Vehicle Preventative Maintenance Advice

Vehicle preventative maintenance done on a regular basis will ensure smooth operation and prevent serious mechanical problems from developing in the future.

Any person who has dealt with an HMO knows they strongly advocate taking preventive measures. When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle getting a yearly physical health exam that may include a mammography for women, a blood serum test for cholesterol levels, prostate screening for men, blood pressure, and or reflex testing. These preventive measures are encouraged by these healthcare organizations because by taking part in regularly scheduled health visits to the doctor can eliminate or avoid future serious health risks that may necessitate more costly tests, and even surgical procedures.

This philosophy of preventive maintenance can very easily apply to a motor vehicle. By regularly checking those important areas that are involved in the operation of a car or truck will most likely avoid the occurrence of most costly mechanical problems later. The items that should be checked on a regular basis are listed below:

Oil: Sad to say but gone are the days when a person can simply pull into a full service gas station, lean his or her head out a side window and ask the attendant to check the oil. Now with self-service gas stations in place, a person soon learns that a "dipstick" is not necessarily synonymous with a "Ėœflaky' person but is actually a very functional tool that is found beneath the hood of most automobiles, or at least should be.

All one had to do is to look for what appears to be a flat wire loop under that hood, pull it out, clean it off, replace it into the engine, then pull it out again. If the level of oil falls between the "Full" and "add" mark, then things are okay. But if the oil level falls below the "add" indicator, then this mean to add more oil, at least enough oil until it reaches the line marked "full." Also the oil should be changed within the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer of the vehicle, which is usually around 3 to 5,000 miles.

Transmission Fluid: This is an important fluid and neglecting to keep track of it can result in some costly repairs later down the road. This fluid also has a "dipstick" indicator. The engine should be running when doing this procedure. Again, this is an easy enough procedure. If the level of fluid falls below the "add" line, then more transmission fluid is required.

Coolant: This should be regularly checked and if the level in the reservoir that contains this fluid is low, then adding necessary coolant is so indicated. Antifreeze should be used during the extremely cold weather as the use of plain water may result in a "cracked block."

Brakes: If at times a sort of mushy feeling is felt when pushing down on the brake pedal, this may be an indication that more brake fluid is required. The reservoir containing this fluid will also indicate if more fluid should be added. If that isn't the case, unresponsive brakes should be checked for other possible causes.

Power Steering: Just locate the reservoir that contains this fluid. Again, markings or a dipstick will show whether or not more needs to be added.

Battery: Fluid is found in batteries and the level here should be checked. If more is needed, carefully add this. Also this would be a good time to check for any corrosion that may have formed around the connections and can interfere with its operation. If you need to jump start a battery, remember to connect the end of red cables to the positive (+) terminal. Connect the two positive terminals on the battery of each car, then connect the two negative terminals. Wait until everything is hooked up before turning the ignition in the "dead" car.

Air Filter: A dirty air filter will cut down on operational efficiency and changing the air filter, which is must a matter of replacing the old with the new, should also be done on a regular basis.

Tires: A tire gauge is another helpful tool right along with that dipstick mentioned earlier as it will let you know if your tires are properly inflated, which should be at the manufacturer's suggested levels. These should be checked often, at least monthly.

Belts: Every belt should feel tight and these should also be checked on a regular basis.

By going through each of the above procedures on a regular basis, you will not only have an efficiently running automobile, but this type of maintenance will help avoid most mechanical problems and at the same time keep maintenance costs to a minimum.

© High Speed Ventures 2011