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You don't have to be a pro neither do you have to be very loaded to keep your car in shape
5 Easy Car Care Tricks You Can Do Yourself - Sweet Macaw 5 Easy Car Care Tricks You Can Do Yourself A car is like a second home and a prized possession to many. Just like a home, it’s important to keep your car we
Simple but very effective motoring advise that will save you money and prolong your car's life
Many motorists ignore certain things that would prolong the life of their vehicles.
Here is a list of the top 10 that you shouldn't take lightly if you want more miles onto your car
The dirty spot is gone. You can clean all the seats and door upholstery the same way, working one area at the time. If you don't have a special upholstery cleaner, a regular laundry detergent will work as well: Mix a small amount of the detergent with warm water. Dip a clean cloth into it. Squeeze out well - you want a barely moist cloth. Work harder on dirty areas. When finished, wipe out well with a clean, soft dry cloth.
Rub vigorously. Once the dirty spot is gone, wipe it thoroughly with a dry soft cloth.
There are number of upholstery cleaning agents available. Here I used the Turtle Wax upholstery cleaner, but other products can work as well.
The first step, spray the cleaner evenly on the upholstery.
CLEANING FABRIC SEATS AND UPHOLSTERY
Let's see how we can clean this dirty spot on the rear seat.
Use a soft brush attachment to vacuum the dashboard, center console and the doors. Be careful not to damage k***s, vents and sticking parts. Use the same attachment vacuuming the seats. Leather seats are very easy to damage, be careful no to scratch them with the vacuum hose.
Remove the floor mats. Vacuum the seats and the carpet. Using the proper attachment, reach under the seats, around the pedals and the area between the front seats and the center console. Vacuum floor mats separately.
How to clean car interior
A clean car interior not only looks great, it is also better for your health and health of your passengers.
This 8-year old Acura in the photo belongs to a friend of mine; it has more than 140,000 miles on the odometer; yet with proper care its interior still looks very good, as you can see. It takes about an hour to clean the entire interior thoroughly. Be careful with water inside the car; if water gets into electrical components, it may cause problems. Similarly, don't soak the seats too much and don't let water to get under the carpet; it could cause corrosion, stains and damp mouldy smell. Make sure to dry the interior well after you done.
ENGINE AIR FILTER
The engine air filter keeps the air entering the engine clean, but over time the filter gets dirty and restricts the air flow. The engine air filter is usually recommended to be replaced every 12,000-15,000 miles or 20,000-24,000 km. Typically the air filter gets checked when you bring your car for an oil change. If you want to check it or replaced yourself, on most cars and trucks it's a fairly easy task. Your owner's manual has the directions. If you find that the air filter is dirty, replaced it; it's not a very expensive part. It's best to use an original air filter that you can buy at your local dealership parts department; usually it costs around $20. When you are installing the air filter, make sure it's installed correctly; again, check your owner's manual. If the filter is not installed properly, unfiltered air entering the engine could damage the airflow sensor and increase engine wear.
If the coolant level drops within a short time after topping up, there may be a leak. Have the coolant system checked - lack of coolant may cause the engine to overheat which may result in serious damage.
Add coolant only when the engine is cool. Use only recommended engine coolant. Sometimes engine coolant is sold already premixed with water and sometimes you will have to mix it. Check you owner's manual or read the directions on the coolant bottle. Carefully add the coolant into the overflow tank to make it between "LOW" and "FULL" marks.
ENGINE COOLANT (ANTIFREEZE)
Visually check the engine coolant level in the overflow tank. Your owner's manual has the directions. The level should be between "Low" and "Full" marks. (Don't open the radiator cap or the pressurized overflow tank cap when the engine is hot! The cooling system is under pressure when hot!) If the coolant level is low, you can top it up using recommended type of coolant mixed with water. Again, your owner's manual has the proper way to do it.
How to top up engine oil:
Add a little amount of oil into the oil filler neck. Wait for a minute to let oil to flow into the oil pan. Check the oil level again with the dipstick. If it's still low, add some more. But don't overfill it. Don't forget to install the dipstick back and close the oil filler cap when you finished.
To top up engine oil use a recommended type of oil; for example, if your owner's manual or the oil filler cap indicates SAE 5W-20, use SAE 5W-20 oil. If your engine needs synthetic oil, use only synthetic oil. You can find the recommended oil type for your car in your owner's manual.
Check the oil condition: If it's way too black, as in the left photo, it's definitely time to change it. If it's brown, but still clean and transparent, as in the right photo, it's OK. If engine oil is of the "coffee with milk" color it means that engine coolant mixes with oil. This is a sign of some internal engine problem, such as, for example, a leaking head gasket - have your car checked out.
If oil looks clean, but the level is low, you can just top it up.
