The cars of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s were much simpler and less complicated than the cars of today, which have more computer electronics, silicon chips, and complicated engines. But basic car care is the same for all kinds of cars and trucks, and it can help your car or truck last longer and last better.
The best part is that basic car care doesn’t require a lot of knowledge about cars or how they work. Your car will be safer and more reliable for you and your family if you take a few simple steps, check it often, and fix problems as soon as you notice them.
Even though it might seem scary, basic car care is often as easy as opening the hood and taking a look at the engine.
The first step in basic car care is to look at the outside. At least once every two weeks, check your tires to make sure they have the right amount of air in them. This should be done with a tire pressure gauge, but you might also find it helpful to look at the tires to make sure they look even and inflated.
Other visual checks that don’t require much knowledge of auto mechanics are the following:
Damage to the body and bumpers should be kept an eye on for insurance purposes.
leaks of oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, or other fluids Water can also leak under a car if it drips from an air conditioner.
Aside from normal diesel emissions or startup fumes, if there is smoke coming out of a car’s exhaust, the engine or fluid warning lights should be fixed as soon as possible before driving again.
Under the Hood
A lot of your car’s regular maintenance must be done with the hood open, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a mechanic. The most important things to keep an eye on and check regularly are:
How much and how clean the engine oil is
level of coolant or antifreeze (never remove the radiator cap while the engine is hot or warm).
brake and power steering fluid levels; transmission fluid and belts
Most engines have containers and canisters with fill-level lines that can be used to check the level of fluids. Make sure that the fluids are between the minimum and maximum lines. You should also keep an eye out for radiators and other tubes that are leaking or worn out. These should be replaced before they are pushed to the point where they will burst.
Other things to look out for in and around the engine are loose electrical or tube connections, worn or exposed wires, and loose or warped belts, which should be replaced right away. Some drivers find it hard to change their belts, but it’s an easy and cheap fix at a service station, so it might be worth going to your mechanic to make sure the right belt is put on correctly.
You should also keep an eye on the battery in your car and know how old it is. Batteries should be changed every five years or so, and you should have yours checked if your car won’t start when the battery is fully charged. At a battery replacement station, you can usually check for free to see how full your battery is and how much water is in it. Most car batteries also come with warranties that cover everything.
Changing the Oil
One of the most important things you can do for your car is to change the oil and oil filter.Some mechanics say that you should change the oil every 2,000–3,000 miles, but you can drive safely for longer. But you should change your car’s oil or have it changed at least every 5,000 miles, along with getting a new filter.
Even though your oil should be pretty clean, it should still have a dark color when it gets to your engine. You should keep your oil level between the minimum and maximum fill lines by checking it often. This is why you should keep some motor oil in the car so you can add more if you need to.
You can choose from different kinds of motor oil. Oils that are lighter, like 5W-30, work better in colder weather, while oils that are heavier, like 10W-40, work better in warmer weather. If your car smokes a lot or uses a lot of oil, you should probably use a heavier-weight synthetic blend motor oil.
Other Replacements and Maintenance
Other important parts of your car and engine that need to be taken care of regularly and replaced now and then are:
air filter, headlights, brake lights, turn signals, Wires and spark plugs, engine timing belt and windshield wipers
Most engine tune-ups include either work on the engine itself or work on the wiring, such as replacing the spark plug, cable, and distributor cap.
When it comes to regular car maintenance, the most important thing to remember is to take care of problems right away, like an engine knocking or other noises, and do your best to figure out what might be wrong before you go to the mechanic.
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