By taking care and maintaining your car properly, you can avoid any unnecessary wear and tear of your vehicle, thus increasing the life of the vehicle.
The following is a preventive checklist one must follow after a car has traveled 2,00,000 kilometers to longevity of the vehicle.
1) Check the following Fluids: It is important to maintain the fluid levels in your vehicle in order to keep it running. Different fluids in a car are as follows-
a) Air Conditioning Coolant: Checking your vehicle’s Air conditioning Coolant is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If the air conditioner in your car is no longer blowing cold air, you need to replace the Air conditioning coolant.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Air conditioning Coolant-
Step 1 – Attach Freon Can to Compressor
Using your owner’s manual, find the hoses to the air conditioning compressor in your car. Attach the shorter hose to the can of replacement refrigerant, but make sure not to completely tighten the connector.
Step 2 – Open the Can
Open the valve on the Refrigerant can to release air from the system, and tighten the connection as well as valve.
Step 3 – Draw the Refrigerant into the System
Start the engine and just turn the A/C on high. Holding the Refrigerant can upright, slowly open the valve on the short-end manifold. When the can appears to be close to empty, you need to slowly close the valve again and then carefully remove the can from the hose.
Step 4 – Add More Refrigerant
If you are adding refrigerant to your car for the first time, you might want to work in small steps. Repeat steps one through four as needed till the system is recharged. Otherwise, simply aim to recharge the system at full the first time through.
b) Brake Fluid: Checking your vehicle’s Brake Fluid is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Brake fluid is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
Are you finding yourself pressing the brake pedal all the way or almost all the way to the floor of your car? There could be several reasons for this. The likeliest cause will be low brake fluid.
Are you pressing the brake pedal two or more times for bringing your car to a halt? The reason behind this will be low brake fluid.
Is your dashboard brake light on and is there the tell-tale sign of a brake fluid leak under your car? The spot will most probably be clear to brown and slick. Also, check your owner’s manual to place your brake fluid reservoir under the hood. The Low brake fluid in the reservoir (at or below the “MIN” or “minimum” line) can point out towards braking issues.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Brake fluid-
Car has to be jacked up for access to the bleeder screws. The bleeder screws generally look a lot like an old-fashioned grease fitting.
Once your vehicle is raised up and secured on jack stands, find, but don’t loosen, the brake bleeder screws on each wheel caliper or brake cylinder.
Find the master cylinder to remove the reservoir cap and old brake fluid with a vacuum pump. Then, Refill with new brake fluid.
• Attach the brake bleeder hose to the caliper bleeder screw as far as possible from the master cylinder (in other words, the right rear wheel) and put the other end of the tubing into a jar with about a 1/2″ of clean brake fluid in it. Loosen the bleeder screw and have someone press the brake pedal.
• Stubborn bleeder screws can be broken loose through trying to tighten them slightly first. Bleed until no air bubbles are visible while capturing the used brake fluid into the drain container. Tighten the bleeder screw and repeat this process as many times as necessary until no bubbles appear.
Add fresh brake fluid to the brake fluid reservoir and ensure the master cylinder reservoir never runs dry. Repeat step 4 while working closer to the master cylinder as you go. Refill the reservoir as required each time using only new brake fluid.
• After that, top off the brake fluid reservoir and replace the reservoir cap. Test the brake pedal before you drive the vehicle. You have finally finished a brake fluid change.
• Properly dispose of the used brake fluid at a facility near you.
c) Coolant/Radiator Fluid: Checking your vehicle’s Coolant is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Brake fluid is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
1. Visible Coolant Leak
If you see a puddle on the ground or smell coolant in the car, you’ve discovered a serious sign of a coolant leak that has to be repaired before it causes serious damage to your engine. Look for a tell-tale red, pink, green, or blue puddle under your car or inside of your car, as well as residue on any component of the cooling system.
2. Overheating Engine
When coolant leaks, air will be taking its place. Because air is compressible, the boiling point will lower which will allow some of the coolant to flash into steam. Air and steam are great insulators and will help to prevent the cooling system from expelling excess heat. If the temperature gauge is heading toward the red zone or you see a temperature warning light, you might have a coolant leak, even if you can’t see it.
3. White Smoke
If you see white smoke in the exhaust, even after warming up the vehicle, this might indicate an internal engine leak, perhaps a cracked block or cylinder head or head gasket failure. Under pressure, coolant might be forced into the cylinder, flashing to steam every time the cylinder fires.
4. Bubbling Radiator
Bubbles in the radiator or in the coolant overflow tank signal that combustion gases are being forced into the cooling system. This is a sign of a coolant leak, but might also be a result of cracks in the engine, head, or head gasket.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Coolant-
Start by buying the type of coolant listed in your owner’s manual for your car. If your manual calls for an “extended life” coolant that isn’t available at the auto parts store, purchase it from the dealer. Don’t purchase a “universal” coolant. Using the wrong coolant can lead to premature component failure and void your warranty.
Raise and make sure to safely support the front end of your car on jack stands. Place a large drain pan below the radiator and remove the radiator cap. If your radiator is not having a cap, remove the pressure cap from the coolant tank. Then open the drain cock and just drain the radiator.
Drain cocks come in different styles—screw threads, quarter-turn twist, and quarter turn and pull. Plastic drain cocks become brittle with age and can easily break, especially when you try to unscrew a quarter-turn twist style. So, buy a replacement drain cock before you begin the job
Then, remove the lower radiator hose clamp and hose from the engine for draining the rest of the coolant. Use slip-joint pliers to remove spring-style clamps. If you have trouble accessing or releasing the clamps with a plier, buy a hose clamp plier. Reconnect and clamp the radiator hose and then reinstall the drain cock after draining.
Follow the coolant manufacturer’s directions to dilute concentrated coolant. Mix the coolant and water it thoroughly in a clean bucket. To prevent mineral deposits on internal engine and radiator surfaces, always make sure to use distilled water—never tap water. Leave the car raised while you are refilling the radiator to reduce the possibility of air pockets forming in the engine.
Slowly start filling the radiator or coolant tank with fresh coolant. Make sure the coolant is below the neck of the radiator or a few inches below of the full mark on the coolant tank. Start the engine and let it run. After the engine is warm, you’ll see the coolant level quickly drop in the radiator/coolant tank. That means the thermostat has opened up and it’s time to add more coolant to bring the level till the top of the radiator, or to the “HOT” mark on the coolant tank. Check your owner’s manual or service manual to see if your car needs a special air bleeding procedure. Inspect for leaks, shut off the engine, install the cap, lower the car and then, go for a spin.
d) Power Steering Fluid: Checking your vehicle’s Power Steering Fluid is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Power Steering Fluid is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
1. Noisy Steering
If your power steering is making all kinds of noise, especially when you are moving slowly, like in a parking lot, just check the fluid level in the power steering reservoir.
2. Jerky or Jumpy Power Steering
Sometimes your steering wheel might feel jerky as you try to turn it smoothly from one direction to the other. This will be most noticeable in the parking lot while moving slowly or not at all.
3. Hard to Turn the Steering Wheel
As power steering systems lose fluid, they start to work less efficiently. Eventually, you’ll start to feel the difference on the steering wheel end, which will make it much harder to turn the wheel than it normally is.
4. Screeching Steering
If it sounds like cat fighting (or cats mating) under your hood whenever you turn the steering wheel, you might need to check your power steering fluid.
5. Puddle or Stains Under the Vehicle
If you notice a puddle under the vehicle in your usual parking spot, it could very well be the power steering fluid. Although any number of liquids might be the culprit, power steering fluid is a prime candidate.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Power Steering Fluid-
Check your owner’s manual or repair manual for the fluid’s specifics. You need to use a power steering fluid or automatic transmission fluid (ATF) that is meeting the manufacturer specifications.
