Maintaining your vehicle so it can perform its best doesn’t have to eat into your budget. It’s not uncommon knowledge that sending your car to be maintained by a professional crew can send you into a sticker shock episode. Many of the common tasks can be done at home by yourself so long as you have the basic knowledge and basic tools.
How Often Does a Car Need A Tune Up?
A tune up is defined as servicing a vehicle to ensure it functions properly and safely. While a tune up can eliminate most problems, it’s not solution for every problem. While you can consult your user manual for your vehicle, here are a few signs to look for when considering if your vehicle needs a tune up:
- Your once gas efficient car now consumes gas greedily.
- Power seems low or lacking.
- The idle is unpredictable and may stall
- Your car misfires on the occasion
- Runs roughly especially when first started
- Engine no longer runs smoothly
- Engine is more difficult to start.
Tools To Have On Hand Before You Start
Doing the job correctly is partially dependent on having the right tools. Here’s a small list of what you’ll need:
- Several wrenches, or just an adjustable wrench
- A torque wrench
- Socket and ratchet set
- Torque wrench
- Philips screwdriver
- Flathead screwdriver
- A jack
If you don’t already have these tools on hand, consider purchasing them at your local home improvement store. Don’t be tempted to purchase tools that are cheap. Find tools that are comfortable to hold and the handles are strong. You don’t want a wrench breaking when you need it the most.
Other than the tools you’ll be purchasing, you need to purchase the new auto parts if you’re going to be replacing anything. Online auto stores make it easy for you by enabling you to enter information about your car to match you with the proper parts. If an online store is out of question, visit your local auto part store and tell them what you need. Most likely they’ll help you get the right part the first time. If you don’t get the right part, hold onto the receipt so you can exchange the wrong part for the right one.
Replacing Your Drive Belt
You’ll need to replace your drive belt when it’s broken or worn. If your car happens to squeal when you first start it up in the morning, chances are it’s a drive belt. If you’re not sure, look your drive belt over for any signs of cracks, daily wear and tear and even lack of firmness.
Replacing an Alternator or the Battery
If your car has a hard time starting, it might be time to take a look at the alternator and or battery. Using a multimeter to test your alternator will help you quickly find out if the alternator is to blame. This handy device will display the power levels and whether or not your alternator or battery are dead. If either your battery or alternator are dead, you’ll need to replace it. Locating the alternator may be a little difficult for newbies, consulting the user manual that came with your car will usually make this painless. A battery may cease to work if you accidentally left a car door open overnight (even partially) or even the lights. You may try jumping the batter to see if this breathes new life into the battery.
Brake pads are an essential function you can’t afford to skimp on when it comes to preventive maintenance. The brake pads will begin to make squealing noises whenever you decide to glide to a stop. Grinding noises are a different story. If you hear grinding noises, it’s probably best to consult the advice of an expert. Take the car to a repair shop to be serviced.
How to Fix Leaks and Avoid Damaging Your Driveway
If you back your car out of the driveway or its parking spot and you happen to see liquid puddles where your car was, chances are your car has a leak. They come in a variety of colors from orange to green and even orange. After you first notice the leak, pop the hood on your car and see if you can locate the source. Be careful! If you’re lucky, you may find the source dripping from a hose or a plastic part. Don’t touch it! The liquid will more than likely be scorching hot. To fix the problem, remove the hose and replace it with a new one. If you can’t seem to locate the leak, consider turning the car over to a professional.
Some Other Common Tasks That Are Performed During a Tune Up
- Oil Changes are essential to keep your motor performing its best. Most people recommend scheduling an oil change every 3,000 miles. While you can do this at home, proper disposal of the old oil can be very messy and dangerous. Consider finding a shop nearby that can do it for you.
- Spark plug and wires are some of the things that are responsible for starting your vehicle. If your spark plug can’t get a proper contact, your gas mileage may go down, the car may be difficult to start and emissions will most likely fail your vehicle.
- Replacing the air filter prevents harmful debris and particles from getting into your engine. If you put off maintain the air filter, your vehicle will suck the debris in and collect. This will cause poor gas mileage and even your engine’s performance.
- Replacing a fuel filter is an intimidating task because you’re working directly with fuel. If you don’t know how to do this or never learned how to do it, consider seeking the advice of a professional at your local auto part shop. Most professionals are all too happy to show you how to do this simple but intimidating task.
While this article is not a comprehensive to do list on auto maintenance, it’s basic and provides an ample starting list for vehicle maintenance.