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Know your car
The ten-minute checklist
Here are a few tips on how you can look after your car, so that it never lets you down.
• Check every two to three months.
• A dirty air filter reduces gas mileage and the lifespan of your motor.
• Replace it when it is dirty or during your annual engine performance check.
• If you drive in very dusty conditions, you may need to check your air filter more frequently.
• Have the battery checked with every oil change, and periodically check cables for corrosion.
• Use of felt rings, available at any auto parts store, will reduce corrosion.
• Consider replacing your battery if it is three years old or older.
Belts and Hoses
• Check monthly.
• If your belts or hoses look or feel hard, spongy, cracked or shiny, they should be replaced right away.
• It’s best to leave the replacement to an expert.
• Be on the lookout for loose, cracked or missing clamps.
• Check monthly.
• First, wipe any dirt from the master brake cylinder cover. Then remove the cover.
• If you need fluid, add the right type (refer to your owner’s - manual) and check for possible leaks. Don’t overfill.
• Experts recommend thorough inspection of your brake system once a year or after completing 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.
• Check frequently.
• You should be able to see the level of coolant in the reservoir.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if the level is low.
• If necessary, add coolant to the reservoir — NOT the radiator — and fill it to the proper level.
• Check oil level regularly (twice a month is ideal).
• Have the oil (and oil filter) changed every three months or after every 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, unless your vehicle’s manufacturer specifies otherwise.
• Check regularly to ensure they are clean and in working order.
• Remember to check: Headlights, Taillights, Brake lights and Indicator lights.
Power Steering Fluid
• Check monthly, using the reservoir dipstick.
• If low, add the proper type of fluid (refer to your owner’s - manual).
• Inspect the pump and hoses for leaks.
• Test once every two to three months by bouncing your car up and down. When you step away, the car should stop bouncing.
• Always replace shock absorbers in pairs.
• Check monthly when tyres are cold — that is, when they have not been used for at least three hours — using a tyre gauge.
• For proper tyre inflation, refer to your owner’s - manual or the label on the driver’s side door edge or in the glove compartment of your vehicle.
• The number moulded into the sidewall of your tyres is the maximum, not the recommended tyre pressure.
• Have the alignment checked immediately if the vehicle feels ‘loose’, ‘pulls’ to one side, or if there’s uneven tyre wear.
• Have your tyres rotated approximately every 6,000 miles or with every other oil change.
• Look for uneven wear, separation or excessive smoothness.
• Replace tyres immediately if the tread has worn down to 1/16th of an inch or less.
• Automatic: Check your owner‘s - manual for exact procedure. Most vehicles run at normal option gear temperature with the parking brake firmly set. All you need to do is shift the transmission to park or neutral (refer to the owner’s manual or look on the dipstick), rove the dipstick, wipe it clean, fully reinsert it and remove it again. Read the fluid level and add fluid of the recommended type as required.
• Manual: Checking the fluid on a manual transmission is better left to a service professional, as the car would need to be raised often.
• Check the washer fluid reservoir regularly and add fluid as needed.
• Check at least twice each year for signs of wear.
• Replace if wipers streak or smear.
• Don’t wait until the rubber is worn out.