• Then, find the power steering fluid reservoir or power steering pump, located with the engine accessories. Look for a cap having a steering wheel symbol or reads something like “Power Steering Fluid Only” and remove the cap.
• Use a jack to lift the front of the vehicle till the front wheels are off the ground. Put jack stands underneath the vehicle.
Wearing gloves, just siphon the fluid out of the reservoir to your catch can using a fluid transfer pump or turkey baster.
Once the fluid level in the reservoir is too low for effective siphon, get in the vehicle and turn the key to accessories. This helps the steering wheel in turning but does not activate the steering pump. Turn the wheel lock to lock (all the way left, then all the way right), and the pump will help to push more dirty fluid into the reservoir. Siphon it out to the catch can.
Repeat Step 5 until there is no fluid left to be removed. Use shop towels for cleaning up any drips.
Optional: For a complete drain (a power steering fluid flush), get under the vehicle and start looking for a rubber hose connected to the power steering pump. Use pliers for removing the clamp, pull down the hose and let the rest of the fluid drain into your catch can. This can get messy, so make sure to have the towels nearby.
Put the funnel into the power steering reservoir neck.
Put in the power steering fluid. Use only as much as the owner’s manual recommends, and ensure not to overfill, as it will leak out while driving. Optional: Add the recommended amount of power steering conditioner/stop leak. This extra step makes sure of quiet pump operation.
Put the back cap on and turn the key to accessories. Turn the wheel lock to lock once again. Check the fluid and add as much fuel as required. You might able to see bubbles here. It is just the air in the system which is coming out. It’s a good sign; unlike brake fluid, power-steering lines will not have to be bled to purge air bubbles.
Remove jack stands and set the vehicle on its tires.
Start the engine and run it for about 15 seconds, again turning lock to lock. Check the fluid level to make sure air has bled from the system.
With the reservoir full, go for a five-minute drive around a few blocks, take several turns and listen for power steering pump whine. Check the fluid one last time. If it’s at the “Full Hot” line on the dipstick, you are good to go. Just remember to check for leaks in the next day or two.
e) Transmission Fluid: Checking your vehicle’s Transmission Fluid is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to check your vehicle’s Transmission Fluid-
Step 1- Open the hood of your vehicle and find the transmission fluid dipstick.
Check your owner’s manual for determining if the vehicle needs to be running or off for accurately measuring the transmission fluid.
Step 2- Pull the dipstick out with the handle and wipe any oil residue off the stick. Re-dip the stick till it’s fully seated, and pull out to see the oil level.
Wiping it makes sure you’re measuring the accurate oil level and not any residue that might falsely indicate higher levels.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Transmission Fluid-
Step 1- Use a car floor jack for raising the vehicle off the ground using the manufacturers’ recommended lift points to avoid damaging the undercarriage.
While using a jack, exercise caution to ensure no accidents take place. Always secure the vehicle with jack stands, ramps or with cribs. We recommend installing wheel chocks to the opposite end being lifted for preventing the vehicle from rolling.
Step 2- Place a container or drip pan under the transmission oil pan for catching the old oil.
• Before draining the fluid, ensure the transmission is at normal operating temperature. Also, ensure there’s a fill spout for the new fluid; some newer transmissions can do away with traditional fill methods.
• Loosen the pan bolts to allow for draining. Once it becomes loose, the fluid will immediately gush out; the fluid might be hot, so use caution.
Tip to help keep things clean: Removing all but the last four bolts at the back of the pan helps fluid to drain with minimal splatter.
Step 3- Replace the transmission pan gasket as well as the filter.
• Ensure the transmission pan and transmission mating surfaces are clean, and that the old filter grommet and transmission pan gasket are removed before installing the new parts.
• Once completely drained, and with the new filter and gasket in place, just tighten the transmission pan bolts.
Step 4- For filling the new fluid, open the hood and pull out the automatic transmission fluid dipstick. Insert a funnel. After that, pour the new transmission fluid through the funnel.
• Check your owner’s manual for the recommended type as well as quantity of transmission fluid.
• Pull the funnel out and reinstall the dipstick and close the hood.
• Check the oil level to ensure it’s in the right operating range, which will be indicated on the stick. If it’s low, just top off with the manufacturer’s recommended oil.
• While checking the fluid, also check the condition of the fluid. If it’s old, the fluid tends to get darker, and in some cases, you can also smell a burnt odor; the latter might suggest the transmission could use service. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommended fluid change intervals which are found in the owner’s manual.
f) Windshield Washer Fluid: Checking your vehicle’s Windshield Washer Fluid is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your windshield washer jets don’t spray anything when you are engaging them or the low washer fluid light comes on in your vehicle, it is likely time for refilling the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
All these fluids work together to keep your car efficiently running.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Windshield Washer Fluid-
A) Locating the Washer Fluid Reservoir
Step 1- The windshield washer fluid reservoir.
• The windshield washer fluid reservoir might be located in a number of places depending on the year, make and model of your vehicle. It is generally mounted along the side of the engine bay and can be found near the windshield along with the firewall.
• The windshield washer fluid reservoir will be marked with the help of a symbol that looks like a windshield with wipers moving.
• If you are unable to find the reservoir, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance.
Step 2- Identify the low and full lines on the reservoir.
• Once you find the reservoir, identify the low and high fill lines along the side. Most windshield washer fluid reservoirs are made of translucent plastic with lines which are along the side that indicate how full with fluid the reservoir is. Verify that the reservoir is indeed low on fluid before you add more.
• If the windshield washer fluid reservoir is full but will not spray, it could be because of clogged lines.
• If the low washer fluid light came on in your car but the reservoir is full, it might be due to a faulty sensor.
Step 3- Open the cap and set it aside.
• Twist the cap counter-clockwise in order to unscrew it and lift it off from the reservoir. Set the cap aside someplace safe and make sure you don’t put it down in dirt or debris so nothing accidentally falls into the fluid when you return the cap.
• Dirt and debris can cause clogging in the windshield washer lines.
• Ensure the cap is not damaged. If it cannot be closed back onto the reservoir properly, the cap needs to be replaced.
B) Filling the Windshield Washer Fluid Reservoir
• Utilize a funnel or the spout on the windshield washer fluid bottle to pour fluid into the reservoir until it reaches the “full” line on the side. Wipe up any spilled washer fluid with the help of paper towels or a rag.
• You would be able to see through the side of the reservoir to know when it is full.
Step 2- Avoid overfilling the reservoir.
• As fluid can expand when heated, it’s important that you do not overfill the reservoir. When the fluid warms due to the high engine temperatures under the hood, the pressure could result in the reservoir to crack and leak if there is too much fluid in it.
• Use a turkey baster for sucking extra fluid back out of the reservoir in the event you overfill it.
Step 3- Screw the cap back into place.
• With the reservoir filled with washer fluid, just pick the cap up from where you stored it. Use a rag or paper towels for wiping the cap down to ensure there is no dirt or debris stuck to it.
• Screw the cap back into place. With the reservoir filled with washer fluid, just pick the cap up from where you stored it. Use a rag or paper towels for wiping the cap down to ensure there is no dirt or debris stuck to it.
• Turn the cap clockwise for re-securing it on the reservoir.
• If the cap is damaged, you need to buy one.
• Get back into the vehicle and put the key into the ignition. Start the engine and engage the washer fluid in the manner you normally would ensure it is working properly.
• Most windshield washer fluid jets are activated through pressing or pulling the windshield wiper controls.
• If you are unsure how to activate your windshield wiper fluid jets, you can refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
C) Choosing Your Fluid and How to Add It
Step 1- Choose a type of windshield washer fluid.
