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The Car Maintenance Bible

From your grandpa's raggedy old hand-me-down Datsun to the brand new Vauxhall Astra you have been planning to put your pounds on, getting behind the wheels of a smooth, well oiled machine is a different kind of feeling altogether.

For that, maintaining your mean machine is of the utmost priority.

According to statistics:

  • 85% of all cars need preventive maintenance or repairs
  • 2,600 fatalities and as many as 100,000 disabling injuries occur because of car neglect
  • Of all motor vehicle accidents, 5.2% are caused by car neglect

Our latest Infographic gives you the run down of what you should be checking and when, so share with a friend that needs a hand taking care of there car:

(Or Check out the text version below)

Vehicle Integrity

The integrity of a car can be marred by a number of factor, all of them arising out of non-maintenance.

Lubricants & Fluids

Parts

Tires

Engine Oil

30%

Air Filters

24%

Tire Pressure

21%

Transmission Fluids

26%

Belts

19%

Tire Depth

16%

Steering Fluid

21%

Hoses

17%

Tire Condition

11%

Brake Fluids

23%

PVC Filter

13%

 

 

Coolant (Flush)

20%

 

 

 

 

Washer Fluid

18%

 

 

 

 

Coolant (low surge tank)

16%

 

 

 

 

Coolant (low radiator)

11%

 

 

 

 

Coolant (leaks)

8%

 

 

 

 

 

The cost of not maintaining your car can be quite heavy, especially as compared to what it could actually cost to have the same repairs made on schedule.

 

Regular maintenance

Cost of skipping

Maintenance

$1000+

$8,000+

Regular Oil Changes

$120/year

$4000+ on engine replacement

Tire Rotations

$50 every 7,500 miles

$350-$700 for replacing tires

Timing Belt replacement

$600 for replacing belt

$4000+ on engine replacement

Brake Inspection

$150-$375 for brake pads/shoes

$300-$600 for replacing rotors or drums

PVC Valve replacement

$25 for replacing PVC valve every 3,000 miles

$100-$1000 for new valve covers/engine seals

Changing plugs/filters

$100

$335-$700+ for getting car to compliance

 

Although maintaining your own car is the easiest way out, statistics could prove that for most drivers and car owners, it might be more difficult than it sounds:

  • 9 out of 10 can't name common tools like a wrench or jumper cables
  • 2 out 3 don't own items like a tyre pump or car-battery charger
  • 7 out of 10 drivers don't know how to carry out basic tests like checking the oil level
  • 1 in 10 can't open their car bonnet

So let’s get down to it then!

 

MAINTAINING YOUR CAR – One Part at a Time

Any car is an intricate machine with multiple moving parts, each with an essential function and the whole is completely dependent on the health of its parts.

Tyres:

Proper maintenance starts right at the ground level so we start with the rubber shoes your car wears. A good set of tyres can mean the difference between a safe ride home or a fatal crash.

  • Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification for the load being carried.
  • Tyres should also be free from certain cuts and other defects.
  • Cars, light vans and light trailers must have a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm across the central 3/4th of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference.
  • Motorcycles, large vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles must have a tread depth of at least 1 mm across 3/4th of the breadth of the tread and in a continuous band around the entire circumference.
  • Tyre pressures must be checked on a weekly basis. Do this before setting out when tyres are cold. Warm or hot tyres may give a misleading reading.
  • Buy and use a tyre pressure gauge. They are inexpensive and provide accurate pressure readings.

 

Suspension System:

The suspension system is what most of your entire car (and you) rest on. It cushions the vehicle chassis, providing a smooth ride and a well maintained suspension can prolong the overall lifespan of any car.

