- About Us
- Car Care
- Contact Us
Finding Your Way Under the Hood and Around the Car
A quick and easy guide to preventative maintenance for the self-serve customer…and anyone else who drives.
Under the Hood:
• Check the anti-freeze/coolant level weekly. Newer cars have see-through reservoirs with level markings. Top off with 50/50 solution of permanent anti-freeze and water. CAUTION: Do not remove the pressure cap when engine is hot.
• Inspect belts monthly. Replace worn, glazed or frayed belts; tighten them when they have more than 1/2" of slack when depressed between pulleys. Replace bulging or rotten hoses and tighten clamps. To be safe, belts and hoses should be replaced at least once every 4 years.
• Check engine fluid with engine warm and running, parking brake on; shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe dry, insert and pull out again. Add fluid if needed. DO NOT OVERFILL!
• Check oil every other fill up. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, insert it and remove it again. If it’s low, add oil.
• Check the air filter every month or two. Replace it when it’s dirty or as part of tune-up. It’s easy to reach, right under the big metal "lid".
• Check brake fluid monthly. First wipe dirt from the brake master cylinder reservoir lid. Pry off the retainer clip and remove the lid. If you need fluid, add the approved type and check for possible leaks.
• Keep windshield washer reservoir full. When topping off, use some solvent on a rag to clean off the wiper blades. Keep an extra jug of fluid handy for those quick top-ups during inclement weather.
• Check the battery often. Make sure the cables are attached securely and free of corrosion. Check fluid level. If yours has filler holes, add water as needed. Note: Do not smoke or light a match near a battery.
• Power steering fluid: Check level once a month. Simply remove the reservoir dipstick. If the level is down, add fluid.
Around the Car:
• Inspect windshield wiper blades whenever you clean your windshield. Do not wait until rubber is worn or brittle to replace them. Wiper blades should be replaced at least once a year, more often if smearing or chattering occurs. Regular replacement of wiper blades is recommended.
• Be sure all your lights are working, including brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers. Keep them clean too.
• Check tires carefully (at least once a month). Look for bald spots, cracks, bulges or bubbles. Uneven tread wear could mean improper inflation pressure, misalignment, improper balance or suspension neglect. Improperly inflated tires are unsafe and cause increased wear and reduced fuel economy. Be sure to keep them inflated to the manufacturer’s suggested pressure.
• Look for signs of oil seepage on shock absorbers. Test shock action by bouncing car up and down. The car should stop bouncing when you step back. Worn or leaking shocks should be replaced. Always replace in pairs.
• A thorough exhaust system inspection in the spring and fall should ensure safe—and quiet—motoring. Many good mufflers fall off cars because the supports, or hangers, break. Inspecting and, if necessary, replacing these inexpensive brackets can save time and money. Be sure to check the catalytic converter. It looks like a small muffler but is designed to turn poisonous exhaust gas into harmless carbon dioxide and water. With proper maintenance, exhaust system life can be significantly extended. This includes tune-up and emission parts such as EGR valves, PCV valve, heat riser valve, air pump and catalytic converter.