• In order to be effective, it’s crucial that you are not using only water in your windshield washer fluid. Regular windshield washer fluid is made to prevent streaking and not to freeze if the temperature gets too cold. However, if you live in an area that frequently experiences extremely low temperatures, an anti-freezing washer fluid might be your best bet.
• Anti-freezing washer fluid can help in defrosting your windshield when a light layer of ice forms on it on cold mornings.
• Other windshield washer fluids can have chemicals that makes water bead off of the glass, allowing for increased visibility when driving in the rain.
Step 2- Mix concentrated fluid with water.
• If you choose to buy a concentrated windshield washer fluid, you will need to mix it with water before adding it to the vehicle. Like anti-freeze, concentrated windshield washer fluid can generally be mixed with water at a 50/50 ratio.
• A 50/50 ratio of water to fluid means half water and half fluid.
• Follow the directions which are provided on the specific brand of concentrated washer fluid you purchase.
• In order to get an accurate understanding of how much washer fluid is still in your vehicle, as well as how much you have added, it’s crucial that the reservoir sits level. In order to do so, park the vehicle on an even and flat surface.
• Parking at an angle, for instance, on a hill will make it difficult to read how much fluid is in the reservoir.
Step 4- Open the hood.
• To open the hood of your vehicle, find the release near the door frame on the driver’s side. The release is generally labeled with a small symbol that represents the front of the vehicle with the hood open. Pull the release towards you in order to disengage the hood latch. Once out of the car, you will have to release the safety latch as well.
• Release the safety latch through pressing on the lever beneath the hood or through the grill at the front of the vehicle.
• If you are not sure where to locate the release, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance.
2) Check Engine Oil: Checking your vehicle’s engine oil is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to check your vehicle’s engine oil-
Look for a rag or a scrap of old fabric to use when checking your oil. An old t-shirt can work.
Check owner’s manual. If you are extremely unfamiliar with what is under the hood of your vehicle, you need to find a detailed description of where your dip stick is located in your owner’s manual.
It is best to check your oil when it is warm. A great time to check your oil is after a drive around your neighborhood.
Make sure that you turn your vehicle off before beginning the process of oil check.
Pop the vehicle’s hood. Pull the handle found on the inside of your vehicle, usually on the side of the driver side door, and the press the lever located underneath the center of the hood. Ensure that the hood of your car is securely propped.
Locate the vehicle’s dip stick. On most models, the dip stick is found on the left side of the engine. The dip stick mostly has a yellow or orange circular handle. When you pull this particular handle, a long piece of metal will slide out of the engine.
Generally, the cap of the dip stick is yellow.
Once you find and remove the dip stick, clean it with your rag and slide it back in. Ensure that the dip stick is inserted all the way back in.
• After that, remove the dip stick one more time. Look at the end part of the dip stick. Some models will have a line marked “full” while others will have a textured area that shows the capacity of the oil pan. The oil will appear amber in color. It should be fairly easy to discern the oil level just by looking at the dip stick.
• The low level of oil can lead to serious engine damage.
If the dip stick indicates that the oil level is normal, then re-insert it.
If the dip stick indicates that the oil level is low, touch the end of the dip stick with two fingers and try to feel the texture of the oil. If the oil is clean, you can add new oil with a funnel. If the oil is gritty, it is important to have your oil changed as soon as possible.
The oil in the picture looks black and gritty, it’s about the time to change it.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Engine Oil-
A) Jacking up the Vehicle
Leave the car idle for 5-10 mins to get the oil warm. Be sure to exercise caution when draining warm or hot oil.
Exit the vehicle.
Tire restraints (wheel blocks) have to be placed on the tires that will remain on the ground.
If you are not sure, check the owner’s manual for specifics.
You will only have to do this on one side.
Put jack stands on jacking points.
Put force by rocking the vehicle to assure it is safe.
Let the car sit for at least 10 mins to cool down. Be careful as engine/exhaust could be hot.
B) Draining the Oil
Step 1- Gather your supplies.
You will be needing the appropriate oil filter as well as a new clean oil for your vehicle.
Open the hood and find the oil cap on top of the engine.
• Under your car, you will find a flat metal pan closer to the engine than the transmission.
• Find the engine drain plug.
• Verify it is the engine oil drain plug and not the transmission drain plug. If you are not sure which is which, look for the exhaust. The exhaust and the tube that travels from the front of the vehicle to the back is always attached to the engine. The oil pan and drain plug will be found below the engine.
Loosen the plug counter-clockwise with the proper sized socket or a crescent wrench if you have room to maneuver. You also need to remove and replace a paper or felt drain plug gasket. A metal washer can be used again if it is in good condition.
It will take some time for all the oil to drain out of the car. When the oil has ceased running out of the crankcase, you need to replace the plug. Put the new washer in the drain plug and inspect and clean 3 areas: drain, plug, and gasket. Place the new gasket on the drain plug.
C) Replacing the Oil Filter
Step 1- Locate the filter assembly.
• Filters are not placed in a standard position, so they can be on the front, back or side of the engine depending on the model.
• Look at the replacement filter you purchased in order to have some idea of what to look for. Usually, they’re white, blue, or black cylinders about 4–6 inches (10.2–15.2 cm) long and 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide, like a soup can.
• Some vehicles such as BMW, Mercedes, and newer Volvos might have a filter element or cartridge as opposed to the simpler spin-on type. They need you to open the cap of a built-in reservoir and lift out the filter element itself.
• First, try to get a good grip and twist slowly and steadily, counter-clockwise with your hand. If you are unable to remove the filter with your hand, you will need an oil filter removal tool to do this. Ensure the drain pan is underneath the filter before fully removing the filter. This will help to prevent spillage.
• In order to avoid spilling too much oil as you remove the filter, you can wrap a plastic bag around the filter. This will catch any oil that escapes as you remove it. Let it sit upside down in the bag to drain as you finish the job.
• Ensure the pan is still under the car catching the spilling oil. You will some of it trapped in the filter that will come out when you unscrew it.
• Dip the tip of your finger in the new oil and smear it on the gasket ring of the new filter. This will lubricate the gasket and create a good seal for the new filter, and make sure that you’ll be able to get it off the next time.
• You can also pour a tiny volume of oil into the filter prior to installing it. This will decrease the amount of time your car takes to regain proper oil pressure. If your filter is mounted vertically, you might be able to fill it almost to the top. If it is mounted at an angle then a small amount of oil will spill just prior to spinning the filter on.
You need to tighten the filter until the gasket touches, then a quarter-turn more.
D) Inserting New Oil
• The amount that you need to add is in the owner’s manual, usually listed under “capacities.”
• If you hold the bottle with the spout on top, it will pour more smoothly and without making bubbles.
• Ensure you’re adding the correct oil. Usually, you can safely add 10W-30 to most cars in a pinch, but you should consult your owner’s manual before adding oil.
• Don’t always rely upon the dipstick for an accurate measurement; it can be off, especially if the engine has just been run (the stick will read low because there is still oil in the galleries). If you want to check the stick accurately, you can check it in the morning, parked on a level surface, when it’s cold and settled.
• Check the area for any loose tools you might have left around and close the hood.
• Look under the car to ensure nothing is leaking. It’s a good idea to wipe up any spills that you can find. While it’s not dangerous to get a little oil on the crankcase as you’re pouring, it might smoke as the engine heats up. This will lead to that burning oil smell that can momentarily be frightening. It can also lead to bad smell from your interior.
Watch to make sure the oil pressure light goes off after start-up. Put your car in park or neutral with the parking brake on to look for any leaks or drips. If the filter and drain plug aren’t tight, they might leak slowly. Run the engine for a minute in order to get the pressure up and ensure you’ve installed everything correctly.
