Car Maintenance Tips
2 Basic Prerequisites
1. Read The Owner’s Manual
When it comes to vehicles, there is no ‘one size fits all’ prescription. For example, the oil change schedule of your car depends on the type of car that you drive. Contrary to the common misconception, you don’t need to change the oil after every 3,000 miles.
Hence, before everything else, make sure you read the owner’s manual to double check what your vehicle needs during maintenance. If you don’t, you will probably end up putting the wrong oil into your vehicle’s engine and cause serious damage.
2. Learn The Meaning Of Different Warning Light Indicators
Most modern cars will notify you via warning lights whenever there are some issues that require immediate attention. However, those warning lights will be useless if you can’t interpret what they mean to choose the appropriate course of action. Here’s how it goes:
- Service engine light – You see that little print on your dashboard written “service engine”, “service” or “maint reqd”? When you see that indicator light, it’s a reminder that the recommended maintenance schedule is due.
- Check engine light – Otherwise known as the malfunction indicator lamp, it will tell you whenever the sensors in your engine detect a problem that ought to be fixed. Usually, it doesn’t specify the exact issue but you can consult a mechanic or use OBD2 scanner to find out the root cause of the problem.
- Brake warning light- If the brake warning light indicator automaticallyturns on, it could mean your brake fluid level is low or the brake pads are worn out. The brake warning light can also activate when you’ve engaged the parking brakes. But just to be sure, you can refer to the owner’s manual.
- Coolant warning light- Don’t wait for a whistle! In case you see the coolant warning light, you should pull over immediately, open the hood and wait for the car to cool down. The coolant light tells you that the engine internal temperature is beyond the limit and if you keep driving you may damage it. Don’t forget: never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot!
- ABS Warning light – Just like thebrake warning light, if the ABS warning light flashes, it’s a sign that there could be a problem with the anti-lock braking system. In other words, it could be harder for you to suddenly stop your vehicle in an emergency situation. Otherwise, if both your ABS and brake warning lights are on, you shouldn’t risk driving your vehicle until the problem is fixed.
- Oil Warning light – Once the oil in your engine is lowerthan recommended, the oil warning light will engage. It could also be a symptom of a bigger problem like oil filter blockage or oil pump malfunction. Mind you, driving your car when the warning light is on can completely wreak havoc to the engine.
- Electrical fault light – Obviously, it means there is an issue with the electrical charging system. You can run a diagnostic to dig deeper into the cause. In most cases, it’s usually the alternator that is misbehaving.