Basic Auto Maintenance: Things you can do yourself.
There are many things you can do yourself to keep your vehicle in top shape.
Some simple things that you can check and repair yourself underneath the hood are:
- Check oil level. The engine needs to be off. Pull out the dip stick; take a rag; wipe it down; reinsert it into the hole; push it in all the way, and remove to look at the level. Look for a tab near the bottom and indicators for lower and high levels. If it is at the lower level then you need about a quart of oil.
- To add new oil. Open the cap and add only enough oil to get engine levels up to the high mark on the dipstick. Most, newer, oil caps will indicate what kind of oil to use in that engine.
- Check the windshield washer level. Windshield washer fluid is usually sealed with a blue cap and located in an area of the engine that is easy to find. Fill with a good quality, undiluted windshield washer fluid, almost to the brim.
- Check power steering fluid. You can usually see through the container which is marked with a lower and higher level. Make sure the power steering fluid is between those lines.
- Check air filter. The air filter catches particles of dust and dirt before they can enter the engine. So it is a very important part. Eventually the air filter will get dirty and need to be changed. If not changed when it is dirty it will effect engine performance and gas mileage. Some engines have a clamp down cover, and some have a screw. Remove the cover, remove the dirty air filter and replace with a new one.
- Clean the hood join. Another thing a person should do is raise the hood and take a look at the area where the top of the hood meets the car body. It can often accumulate leaves and other debris on the grill. This grill keeps leaves and debris from entering the cabin of the car. It also has an interior filter which should be removed and replaced periodically.
As always, if you are too busy to do these small tasks yourself they are a quick and easy maintenance task for your local mechanic. Your local shop will have air filters and oil available and you can usually make an appointment, pull in and get the job done very quickly.