Optional: Reset the oil change light. This will differ according to the make and model of your car, so you should consult the owner’s manual in order to figure out the specific set of steps. On most GM cars, for instance, you’ll have to shut the car off and then turn the ignition on without turning the car over. After this, pump the gas pedal three times in ten seconds. When you start the car back up, the lights need to be reset.
Once the vehicle has been turned off again and the oil has settled for 5 to 10 minutes, just re-check the dipstick to ensure that the levels are where they need to be.
E) Disposing of Oil
Step 1- Transfer the oil to a sealing container.
• Now that you’ve changed your oil, you need to get the sludgy gunk into a more permanent container. Adding it to the new container that has just been emptied is the safest bet. Use a plastic funnel in the bottle and pour slowly to make sure you don’t spill any. Clearly, mark the bottle “used oil” so you don’t mistake it for the real one.
• Other options will include old milk jugs, windshield washer-fluid jugs, or other plastic bottles. Be careful whenever you’re using old food bottles to clearly mark it.
• Don’t put old oil in containers that contain chemicals like bleach, pesticides, paint, or antifreeze. These will contaminate the process of recycling.
Step 2- Ensure your oil filter is drained.
You can insert this oil (sometimes as much as 8 oz.) to the old oil. Filters are also recyclable, so you need to hang onto them.
Step 3- Find a designated collection site in your area.
Usually, all places that sell motor oil will have this information on hand. Retailers that sell more than 1,000 filters in a year need to accept old filters. Many service stations that do oil changes can also take your used oil, sometimes for a small fee.
Step 4- Try recycled oil next time.
Used motor oil is refined until and unless it meets the same certifications and specifications of virgin oil. The process requires less energy than pumping and refining new oil and recycling motor oil helps to reduce the requirement of imported oil. Sometimes, recycled oil also costs less than “new” oil.
3) Change Car Brake Pads: Changing your vehicle’s Brake Pads is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Brake Pad-
Step 1- Safely lift your car on a flat surface
• A driveway or garage with a concrete floor is common.
• With the help of a floor jack and jack stands lift, support your vehicle with chassis, or on a uni-body chassis and choose the manufacturer’s recommended location (typically on the pinch weld)
• Make sure to try and rock your vehicle once it’s supported by jack stands—if you can move it, you need to re-position the stands
• Pro Tip: Just before lifting your car, just loosen the lug nuts a turn or so (do not remove them). This will make it easier to unscrew the lugs whenever your car is safely on stands
Step 2- Loosen & remove the lug nuts and wheels
• Spin each lug nut off with the help of your fingers, a star wrench or go NASCAR style with an impact wrench
• Pull each wheel off from the vehicle
• Pro Tip: If you’ve got a truck with big tires, watch your toes whenever you remove the wheels as they’re heavy
Step 3- Inspect your brake rotors
If they look smooth, you can proceed. If you see deep grooves or a rough surface, you should consider new rotors too. Now is also a good time for inspecting your CV shafts for torn boots on independent suspension vehicles since you’ll have easy viewing access.
Step 4- Remove the caliper hold-down bolts or pins
Once the bolts or pins have been removed, you will be able to slide the caliper and brake pads away from the rotor
Step 5- Compress the caliper piston and remove the brake pads
• Before compressing the caliper, just check your brake fluid reservoir and make sure it doesn’t overflow when the fluid level starts to rise. Fluid can be removed with the help of a syringe, baster, or simply dipping in a clean towel if necessary.
• Use a caliper compressor or a large C-clamp and squeeze or push the caliper pistons back into their bores. This will allow the appropriate room for the new, thicker brake pads to fit in a proper manner. Some people leave the old pads in place while compressing. On the other hand, others choose to remove them. If you have enough room, it can be beneficial to leave the old pads inside so that they protect the pistons and provide even surface area to apply pressure to.
• Remove your old brake pads. They’ll come out easily with a hand or with a small pry bar or flat head screwdriver.
• Clean the brake caliper areas where the brake pad makes direct contact and a small wire brush works well.
• Pro Tip: If you are having any trouble compressing the caliper pistons, you can loosen the brake bleeder screw on the back of the caliper, just enough in order to see a slight leakage. This will only make it easier to compress the piston. Close the bleeder once the piston is compressed.
Step 6- Mount your new brake pads inside of the brake caliper
• Apply anti-seize or brake component lubricant on the sides of the pads. This will help the brake pads to slide easily as the pad surface wears over time. You have to apply a thin layer of anti-squeal paste to the pad backing where the pistons contact and caliper make direct contact with the backing. This will reduce the likeliness of the pad oscillating under braking which will reduce or eliminate unwanted brake noise.
• Slide or clip the pads into caliper and be careful to touch the pad’s friction surface as little as possible.
Step 7- Grease your braking system
• Apply a light coating of high-temperature brake grease to caliper guide pins and any part of the caliper that is sliding against bare metal. Shiny spots in the caliper’s body are friction points, lubricate them. This will prevent squeaks & squeals that are caused by high-frequency vibration and will allow your brakes to wear evenly
• Keep the friction side of the brake pads or rotors as clean as it is possible to. If you get some grease on the rotor, you can easily clean it off with the help of a brake cleaner.
Step 8- Reinstall the caliper assembly
• Slide the brake caliper as well as the pad combo over the rotor. If it doesn’t slide over easily, the pistons in the caliper have to be pushed in further which will gain more clearance to clear the rotor.
• Fasten the caliper in place with the same hold-down bolts or pins that you previously removed if they’re in good shape. If they’re not, just install new bolts or pins
Step 9- Bleed your brakes
Your braking system functions at its best with no air in its lines. If you have opened the bleeder screws to compress the caliper pistons, air could have entered in it which is best to bleed those particular calipers. If you never cracked a bleeder screw, it is not entirely important to bleed the system.
Step 10- Put your wheels back on and hit the road
• Put each wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts with hands until they’re snug.
• Use the floor jack to slightly raise the vehicle and to remove the jack stands that are under it.
• Then, carefully lower your car onto its wheels.
• Using a torque wrench, tighten each lug nut to the specification in the pattern of a star.
• Follow the brake bed-in procedure that came with your pads.
• Enjoy your new brake pads
4) Change Spark Plugs: Changing your vehicle’s Spark Plugs is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Spark Plugs-
Once you’ve gathered all of the tools you require, as well as the correct spark plugs for your car and spark plug wires (if necessary), you might want to drape an old blanket or towel over the fenders of your car so that you won’t mar the paint as you lean into the engine bay. It’s also a good idea to disconnect the positive terminal on your car battery when working on anything electrical.
Pro Tip: Make sure to let your car’s engine cool thoroughly before replacing your spark plugs, and keep all the flammable blankets, towels, or shop cloths away from any surfaces that may still be warm. This will also ensure the new spark plugs are tightened properly (heat expands the engine threads and limits torque).
• Properly clean the area around your spark plugs. Once you remove the spark plug, you’ll have an open hole going directly into the inside of your engine, and any dirt or debris around the spark plug can fall straight in and cause serious wear or damage to your engine which is something that should be avoided, for obvious reasons.
• You can utilize compressed air to blow the area clean, and/or a cleaner/degreaser spray and shop towels to loosen and remove any gunk around the spark plug. Make sure to wear eye protection if you’ll be using compressed air or a spray cleaner.
• Once you have the area around each spark plug clear of any oil, dirt, or other debris, you need to start the actual replacement process.
Keep everything in order through removing a single spark plug wire from one spark plug at a time. This stops you from reconnecting the wrong wire to the wrong plug when it’s time to button everything back up.
• Once you’ve removed the first spark plug wire, fit the required combination of extensions and swivels to the spark-plug socket to comfortably fit the tool to the spark plug.
