“Quick Car Maintenance Tips”
In many of our articles, you’ll find information describing in intricate detail how everything automotive works. Here, I've simplified all that knowledge into a series of basic car maintenance tips, subdivided by category. If you still can't find what you're looking for, or have a suggestion for something else I should cover, contact me using my email at the bottom of every article. Sometimes we shall repeat some of the tips, it is not that we have run out of material but because some of our readers may have requested for a repetition of the same. We shall try to avoid such repetition as much as we can.
Wheels and tyres; did you know that, tyres are one of the most important features of any vehicle?
Rotate your tyres! Wearing the right tyres for the right purpose is paramount. The safety of any vehicle depends on the quality of the tyres. Bad tyres are as bad as they sound and you should never compromise your safety and that of other road users. Apart from having good tyres, there is a need to keep the tyres in good working condition. How is that done? It is recommended that, after every 8,000km, rotate your tyres. Tyre rotation is the process of interchanging tyres by taking a front tyre and putting it behind and the behind one to the front; the front left should go to the rear right and the rear left to the front right. That way, the tyres wear out evenly.
It is also recommended to clean brake dust off regularly; Brake dust contains all sorts of nasty stuff. If you leave it too long, the combination of road grime, moisture and heat from your brakes will bake it on to your wheels. Brake dust normally clings to wheels with static electricity so a damp sponge and clean cold water is the best way to get it off. In addition to that, make sure that you check your tyre pressures regularly - once a week is ideal. Bad tyre pressures can affect fuel economy, handling and comfort. It's easy to do and there is no excuse not checking your tyre pressure. Check your tread depth, Bald, slick tyres might be good for motor racing but they're no good on the road. Most tyres come with tread wear bars built into them now - find one, examine it and if your tread is too low, replace your tyres. Four new tyres might seem expensive but they're cheaper than a fine or an accident.
Check your Engine belts regularly; at the front of your engine there will be a series of rubber drive belts that loop around various pulleys, driving everything from the alternator to the a/c compressor. Rubber perishes, more so in extreme conditions like those found in an operating engine bay. Get your timing belt and accessory drive belt checked every 40,000 km, preferably replacing it every 100,000 km.
Checking your oil level, this is something everyone can do - it's quick and easy and it'll tell you if your engine needs oil. If the oil is too high or too low, it can cause trouble for your engine. To check the oil, park on level ground and wait until the engine has cooled down after driving, then locate the dipstick. Pull it out and wipe it clean, then push it all the way back in until the top of it is seated properly in the dip tube again. Wait a moment then pull it out again. Check the level of the oil. If it's between the high and low marks, you're fine. (If it's too low, add a little.) The high and low marks can be denoted by two dots, an "H" and "L" or a shaded area on the dipstick. The photos below show a Honda dipstick which has the two dots. Why not just read the level first time around? The first time you pull the dipstick out, it will have oil all over it and it will be difficult to tell where the level is. That's why you need to wipe it on a rag to get a clean dipstick, then dip it back into the
oil to get a good reading. (To be Cont’d)