  • Lube Chassis every time you change your oil, or at least every 10,000 miles
  • Align front end whenever experiencing abnormal tire wear
  • Inspect ball joins every 20,000 miles
  • Check steering linkage and free play every 20,000 miles
  • Clean and repack front end bearings and replace seal every two years 24,000 miles
  • Inspect rear suspension every 20,000 miles
  • Rotate tires every 20,000 miles
  • Check air pressure and tire wear every 7,500 miles. Rotate tires and align if there is any sign of wear.
  • Check bellows on rack-and-pinion unit every time the chassis is lubed.  Leaking units should be replaced.
  • Replace OE shocks after 50,000 miles.

 

The Engine:

The heart of any car and needless to say, the very thing which requires the softest touch and the most attention. Just like any vital organ, it is delicate and maintaining it, is a little more complex than usual.

  • Checking the engine oil, using a dipstick to see if everything is the way they should be
  • the engine is just as important as washing the wheels are. It prolongs the life of the engine and reduces the amount of stress an engine has to undergo.
  • Checking coolant levels to prevent the vehicle from overheating
  • Inspecting the exhaust system to make sure there are no breaches or rusting on the pipe
  • Checking the spark plugs and air filters to make sure that it is clean enough. In case light does not pass through it if you hold it up, you should consider replacing it.
  • Checking transmission fluid levels. In case the fluid looks more reddish-brown than pinks, it’s time to change it.
  • Drain and flush the cooling system every 2 to 4 years.
  • Change the automatic transmission fluid every 36,000 miles.

 

Cosmetic Care:

Although your car might be as healthy as a prize race horse, if you don't groom the beast, it is going to look ill without any reason. Sometimes, appearances are important:

  • Make sure to cover your car up during extreme weather conditions. And in case you are putting your car away for a long time, deflate the tyres half way through.
  • In case of cold weather, keep your car covered and parked inside, preferably in a garage.
  • Use a silicone lubricant to prevent your car from rusting.
  • Wash your car with auto-shampoo twice every week to maintain the paintjob and remove abrasive debris.
  • Use bumper magnets instead of bumper stickers since it'll prevent the paint from being damaged unintentionally.
  • Use a good quality wax and polish to buff down your car after a wash.
  • Remove bird waste from the body of the car as soon as you detect it since chemical compounds in bird waste can damage the paint.
  • Waxing your car after a wash also makes it easier to clean your car of debris the next time around since the dirt cannot stick to a highly polished surface.

 

Tools of the Trade

Without the right tools in your kit, you might find it a little troublesome to look after your beloved vehicle. So here is a small check list of items you might want to keep in your garage:

  • A set of Phillips screwdrivers
  • An offset screwdriver
  • A screw-holder
  • A wrench set with:
  • Combination wrenches
  • Socket wrenches
  • Torque wrenches
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Combination Slip-joint Pliers
  • Gauges
  • Tire pressure gauges
  • Wire and taper feeler gauges
  • Compression gauges
  • Jack Stand
  • Diagnostic Code Reader
  • 12V compact air compressor
  • Spark plug planner

 

Setting Up a Maintenance Schedule

It is of prime importance to set up a schedule for looking after your vehicle. It will allow you to organize your process wherein all the necessary components of the car will be looked after and if necessary, replaced.

Check Frequently Check Every 3000 miles Check Every 6000 miles Check Every 9000 miles Check Every 12000 miles
Engine oil levels Automatic transmission fluids Chassis lubrication Automatic transmission fluids Automatic Transmission Fluid
Windshield washer fluids Battery and cables Wiper blades Battery and cables Battery and Cables
Tyre inflation and condition Belts Automatic transmission fluids Belts Belts
Lights Engine air filters Battery and cables Engine air filters Brakes
Dashboard Indicators Engine oil Belts Exhaust Cabin air filters
  Exhausts Engine air filters Hoses Dashboard indicators
  Hoses Engine oil Lights Chassis lubrication
  Power steering fluids Exhausts Power steering fluids Coolant
    Hoses Tyre inflation and condition Engine Air Filters
    Lights   Engine oil
    Power steering fluids   Hoses
        Power Steering Fluids
        Steering and Suspension
        Exhuasts
        Wheel Alignment 
        Windshield Washer Fluid

 

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