain and replace the fluid. The pan gasket should be changed when the fluid is drained. Also at this time, give the car a tune up. Replace all spark plugs and wires.
Change the coolant at 50,000 miles. See the ownerís manual for directions on how to perform this task.
Remember to take care of your carís finish. You want the paint to
remain in good condition for as long as possible. Wash the car regularly,
even in the winter when salt from the roads can ruin the finish. Apply wax
to protect the paint from the sun, salt and weather conditions. Donít
neglect the headlights, which can become cloudy and wonít operate as well.
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