The oil level should be between the "Low" and "Full" marks. In this photo the level is OK and oil looks clean.
Wipe the dipstick off. Insert it back fully. Pull it out again and check the oil level.
HOW TO CHECK ENGINE OIL
Check engine oil regularly, especially if you notice that the oil level drops between the oil changes. Engine oil cools down and lubricates the engine. Driving with very low oil level can cause engine problems.
Park your vehicle on a level ground. Set the parking brake. Make sure the transmission is in "Park." Stop the engine. Wait for a minute or two to let engine oil drain into the oil pan. Pull the engine oil dipstick. If you don't know where is it located, check your owner's manual, usually it has a bright handle saying "Engine Oil".
CAR MAINTENANCE BASICS
It's really not that difficult to keep your car in good shape. Here are the basics:
1. Read your car owner's manual, it has all the information on car maintenance as well as safety precautions.
If you don't have one for your car, contact me on this page.
2. Keep all the fluids (e.g. engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, etc.) clean and topped up to the recommended levels
3. Follow your maintenance schedule, there is a number of things that need to be regularly serviced or replaced at certain intervals (e.g. brakes, air filter, timing belt, spark plugs, etc.) I recommend having a diary or journal for your car that you keep in the car instead of the service station log cards
4. Check tire pressure regularly.
5. Change you windshield wipers if they don't clean properly.
6. Wash and wax your vehicle once in a while to keep the car finish shiny and protected from corrosion.
7. Deal with any problems as soon as they arise, before they become more serious and require expensive repairs.
8. Use only original parts.
9. At least once a year have your car check out in a garage
CAR MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
It doesn't take too long to check the basic maintenance items in your car like engine oil, transmission fluid or tires. This generic car maintenance checklist is designed to give you a general idea; as different cars have different requirements. For the correct information on how to maintain your car, as well as safety precautions, refer to your vehicle's owner's manual or you can contact me on this page.
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AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION TEST DRIVE
Use more caution when test-driving someone else's vehicle. Get used to the brake pedal feel, adjust the mirrors, driver's seat and get familiar with all the controls. Proceed to drive only when you are comfortable. One of the indications of a transmission problem is the delayed engagement, when there is a long delay between the moment you shift the shifter into Drive ("D") or Reverse ("R") and the moment the transmission actually engages.
It's easier to note delayed engagement after a car was sitting for a while: With the transmission in Park position, start the engine and wait until the engine rpm has reduced to normal level (650 - 850 rpm).
With your foot holding down the brake pedal, shift to the Drive ("D") position. Almost immediately the transmission should engage; it feels like the car wants to creep forward. This should happen very smoothly, without a strong jerk or clunk.
Shift to "N" (Neutral) and the transmission should disengage. Now, still holding the brakes, shift into Reverse ("R"). Again, the transmission should kick in almost immediately; you should feel the car wants to creep backward. This also should be very smooth, without a jerk or clunk.
Now, still holding the brake pedal down, try to shift from D to R and back to D; there should be no strong jerks or clunks.
If there is a notable long delay (more than 1 seconds) between the moment you shift and the moment the transmission kicks in, such a transmission might be either too worn or has some problem, avoid this car. It's possible that it could be some minor problem with the transmission electronics, but it's better be more cautious than pay for expensive repairs later; you always can find another car.
Similarly, if you feel a strong jerk or clunk while shifting, the car may have a transmission problem, avoid such a car.
Now it's time to test drive the car.
Accelerate gradually in Drive mode to feel the gear shifting; all shifts should be smooth, without hesitations, jerks or slipping.
You should be able to feel when the transmission shifts by the slight change in the engine tone and RPMs. If the transmission shifts with a strong jerk or jolt, shudder or a delay, it probably has a problem and it's better to avoid buying this vehicle.
Driving at low to medium speed, if you accelerate, the transmission should downshift (kickdown) into lower gear.
The next step: if the car has the Overdrive button, check the Overdrive function.
While driving steady at medium speed, turn the Overdrive OFF; you should feel the transmission downshifting into the lower gear. Turn the Overdrive back ON and you should feel the upshifting; normally the Overdrive should be ON.
Another thing that may indicate the transmission problem is the slipping. If the transmission is slipping - that is when you accelerate, the engine rpm increase but the speed remains the same - it means that the transmission is worn or has some electronic or mechanical problem.
Test-drive for as long as possible; sometimes the transmission may work well when it's cold but would start acting up when warmed up or visa versa.
If during a test drive, you feel anything that doesn't feel right with the transmission, maybe it's better to avoid this car. Examples of transmission problem symptoms include slipping, shifting too harsh, jerks or shudder during shifts, delayed shifting, clunks and other noises.
If the "Check Engine" or any other warning light comes on while driving, have the problem assessed with your mechanic before buying a car.
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