• Turn the spark plug anti-clockwise until it comes free.
• Even though you cleaned around the spark plug thoroughly before beginning, make sure you don’t knock any previously unseen debris into the now-open hole into your engine interior.
• Once the spark plug is out, take the new spark plug and utilize the spark plug gap tool to check that there is a proper gap between the outer (hook-shaped) ground electrode and the center electrode. Most modern spark plugs are properly gapped from the factory but shipping and handling cause small but crucial gap being tweaked, so it’s always good to ensure the gap is correct before installing.
• If any adjustment is needed, gently open or close the gap until and unless the tool just fits at the correct gap (which should be specified in your owner’s manual).
• With the gap verified, carefully insert the plug into the open hole with your hands. If your spark plug isn’t factory treated with anti-seize, you can also rub a small drop of anti-seize lubricant on the spark plug thread so it doesn’t lock up from the heat. Gently start screwing the plugin with a clockwise rotation, making sure the threads are properly mated.
• Once the spark plug is carefully started into the threads, just continue tightening the plug down with the spark plug socket and ratchet/extension combination. Make sure you don’t over-tighten your spark plugs. Just tighten it down until and unless the spark plug washer is firmly in contact with the shoulder of the threaded hole and the washer is slightly compressed.
Pro Tip: Make sure to avoid cross-threading the spark plug when re-installing, as any damage to the spark-plug threads could lead to costly repairs of your car’s cylinder head.
With the spark plug securely re-installed, just reattach the plug wire by twisting slightly as you push the boot back down onto the exposed tip of the plug until you hear and feel a firm click. This means you’ve properly seated the plug wire. You can put a drop of dielectric grease inside the plug boot for proper heat dissipation.
• Repeat the process in Steps 2-7 for all of your remaining spark plugs until you’ve replaced them all. If you’re also replacing your spark plug wires, go back and do each one in the exact same order and one at a time.
• You’ll notice that the spark plug wires vary in length in accordance to their proper installation position, so make sure to match each wire up to the existing wire before removing the old one and replacing with the new wire. Repeat this until and unless all the wires are replaced.
• Make sure to mark down the car’s current mileage in order to know when you need to change your spark plugs again.
5) Change Car Brake Disc: Changing your vehicle’s Brake Disc is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Brake Disc-
Loosen the nuts on the wheels of your vehicle before jacking it up off the ground. It can be highly dangerous once you have raised the car off the ground.
Once the car is safely raised using the jack, take out all the wheels. You will need to do this to have proper access to the brake discs.
If the discs are held on with the help of callipers, then you need to remove them from the bracket. The calliper might be bolted on because of which you will have to take off the bolt first.
Once you have removed the calliper, ensure to hang it out of the way so that it doesn’t obstruct your access to the discs.
Once the calliper is removed, the next step is to take off the fixture that was holding the calliper into its position. This is known as the carrier. It should only be held in place through two or three bolts which make it very easy to remove. Ensure that you keep hold of the bolts though; they will be required when it comes to putting everything back together.
• Once the calliper and carrier are out of your way, you will have proper access to the brake disc and will be able to remove the old one. You need to find that there are a couple of set screws which hold it in place from the front.
• These have a habit of working themselves quite tight, so be prepared to put in some elbow grease to get them loose. In extreme cases, where the screws have become damaged in some way, you might need to drill them out. Try to avoid this if at all possible as it will only cause you more problems.
Once you have managed to take off these (sometimes stubborn) screws, you can slide the old disc from its position. If it doesn’t shift easily then it might be a good idea to give it a couple of taps with a hammer to get it moving.
Then it is just a case of carrying out all of the previous steps in the reverse order. Slide the new brake disc onto the hub and screw it back on again. If you are planning to utilize the same screws which were holding the old brake disc in place, ensure that you inspect them thoroughly. If they look even slightly worn then you should probably replace them, otherwise, you could end up with a lot of problems.
Bolt the calliper back into its place and replace the wheel carefully.
Repeat all of these steps for all of the discs that you need to replace. It will probably only be for the front two.
Finally, test your brakes. When it is safe to do so, drive a short distance and ensure that the brakes are working as they should be.
6) Change Wipers: Changing your vehicle’s Wipers is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Wiper-
Replacing the wiper blades
- Flathead screwdriver
- Wipers specific to your vehicle
Step 1- Gather the materials.
• Before attempting to replace the wiper blades, it is crucial to have everything to make the job go quickly and easily. This will be a simple repair that requires very little prep, tools, or parts.
• Ensure that you purchase the wipers that are specific to your vehicle. Some cars need a different wiper size on the passenger side than on the driver side.
• A flathead screwdriver will be helpful if you have to do some extra prying at some point in the replacement process.
Step 2: Prepare your vehicle.
Park your vehicle and just turn off the ignition.
Step 3: Access the wipers.
Lift the wipers away from the windshield for gaining better access.
Step 4: Locate the wiper arm adaptor.
Locate the small locking tab on the wiper adaptor. This is where the wiper is connecting to the wiper arm.
Step 5: Remove the wiper blade from the arm.
• Press on the locking tab and just pull the wiper blade from the wiper arm. On some vehicles, you need to push down on the blade, and on others, you need to pull up on it.
• If necessary, you can use your flathead screwdriver for prying the blade from the arm, but take care not to damage the locking mechanism.
Step 6: Prepare the new wiper.
Remove the new wiper from its packaging and then match it to the old wiper.
Tip: Most new wipers will be coming with a pack of mounting adaptors. Find the adaptor that matches the one that was on the old blade and just place it on the new blade.
Step 7: Install the new wiper.
• Similar to the removal of the old wiper blade, find the wiper arm adaptor and lock the new blade into the wiper arm.
• When it is properly in place it will make a snapping sound which indicates that the locking tab has locked it in place.
• Return the wiper to its normal operating position against the windshield.
Step 8: Test the wipers.
• Turn on the wipers to ensure that they function properly and do not come off.
• Many new vehicles have advanced wiper systems. These systems need that extra care and steps be taken when replacing the windshield wipers.
• They have wipers that can adjust their position on the windshield over time. As the wipers wear out, the computer adjusts the placement of the wipers to keep them from wearing marks on the glass. Vehicles that have wiper systems such as these require that the computer be reprogrammed after replacing the wiper blades.
7) Check and Change the following vehicle’s Suspension Parts:
a) Shock Absorber: Checking and Changing your vehicle’s Shock Absorber is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Shock Absorber is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
1. Fluid Leaks
Leaks are generally the earliest indicators of a problem. If the seals surrounding the shock’s shaft start to leak, the fluid will run down the side of the shock towards the ground. If you notice any fluid leak from the shocks or struts, you should check to see if the bodies are dented (or otherwise physically damaged), and examine the bushings for corrosion or other damaged.
2. Tire Wear
A worn shock is unable to keep the tire firm on the surface of the road. The part of the tire that is coming in contact with the road will wear but the part of the tire that is not in contact with the road will not, leading to uneven tire wear. If your tires are unevenly worn or are showing abnormal flat areas, you need to investigate the cause.
3. Excessive Bouncing
If you drive over a big bump, pothole, or a patch of rough road and your vehicle still continues to bounce, your car might need a shock or strut replacement.
4. Front Nose Diving
If the front end of your vehicle (otherwise known as the nose of your car) dives towards the ground when braking, your shocks and struts have to be replaced or at least evaluated.
You might also feel that it takes extra time for the vehicle to stop. This happens when the shock is struggling to take up all the piston rod length and, in turn, extending the stopping distance required to come to a complete stop.
