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Car Care Tips

Automatic Transmission Fluid

Check fluid level with engine running and transmission in park. If low, add the type of automatic transmission fluid specified in the owner’s manual and/or on dipstick. For maximum performance, change every two years or 24,000 miles, or as directed in owner’s manual.

Belts Check

V-belts and serpentine belts for looseness and condition. Replace when cracked, frayed, glazed or showing signs of excessive wear. Replace timing belt per interval specified in owner’s manual. Typically this is 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Not replacing the belt as required could cause a breakdown or serious engine damage.

Cabin Air Filter

Replace annually, or more often in areas with heavy airborne contaminants or whenever heating or cooling efficiency is reduced.

Timing Belt

Your timing belt coordinates various functions in your engine. If it breaks, your engine stops. You should prevent this by changing your timing belt at 60,000-90,000 service intervals. Depending on your manufacturer’s specifications, you may even need to change it sooner. If your car has a timing chain, the breakage could cause engine damage. Have your mechanic check to see if your timing belt or chain needs replacement

Check Engine Light On

If light comes on while driving or remains on, your vehicle may have an emissions or sensor problem and should be analyzed. If light flashes, the condition is more severe and must be checked immediately to prevent catalytic converter damage.

Coolant (Antifreeze)

Check level at reservoir. Never open a hot radiator cap. If low, add 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water. Change coolant annually on most vehicles.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Check fluid level monthly. Some vehicles have two reservoirs. Do not use water. Use washer fluid only.

Fuel Filter

Inspect filter at each oil change. Replace if restricted or water contaminated or once a year on cars with carburetors. On cars with fuel injection, replace filter every two years or 24,000 miles.

Lights

Replace bulb immediately if light is out. Check fuses first.

Power Steering Fluid

Check the fluid with the car warmed up. Add correct type of fluid if low. If frequent topping off is required, inspect for leaks and replace if contaminated.

Steering and Suspension

Inspect system annually, including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts, such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components. Replace if leaks, damage and loose mounting hardware are found. Symptoms of worn suspension include uneven tire wear and excessive bouncing after bumps.

Battery and Cables

Battery should be securely mounted. Battery connection should be clean, tight and corrosion free. If the battery is three years old or more, it should be tested and replaced if necessary.

Brakes

Check the entire brake system every year, including brake linings, rotors and drums.

Chassis Lubrication

Many newer cars are lubed-for-life; some still require this service. Check owner’s manual. Replacement steering and suspension components may require periodic lubrication.

Engine Oil

Change your engine oil & filter every 3000 miles to ensure proper lubrication. This reduces friction & wear on the critical components of the engine. If the oil light comes on, stop the car immediately. The loss of oil pressure can be caused by lack of oil or the failure of the oil pump. Running a car without oil pressure can destroy the engine within minutes.

Engine Air Filter

Inspect filter at each oil change. Replace annually or when leaking, torn, water or oil soaked, dirty or showing other signs of wear.

Exhaust

Inspect for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.

Hoses

Inspect hoses at each oil change and replace when leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen or restricted.

Oxygen Sensor

Replace at interval as recommended in owner’s manual or when other conditions dictate, such as failing an emissions test. Some cars have an oxygen sensor replacement light that appears when oxygen sensor replacement is needed.1996 and newer cars have more than one oxygen sensor.

Spark Plugs

Typical replacement intervals range between 30,000 and 100,000 miles, depending on the vehicle and type of spark plug. Always consult your owner’s manual for your specific vehicle.

Tire Inflation and Condition

Check the pressure of all tires, including the spare, at every oil change. Check the tread for uneven or irregular wear and cuts or bruises along the sidewalls. Inflate tires and maintain at recommended pressure. Replace tires if worn or damaged. Increase tire life by making sure your wheels are in alignment. Wheels will go out of alignment under normal driving conditions, but this will be accelerated by excessively running into bumps and curbs. For even wear on all tires, they must be “rotated” or their positions must be swapped regularly. Rule of thumb: you should rotate your tires every other oil change or approximately every 5,000-8,000 miles.