BASIC CAR MAINTENANCE TIPS

I've itemized below some often ignored but very important practices that can be the difference between few and often visits to the repair shop.

  1.  Get to know your car


You need to first of all know what car you have, what it is made of and what it is capable of. Basic information about any car can be gotten from a good car website on line, but the problem will be interpreting and understanding what you get.
v6 vs I4
V6 vs I4
You can start from knowing the engine capacity commonly given in cubic centimeters (cc) and closely followed by the engine power given in bhp (break horse power). E.g. 1800cc; 140bhp. The higher these numbers are, the more power your engine should have (mostly at the expense of more fuel). So, that you drive a 2010 Honda Accord does not mean your car can drive exactly the same way any other 2010 Honda Accord on the road would. Same model year of cars come with different engines and body trim, hence, different performance. A car will perform well below its usual capacity if abusively driven; like over revving, poor gear selection etc.

The point here is right at the end of the video. 'Not what you drive, but how u drive it'.
Top Gear Toyota Pruis vs BMW M3 fuel efficiency comparison proves this. The Pruis, a compact city car with higher mpg rating was supposed to have a higher mpg usage after the laps but it actually recorded less.t the prius ran out of fuel earlier. This was because while the BMW was barely being driven to its capacity, the prius was being overdriven and abused, hence it performed below expectation. If this happened to be the normal driving habit of a car driver, it will eventually lead to sudden break down as its members pushed beyond their capacity.
So, the first step to keeping your car in good shape is to know exactly what it is made of and capable of. 

2. Give her what she wants

car dash indicators
dash indicators
….and she will give you what she can (am still talking about your car). Apart from the fuel that a car needs to keep running there are other important things that need to be periodically taken care of. But unlike the fuel, these other essentials wouldn’t immediately stop the car from running but will start affecting its performance gradually. And while some have indicators on the dash to show when they require attention, others like the air filter and maybe timing belt (depending on what car you drive) may require the drivers input to monitor them. Some of these items are:
·         Engine oil – the oil level shouldn’t change with a good engine. When it does, something else is responsible. But the heat from the engine gets the oil burnt over time. This will be indicated on the dashboard as shown
When this happens, the car should be taken to a service center for the oil to be changed. It is advisable to change the oil filter each time you are changing the engine oil.
·         The timing belt – the timing belt lasts relatively long before change. Refer to your owner’s manual for specifications on when to change the timing belt. A good service center or mechanic can help keep track of the service history and notify you when you need to change it.
·         The air Filter – the air filter ensures that the air that goes into the engine is as clean as should be. Over time, the filter surface gets filled with dirt, especially when you drive in on unpaved roads often. This reduces the amount of air that goes into the engine. This normally causes a dull sound and a noticeable lag when trying to rev the engine. The filter can be cleaned and reused several times.
·         Tires – the tires should be monitored for irregular ware as this may be signs of bad wheel alignment. Also ensure that your tires are within the usable period as car tires have expiring dates indicated on them, after which they become dangerous to use.
Other things to look out for are engine coolant level and brake fluid level.
I will soon write something detailed on these.

3. Listen to your car

I recently handed a car I was quite used to to a friend who wanted to drive it out somewhere. When he came back, I discovered that the car was idling a little higher than normal. Nothing too obvious but noticeable if you pay attention. On checking the tachometer I saw that it was idling at about 1000rpm instead of the normal 700.  An electrician later helped pin that to a bridged cable due to overheating that melted off the insulator cover. Every car has a sound, even electric cars do. Get used to your car’s normal sound and vibration as the first sign that something is wrong (if there’s no indicator for it) come in a change of the body, wheel or engine sound.
Vibrations on the steering and seats are mostly caused by wheels. When the front wheels are not well balanced, the steering vibrates at certain speeds. When the back wheels are not well balanced, the vibration is mostly felt on the seats. A typical wheel balancing will correct this.
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Comments

  1. Vibrations felt on the steering wheels and seats can also be as a result of worn constant velocity joints> These CV joints get worn mostly as a result of raised suspensions which make the CV joints work at an angle they weren't designed. If you experience this vibration and you have balanced your tyres and it didn't stop, check your CV joints.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea right. And not to mention the loss of balance when the suspension is altered (raised).

      Delete
  2. Brake maintenance is often neglected without realizing it. Not all brakes make loud noises when they are in need of maintenance. You should check the brake system about every six months.

    Steve@Tocowarranty

    ReplyDelete

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