5. Rear Squatting
Another common sign that your shocks or struts are in need of service is if the rear end of your vehicle “squats” towards the ground as you accelerate. Additionally, if you make a turn and the vehicle is dipping drastically to one side, your shocks or struts might need to be replaced.
6. Instability at High Speeds
And as it wears, the suspension might not perform as well as it originally did. You might notice less control when steering, that the car wanders slightly from side to side, increased bouncing, or “nose-diving” when braking. All of these symptoms indicate a serious problem.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Shock Absorber-
A) Lifting and supporting your vehicle
- Floor Jack
- Jack stands
- Replacement shock absorber
- Wheel Chocks
- Wheel blocks
- Wrenches (box/open-end)
Step 1- Chock the wheels.
Put wheel chocks and blocks in front and behind at least one tire at the opposite end of the vehicle from where you are working.
Step 2- Raise the vehicle.
Jack the vehicle up from the appropriate jacking points or from a strong frame/uni-body location.
Note: Make sure the floor jack and jack stands are of the correct lifting capacity for your vehicle. See your vehicle’s VIN tag for the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) if you are not sure.
Step 3- Place the jack stands.
• Just like jacking the vehicle up, place the jack stands at a strong chassis point to support the vehicle. Once placed, then slowly lower the vehicle onto the stands.
• Move the floor jack for supporting the suspension under each corner as you’re replacing the shocks because the suspension will drop down a bit when you remove the shock.
B) Remove and install shocks
• Replacing front, as well as rear shocks, are pretty much the same process with a couple of exceptions. Access to the lower shock bolts is usually from under the vehicle. The top bolts for the front shocks can mostly be accessed under the hood. Rear shocks can be accessed from the under the vehicles.
• With others, the top mounts are sometimes accessed from inside the vehicle in areas like the rear parcel shelf or in the trunk. Verify your shock mounting points before starting.
Step 1- Remove the upper shock bolt.
Removing the upper shock bolt first makes it easier in sliding the shock out from the bottom.
Step 2- Remove the lower shock bolt.
By removing the upper shock bolt first, you can now lower the shock out of the bottom of the vehicle. Otherwise, it would drop out if you just remove the bottom bolt before the top.
Step 3- Install the new shock.
From under the vehicle, you need to push the upper part of the shock into its upper mount. Have someone to help you secure the shock bolt into the upper mount as you are pushing it up.
Tip: The shocks are usually packaged in the compressed position, held by a plastic strap. The gas charge in the shocks can make them difficult to compress through the hand. Leaving that strap in place till you secure the upper mount usually makes installation easier. Cut it off once you have secured the top shock bolt.
Step 4- Install the lower shock bolt.
Once you have aligned the shock to the suspension mounting, you need to secure the lower shock bolt.
Note: If you are replacing all four shocks, there’s no order that you need to follow. Change the front first or rear first if you want to. Jacking and supporting the vehicle is the same, whether at front or rear. But always replace them in the form of pairs.
b) Suspension Bushings: Checking and Changing your vehicle’s Suspension Bushings is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Suspension Bushings is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
1. Metal wear down
Some car parts that are made of metals as well as worn down suspension bushes can result in metal-to-metal contact of suspension parts. This contact can cause stress to these parts and cause them to wear down too. The parts that can be damaged tend to be more expensive and harder to replace than the suspension bushes, which is why it is so important to replace them as soon as you realize they are worn out.
2. Lack of control in steering
When the bushings are worn out, drivers might experience a lack of control in steering, as well as a bumpy ride. Controlling and breaking is an important part of any vehicle, and so suspension bushes need to be working to maximum efficiency. “When bushings wear out, the driver might feel funny noises from the front of the vehicle or hear clunking or rattling noises on rough roads, when turning the wheel or in hard braking. Drivers might also experience poor handling or loose steering,” he says.
3. Abnormal Creaking and Clunking Noise
Worn suspension bushes can also cause abnormal creaking and clunking noises while driving. Suspension bushes that are no longer able to carry out their function properly can result in parts clunking together when they should not be or can result in a stiff movement that results in creaking.
He adds that failure of rear suspension bushings may be harder to detect as they do not involve the steering system and might be less affected by cornering.
4. Premature Tire Wear
Like bone-on-bone contact, worn bushings can allow metal-on-metal contact. Worn control arm bushings can make the vehicle’s front end to slip out of alignment and once a car is out of alignment, one of the very first indications is premature tire wear.
“What feels or sounds like worn shocks or ball joints, or another suspension problem, might not be the fault of the part itself but the bushing that cushions joints and mounting points. A thorough suspension bushing inspection will reveal the culprit. For example, a loose stabilizer bar will allow more body lean (and perhaps noise) in turns, but if the bar is not bent or broken, only the bushings need a replacement.
Dried out bushings can also be a source of squeaks. Initially, older cars had grease fittings which require regular lubrication along with oil changes while the more modern “permanently lubricated” bushings in today’s cars have simplified regular maintenance.
The downside is that they are not always permanent and once a bushing of this metal-encased design dries out, it may have to be replaced entirely to solve the squeaking.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Suspension Bushings-
A) Removing the Control Arm
Step 1- Put on your protective eyewear and gloves.
Safety comes first whenever you are working on a car. Ensure your eyes and hands are protected from any sharp debris or rust that can come from worn parts.
Step 2- Remove the wheel.
If you’ve never removed a wheel before, the easiest method for using a jack is to raise the car, then place the tire iron on the lug nut, turning it counter-clockwise until the lug nut comes off. Repeat this on all of the lug nuts, and then use both arms for pulling off the wheel from the car.
Step 3- Locate the ball joint and release it using a large (20-24mm) wrench.
• The ball joint helps to connect the control arm that you’ll be removing to the steering knuckle. It looks like a circular bearing in a socket which is a bit like the joint of the human hip.
• Release the cotter pin and loosen the ball joint nut with the help of your wrench. You can then use a hammer for striking the spindle and release the taper fit, completely disconnecting the ball joint.
Step 4- Release the sway bar link using a 14-15mm wrench.
• This link connects the control arm containing the bushing to the sway bar, so you’ll have to remove it. Utilize the wrench to loosen and remove the link completely.
• You might also have to strike the connection with a hammer to release the taper fit, depending on what kind of car you have. If the link does not come off after loosening, try striking it with the help of a hammer.
Step 5- Use a 19-22mm wrench to loosen and remove the control mounting bolts.
• The bolts might have a nut on the opposite side which will need to be secured with another wrench before removal. Make sure the wrench is secure on the bolt before loosening it in order to avoid rounding the bolt, as it will likely be very tight.
• After the bolts are removed, the arm joint will likely be less stable, so you need to hold it in position as you are removing the second bolt
Step 6- Pull on the lower control arm to remove it.
If the arm is still in the mounts, just pull it towards you while slightly wiggling it up and down to remove it completely and freely access the bushing.
B) Replacing the Bushing
Step 1- Mark the orientation of the bushing.
The bushing has two places where the rubber casing attaches to the outer metal ring. Mark these two places with the help of a permanent marker on the control arm. This will help you replace the bushing in the right direction.
Step 2- Remove the bushing with a hydraulic press.
• This is the simplest way to remove the bushing. Put the bushing part of the arm into the hydraulic press and activate the press. Listen closely as there will be a popping noise when the bushing moves, and the arm will become loose when the bushing is completely out.
• Be careful not to damage the control arm through applying too much pressure with the press.
Step 3- Use a threaded press to remove the bushing.
• This is a less effective method than a hydraulic press but can still remove the bushing with the help of some force. A ball joint press, or threaded press, will have a cup that is equal to the size of the bushing.
• Set up a driver that has the same diameter as the outer shell of the bushing, and utilize a wrench to operate the screw-jack to push the bushing out of the control arm.
