MOTORING CORNER : “How to Service Your Car”

If you have to ever get the best performance as well as longevity out of your vehicle, you must keep the vehicle in the best of working and mechanical condition. You can save a lot of money by servicing a car yourself. You also have the advantage of knowing that you have used top quality components and have done a good job.  Do not despair, if you cannot do it yourself, then employ the services of a qualified personnel to do so on your behalf.

If you have to ever get the best performance as well as longevity out of your vehicle, you must keep the vehicle in the best of working and mechanical condition. You can save a lot of money by servicing a car yourself. You also have the advantage of knowing that you have used top quality components and have done a good job.  Do not despair, if you cannot do it yourself, then employ the services of a qualified personnel to do so on your behalf.

It really is quite simple to perform a basic full service and does not require any more than the ability to tighten or loosen a nut here and a screw there!

You will need an oil filter removal tool which looks more or less like a bicycle chain with a handle; if you cannot land your hands on the above kit, then, you can use a piece of “sandpaper” or a section of an ordinary sisal rope to unscrew the old oil filter and to fit a new one.

Oil -Drain the old oil from the engine. First run the engine so that the oil is warm, place the catch pan under the sump and loosen the sump nut taking care that it does not fall in to the hole of the catch pan.

Be careful as the oil is might be very HOT!  When the engine is empty of oil replace the sump washer and sump nut and then fill the engine to top of mark on dipstick NEVER over or UNDER the lower mark. Pour slowly pausing and allowing the dipstick level to settle and check.

If possible, after you have drained out the old oil, flush the engine with a special light oil, so that, all the dirty oil and metal chippings and dirt are removed. If the engine is thoroughly cleared, your engine will perform better.

Oil - Get the correct grade - see your cars instruction book and note that light oils meant for newer vehicles can actually cause damage in an old or low performance engine just as too thick oil can clog up the fuel pump and fail to lubricate the engine.

Oil should be changed every 3000km or 5000km, depending on the quality of the oil.

Spark Plugs are a very important component (if you own a petrol vehicle).  Get a good quality brand with a copper core electrode.  Plugs last for a year although some cars use iridium or platinum plugs which are rated for 60,000 kilometres or 4 years of usage.

These can last you a long time; the long service may come at an equally high cost!  Spark plugs - remove the old plugs and check them for pitting, oil fouling etc.

This will tell you a lot about the condition of the engine and ideally the plugs should have a dark grey sooty appearance. If this is light grey the engine is running lean or black implies that the engine is running rich. (Greasy black plugs can indicate an oil leak).

The air filter serves as the “lung” for your vehicle; make sure the filter is clean so that your vehicle’s air intake is superb. This is really easy to replace, it just drops in. Typically the air filter housing is secured with a few screws or clips.

You may have to unplug sensor cables and the air flow meter to gain access but you can normally get away without doing that in most cars.

An air filter will last for 1 year, unless you live in a very dusty environment. However, if you notice any signs of the air cleaner filter getting worn out, for your own sake and that of your vehicle, A visual check will reveal if it is dirty or not, replace it if necessary.  An air cleaner filter is inexpensive.

A worn out or dirty filter will greatly impact on the power of your vehicle!
 
motoringcorner@live.co.uk

To be continued

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