While we recommend to all our customers that the majority of theauto maintenancefor their cars needs to be completed by a professional mechanic, there are a few maintenance tasks you can do yourself. The easiest maintenance tasks you can do on your car is checking fluids and tire pressure. If you’ve never done either of these before, don’t worry, let us talk you through how to inspect your cars fluids and tire pressure.
How To Inspect Your Car’s Tire Pressure
In order to check your car’s tire pressure, you’ll need one piece of equipment – a tire pressure gauge. While all gas stations have tire pressure gauges as part of their air compressor system, a simple pen gauge should be a part of any vehicle’s emergency tool kit.
Now before you even touch a gauge or your tires, you need to know your car manufactures recommended pressure. This information can be found in your owner’s manual and on either the inside of your gas cap or on the door well of the driver’s door.
Once you are armed with what pressure your tires should be at, it’s time to check your tires pressure. To inspect your tire pressure, simply remove the dust cap from the valve stem, and connect the pressure gauge. Usually, if your tires are within 3-5 psi of the recommended value it is safe to leave the tires as is.
Knowing What Fluids Need To Be Inspected
Did you know that in most cars, you can inspect the level of every fluid by yourself? Checking the fluids of your car is good practice to ensure your car has everything it needs to continue running at optimum efficiency.
Inspecting Engine Oil
The most common fluid that needs to be inspected is your engine oil. If your car is running low on oil, it can cause lubrication of the engine’s internal components, which can cause these parts to fail. When checking the oil of your car, you’re actually seeing how much is in the oil pan so it makes sense to check the level when the pan is full. This happens after the engine has been off for a few hours and all the oil pumped through the engine has gone back down into the oil pan.
Once you’ve let your car sit for a while on a level surface, look under your hood for the dipstick. It is usually a red, orange, or yellow-colored plastic handle with the word “oil” on it, or the oil canister symbol. Pull the handle upwards and remove the dipstick from the car, don’t be scared to use some force as dipsticks tend to have a clip-in locking mechanism. Wipe the bottom of the dipstick with a cloth or tissue paper and reinsert the dipstick into its original position in the engine. We do this to get an accurate reading, which hasn’t been affected by splashing oil from the engine running.
Remove the dipstick again and visually inspect the far end of the stick. You should see several markings on the dipstick. From the far end of the dipstick going towards the handle, the markings indicate low, a quart short, and optimal. If the oil line is between a quart short and optimal, it is safe to continue using your car. If it’s between low and a quart short, it’s recommended you top up the oil level with 1 quart of your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended engine oil.
Oil top-up bottles are sold by the quart so you do not need to measure it out. Simply pour the entire bottle into the oil fill neck under the oil cap on top of the engine. It is important to check your owner’s manual to make sure you purchase the correct weight oil for your car. If there is no oil on the dipstick, you can top up the oil with and reinspect the level, but it is recommended you book your car in with your mechanic, so they can make check the car for any leaks and replace the oil completely.
Before you inspect your car’s coolant, it’s important to let your engine cool down completely. You can use your car’s engine thermometer and wait for the point when you switch on the ignition, the temperature gauge does not move off of the lowest mark. The coolant in your car’s engine becomes pressurized when the engine is hot. Opening the coolant system, either by the radiator cap or coolant reservoir cap, when the engine is hot will cause the coolant to erupt and severely harm you.
When you’re confident your car’s engine is cold, open the hood and look for a plastic container that is marked with the word “coolant” or the symbol that is on your car’s engine temperature gauge. This is your coolant reservoir. These containers are usually clear or opaque and will let you check the fluid level without having to open the lid. On the side of the reservoir, there will be two marked lines labeled high and low.
If your coolant level is beneath the low marker, feel free to top up your coolant level with distilled water or the recommended coolant for your car. While we never see freezing temperatures here in Florida, it’s still recommended to use a coolant over plain water as the coolant will have additives that help prevent rust and overall makes the coolant more efficient.
Be careful not to fill the reservoir beyond the high level, as this will cause the cooling system to be under too much pressure when the car is at operating temperature and can lead to the reservoir cracking or coolant hoses becoming damaged and beginning to leak.
Brake Fluid, Transmission Fluid, And Steering Fluid
While you can pinpoint a power steering fluid leak yourself, we strongly recommend that you have these fluids inspected and serviced by your mechanic. The process is in-depth, and if you aren’t familiar with working on cars, can be overwhelming and lead to safety issues if not done correctly.
Auto Maintenance Specialist in Pompano Beach
Inspecting your car isn’t for everybody. Whether you just want peace of mind before a road trip, you heard a weird noise or an unfamiliar light is suddenly glowing on your dashboard, our team of trained technicians will be more than happy to do a full inspection on your car. Ensure your car is in peak condition, call us at (954) 746-0488 to arrange a booking for your vehicle!