Step 4- Remove the bushing manually through striking it out with a hammer.
• This is the most difficult and least effective method to remove the bushing, but if you do not have a hydraulic or threaded press, it will work with some patience. Be careful not to hit the control arm, focusing each strike on the bushing till it flattens enough to be slid out.
• You will be needing a hydraulic press to install the new bushing, so you might be better off waiting until you have access to one
Step 5- Push out the excess rubber using a socket.
• You will be able to do this by hand without any problem. You’ll be needing to remove the rubber before you can install the new bushing. Utilize a socket that fits into the bushing, and push the rubber out.
• If the rubber is stuck, just try separating it from the sides of the control arm using a flathead screwdriver.
Step 6- Place the new bushing in the control arm.
• Ensure it’s facing the same direction as the previous bushing, using the flex part of the bushing as the point of reference. It might be a snug fit, so you will have to press a bit to get it into the control arm.
• Don’t apply lubrication to the bushing to get it into the arm, as this can make it slide out while it is in use
Step 7- Use a hydraulic press to secure the new bushing.
You will be needing access to a hydraulic press to replace the new bushing. Simply place the control arm on the press and activate it, ensuring the arm stays in place to prevent it from mis-aligning the bushing.
C) Reinstalling the Control Arm
Step 1- Slide the control arm back into the mounts.
You might have to move the arm up and down while pushing. Be careful to align the bolt holes while you’re working.
Step 2- Replace the bolts by hand.
Place the bolts and tighten them slightly with the help of hand, but not all the way, to avoid cross-threading. You will further need to tighten them with a wrench after you have inserted and tightened the ball joint.
Step 3- Tighten the ball joint.
Put the bolt into the control arm and tighten the nut. You can then go back and tighten the rest of the control arm bolts properly.
Step 4- Reinstall the sway bar link and nut.
Change the sway bar link into the control arm and tighten the nut.
Step 5- Insert and tighten the mounting bolt.
Generally, there will be a specific torque that the manufacturer requires this bolt to be tightened to. This ranges from 66-75 foot pounds, and you should be using a socket and extension to do this.
Step 6- Replace the lower ball joint castle nut and cotter pin.
Tighten the lower ball joint castle nut with the socket and extension. Reinsert the cotter pin into the holes which are aligned by the ball joint.
Step 7- Reinstall the wheel onto the car.
Place the wheel back up onto the control arms, and replace and tighten all the lug nuts with a tire iron. When you can’t move the tire, iron stops turning easily and the lug nuts are securely fastened.
c) Control Arms: Checking and Changing your vehicle’s Control arms is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Control Arms is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
1) Like any car component, over time, control arms wear down and have to be replaced. Many control arm assemblies wear down in every 90,000-100,000 miles.
2) Control arms can bend or break while driving over large potholes or bumps, while bushings can also wear out on their own.
3) People will start seeing tires not wearing properly. If you get tire wear, you might need to look at the components.”
4) Auto experts say other common signs the control arm assembly have to be replaced is if the steering wheel is vibrating or there is banging noise while driving over bumps.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Control Arm-
A) Raise your vehicle
- Floor Jacks
- Jack stands
- Wheel Chocks
Note: Make sure you use jack and jack stands with the appropriate weight capacity to lift and support your vehicle. If you are not sure of your vehicle’s weight, check the VIN label which is usually located on the inside of the driver’s door or on the door jamb itself for your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
Step 1- Locate your vehicle’s jacking points.
• With most vehicles being low to the ground and consisting of large trays or belly pans under the front of the car, it is best to do one side at a time.
• Jack the vehicle up at the recommended jacking points instead of trying to raise it through sliding the jack under the front of the car.
Note: Some vehicles have a clear marker or cut out under the sides of the car found near each wheel to indicate the proper jacking point. If your vehicle does not have these indications, just consult your owner’s manual for the proper jack point locations. As you are replacing suspension components, it will be safer if you do not lift the vehicle from any suspension points.
Step 2- Secure the wheel.
• Position the wheel chocks or blocks, in front of and behind at least one or both of the rear wheels.
• Raise the car slowly till the tire just loses contact with the ground.
• Once you get to that point, find the lowest point underneath the car where you can place a jack stand.
Note: Make sure you place each jack stand in a strong spot such as under a cross-member or chassis to support the car. Once positioned, just slowly lower the car onto the jack stand using the floor jack. Do not fully lower the jack and make sure to keep it in the extended position.
B) Replace the control arm
- Ball joint separator tool
- Breaker bar optional
- Ratchet / sockets
- Replacement control arm(s)
- Wrenches – open/box end
Step 1- Remove the wheel.
With ratchet and socket, loosen the lug nuts on the wheel. Carefully remove the wheel and keep it somewhere aside.
Step 2- Separate the ball joint from the hub.
Choose an appropriate sized socket and wrench. The ball joint has a stud that extends into the wheel hub and is secured through a nut and bolt which need to be removed.
Step 3- Separate the ball joint.
• Put the ball joint separator between the ball joint and the hub. Give it a tap or two with the help of a hammer.
• Don’t worry if it takes a few good whacks to separate them.
Note: Age and mileage sometimes make it difficult to separate them.
Step 4- Separate the control arm from the cradle.
• In some vehicles, you can remove the control arm bolt with a ratchet/socket on one side and a wrench on the other. Others might require you to use two wrenches due to space limitations.
• Once you remove the nut and bolt, the control arm will pull out. Use a little muscle for removing it, if needed.
Step 5- Install the new control arm.
• Install the new control arm in the reverse order of the removal process.
• Bolt up the cradle side of the control arm then bolt the ball joint into the hub, making sure to push it as far as required before tightening the bolt.
• Reinstall the wheel and lower the vehicle as soon as the control arm is properly secured. Repeat the process on the opposite side, if required.Heading
8) Change Car Piston Ring: Changing your vehicle’s Piston Ring is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Piston Ring-
Step 1- Access the Piston Rings
• In order to access the piston rings, you’re going to have to remove the cylinder head. This is an involved process, as you’ll need to disconnect a lot of things before you can even remove the part itself. You need to start by removing the exhaust manifold. Loosen the bolts holding it to the head with the help of your wrench, and pull it away.
• Then, you’ll have to disconnect the distributor from the intake manifold. There will be spark plug wires attached to it, so just pull these out of place before you undo the nut holding the distributor on top of the intake manifold. Another set of spark plug wires will have to be disconnected before you can unbolt both the valve corners and the intake manifold itself.
• Then, you’ll have to disconnect the distributor from the intake manifold. There will be spark plug wires attached to it, so just pull these out of place before you undo the nut holding the distributor on top of the intake manifold. Another set of spark plug wires will have to be disconnected before you can unbolt both the valve corners and the intake manifold itself.
• The rocker arms and pushrods are your last hurdle before you get to take care of the head itself. Fortunately, all you need to do is remove the single nut on top of each rocker arm to pull it away; there will be one rocker arm as well as one pushrod per valve. Once the rocker arms are lifted away, you can easily pull the pushrods up through the head.
• There’s a process for removing the cylinder head’s retaining bolts, beginning with the bolts on the outside. When this is finally done, you’ll need to start cleaning the top of each cylinder. Ensure that there is no grease or dirt present so you’ll be prepared to replace the cylinder head when you’re finished.
Step 2 – Clean
Before you can change the piston rings, it’s important to fully clean the piston. Cover all the cylinder holes to stop debris from the piston from falling inside. Then, simply scrape off the dirt until and unless enough is removed for you to pull out the piston.
Step 3 – Remove Piston Rings
• Before you can change the piston rings, you’ll have to remove each of the cylinders. This will vary from make to make, so you’ll need to consult your vehicle’s service manual. After you’ve removed the cylinders, they need to be cleaned. You can do this by soaking them in kerosene before allowing them to dry completely. Do this in a well-ventilated area.
