Friday, March 18, 2011

Things To Check On A Regular Basis and Two Side Notes

Todays topic is aimed at the first time car owner and covers routine checks that need to be performed on a regular basis to insure that you’re taking care of your car, so it’ll take car of you getting where you’re going!

This topic was precipitated the other day when one of my grand daughters (17 yrs. old) dropped by in the car her father had recently purchased for the outstanding grades she has been getting in school. I got talking to her about the car and asked if knew how to check the oil. She stated that you just pulled the oil dip stick out and looked at it! It was then I realized that all a lot of first time car owners might really know is where to put in the gas, so let’s go over things that should be checked on a regular set basis to try and make sure your ride gets you there and back.

- FLUIDS: Checking the oil - if you see wet spots under your car after you’ve parked it, then you need to check the oil at a minimum of once a week, otherwise I’d not let it go more than every two weeks or when I fill up the gas tank. Check the wet spots by touching the end of your finger in the spot and rubbing your fingers together. If it feels oily, then it’s oil leaking. If it is redish in color, it is transmission, power steering or brake fluid. Check the oil by turning off the engine and letting it set for a few minutes so the oil will drain back into the oil pan. Make sure the vehicle is on a level surface. Pull out the oil dip stick (check your owner’s manual if you’re not sure where the oil dip stick is located), wipe off the dip stick with a clean rag/napkin/paper towel. Insert the dip stick all the way back into holder and then pull it back out. If the oil is below the add oil mark, add a quart. Changing the oil/oil filter every 3000 to 3500 miles will go a long way in keeping you ride on the road. To check the transmission fluid, start your car and let it idle in park for a few minutes so the transmission oil gets hot. Make sure you’re on a level surface. Locate and remove the tranny dip stick and repeat the process like you did for the oil. For adding oil or transmission fluid, you need to pick up a short neck funnel (for the oil) and a long neck one (for the tranny), so you don’t spill fluid all over the engine and ground!! BTW, kitty litter is a great way to clean up any spills from your driveway or garage floor. You should have your transmission fluid changed every year. I say “have it changed”, because most newer cars have a sealed system which requires a machine to change it (cost about $120). If your car doesn’t have a sealed system, I still recommend having a shop change it and the transmission filter. It is sure cheaper than getting a blown transmission repaired/replaced!!! To check the power steering, locate the power steering pump and remove the cap. Wipe it off (don’t get this or brake fluid on the paint of your car!), reinsert it and pull it out. If it is low, add some being very careful not to over fill! Check the brake fluid by visually looking at the mark on the reservoir. If it is low, carefully add to bring up to the full mark. Check the radiator level by looking at the overflow reservoir, and add some if needed. If it is real low/empty, you will need to run the engine until it gets hot and the thermostat opens so water goes into the engine block and then add more antifreeze as needed. You should have a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water (depending on how cold it gets where you live – check the antifreeze bottle for how much you need for protection against down to certain temps.). NEVER remove the cap from the radiator while the engine is hot – you can get some really bad burns doing that.! Windshield washer fluid – visually check the reservoir and add as needed. For winter time, you may want to purchase washer fluid that is a deicer as well.

- HOSES AND BELTS: While you got the hood up, look at the hoses for any wet spots or signs of cracking/splitting. Squeeze the hoses and see if they’re still pliable. Look at the belt(s) for signs fraying or cracking. If any of the above is discovered, get repaired ASAP! It a later post, I’ll go over how this is done in case you want to take it on yourself.

- TIRES AND TIRE PRESSURE: Visually inspect your tires to insure they’re properly inflated before you get into the car to go any where. Check the air pressure in the tires often to insure they are properly inflated. This will help them last longer. The proper air pressure for the tire is located on the side of the tire near the ream. If you are running low profile tires, keep a real close eye on them as soon as the weather turns cold. You will need to put more air in them to bring them up to the recommend pressure level. Try and always check your tires when you haven’t driven but a short distance. The air expands as the tires get warmer. Invest in a tire gauge from your local car parts store.

Well, I think that’s it on your vehicle for today, BUT I have a couple of unrelated side notes.

- SIDE NOTE ONE: If you live on the west coast of the North American continent, Hawaii, Japan and other points west of North America, YOU OWE it to yourself to watch the following two youtube videos – it could possibly mean the difference in life and death!!!!!
- -
- - (pay attention to date of this!!)

- SIDE NOTE TWO: If you haven’t seen this movie (documentary) and want to really know what the Drug War is really all about – you have to watch this without fail – American Drug War (it’s available on Netflix)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Great advice, I'll support with a follow.

  2. Good advice, a blog definitely to keep an eye on. Following this.

  3. I'm a Vancouverite bro.. Thanks for the vid

  4. Good tips, unfortunately my apartment has a rule against working on cars in the parking lot, so anything I find has to be fixed elsewhere.

  5. sounds like sound advice. thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow tons of great advice there!
    Thanks for posting, this is extremely helpful.

  7. wow nice advice here man thx for the tips, my car just broke down and need to buy some parts, i have like ZERO knowledge of cars so this is great, following you bro

  8. Thanks! I wrote some things down to take in consideration next time i'll check things!