• You’ll need to utilize your piston ring tool to remove the old piston rings. Before replacing them, inspect each of the ring grooves on the piston for wear by using a feeler gauge to see if they still meet the proper specifications. If the grooves have worn too much, changing the piston rings won’t be enough; you’ll need a whole new piston. If the rings don’t move, you can loosen them through soaking them overnight in diesel oil.
Step 4 – Install New Piston Rings
When you’re ready to put on the replacements, you need to stretch them with your piston ring tool when you fit them over the piston. However, you have to be very careful that you don’t stretch them so much that they break (if they do, new piston rings are very cheap).
9) Change Car Oil Seal: Checking your vehicle’s Oil Seal is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Oil Seal-
Step 1- Lift the Car
Before you start, you’ll need to jack up the car. Utilize a lug nut wrench to remove the front wheel and place the jack stand under to support it.
Step 2- Remove the Belt
After that, you need to remove the serpentine belt from the engine. Put a three-inch breaker bar on the tensioner and lift. Pull the belt out from the alternator and pull it off the crankshaft in order to completely remove it.
Step 3- Take out the Splash Shield
The splash shield that houses the front crankshaft oil seal has to come off too. This is found inside the wheel well next to the engine. To remove it, you can start by pulling out the push pins on top. Then, utilize a panel remover to take out the center of the pin before you remove the rest. Once all the push pins are gone, you can get rid of the shield too.
Step 4- Take out the Crankshaft Oil Seal
• Remove the 15mm-headed bolt that is holding the crank pulley; then, take out the bolts and the pulley itself. You should be able to see the crankshaft now.
• Pry out the shield, which is the round ring-like metal found on the center, using a screwdriver to get to the oil seal.
Step 5- Insert New Seal
• Before you make the replacement, just check out how deep it goes to make sure that you are able to properly fit it with a new one.
• Once the old seal is out, slide the new seal into place. Ensure that it is properly embedded by using a soft hammer to tap it until it is firmly secure.
Step 6- Replace Everything
After you have placed the new crankshaft oil seal, you can now put the shield back on and tighten it with the all the bolts you took out. Put back the splash shield and change the push pins as well before you fit the serpentine belt where it belongs. Ensure that the bolts and the belt are properly placed before putting the wheel back in.
10) Change Head Gasket: Changing your vehicle’s Head Gasket is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Head Gasket-
First and most important tool in the toolbox is a service manual.
Inspect the head and block for flatness. A machined straight edge across the surface and feeler gauge will show it all. The service manual will give specifications. Blocks or heads out of specification need to be sent out to the machine shop and be repaired. The machine shop will also be able to inspect for cracks.
Next, prepare the surface. Never utilize anything that will remove metal. Be sure not to scratch the deck of the block or mounting surface of the head. While it might seem like a good idea to use a scrubber pad connected to a power tool, the surface irregularities created can cause sealing problems down the road.
Chase the head bolt or stud holes with a tap or thread chaser in order to remove any crud and prepare the threads. Utilize compressed air to blow out any stragglers. Correct head bolt torque is very important. Any interference can lead to a throw off in the torque readings.
Pre-fit the head gasket in the correct manner. Never use sealant unless it is specifically required by the manufacturer. Head gaskets that require sealant will generally come so equipped. The service manual will outline sealant locations as well as the requirements.
Correct bolt tightening sequence and torque is important for proper head gasket sealing. Use new bolts if it is required. Coat head bolt threads with some engine oil before the installation. Make sure to follow tightening sequence and torque instructions to the last detail.
11) Check Brake Shoes: Checking your vehicle’s Brake Shoes is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Brake Shoe is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
1. Abnormal Noises
Abnormal noises are one of the first symptoms that are produced whenever brake shoes are starting to go out. Excessively worn or dusty brake shoes will make abnormal noises. For example, excessively worn brake shoes might produce a scraping sound, while dusty or dirty brake shoes might make a squeaking sound. The noises might be heard as the brake pedal is depressed or released, or any time the vehicle is in forwarding motion in more serious cases.
2. Reduced Brake Response
Another symptom of bad or failing brake shoes will be a reduced brake response. If the brake shoes become excessively worn or overheated, their capacity to slow the vehicle might get reduced. This can result in a vehicle that takes longer to stop when the brakes are applied, especially during high speed or heavy braking situations.
3. Loose Parking Brake
A loose parking brake is another one of the symptoms of bad or failing brake shoes. For vehicles equipped with drum brakes, the brake shoes are what hold the vehicle in their place when the brake is engaged. If the shoes become worn or dusty, they might not be able to hold the weight of the vehicle without slipping. You will notice that the vehicle is sagging or rolling when the parking brake is engaged. This might also be caused by a parking brake mechanism that will need an adjustment. So we recommend the inspection of brakes.
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Brake Shoe-
Release the emergency brake before starting the process and consult your repair manual for instructions which are specific to your vehicle. Improperly installed brakes can be quite dangerous.
Remove the brake drum and examine the brake assembly for signs of leakage. Leaky wheel cylinders have to be replaced. Take a picture or make notes about the layout before you proceed.
Clean everything with brake cleaner as well as a drip tray beneath. Allow the cleaner to dry, and then remove the top return springs. Leave one set of brakes assembled for the purpose of reference.
Remove all the hold-down spring assemblies. A special removal tool makes this job quite easy. Hinder the retaining post from turning by holding it from behind with your finger.
Remove the brake shoe return spring; your specially manufactured brake spring pliers will come in handy here.
Remove the assembly that captures the adjuster and then the adjuster itself. Note the adjuster’s direction as it has to go back in the same way. Lightly lubricate the threads with the help of high-temp grease.
Remove the shoes and emergency brake cable clip if it is required. Use a screwdriver for removing clip and pliers to reinstall.
• Clean the backing plate with brake cleaner and allow to dry. Apply a light film of high-temp grease to the flat spots where the shoes are contacting the backing plate.
• Note: If you utilize a penetrating oil like WD-40 or PB Blaster, remember these are not lubricating oils. You’ll require a separate grease for lubrication of the brake backing plate.
Reverse the disassembly process with the help of new hardware and springs from your brake kit. Back down the adjuster so the drum can be easily installed. Clean the shoes just one last time.
• Reinstall the drum and adjust the brakes by turning the adjusting star and the drum at the same time until you hear the shoes contacting the drum. On some older vehicles, the final adjustment can be made through driving in reverse and hitting the brakes.
• Remember to wait a couple of hours after driving to start any type of brake work as the brake components get very hot.
12) Check Tire: Checking your vehicle’s Tire is a quick and easy maintenance that any driver can do themselves.
If your vehicle’s Tire is showing the following symptoms, you need to replace it-
Sometimes, the tread of the tire develops a defect that can’t be balanced out. This is usually due to a minor separation of the steel and polyester bands inside the tire. When this takes place, it feels like the tire is simply out of balance, but no matter how many times you balance it, the problem remains. Unfortunately, this problem is non-repairable and the tire(s) will need a replacement.
Tires can make many noises, some are normal wear and tear while others might be a sign of a bad tire. A constant humming sound that changes according to the speed is a sign of chopped tread. The chopped tread is basically a sign of lack of rotation or a failing suspension component. A thumping sound is a sign of a flat spot in a tire. Flat spots are usually caused either by a defect in the tire or locking up the brakes. Neither of these noises can be repaired and the tire(s) will need to be replaced because the tread has been compromised.
Wobbling is that sign of a bad tire that is usually visible. Wobbling typically happens only at low speeds and you can physically feel the car bounce up and down and you also might see the steering wheel move. This is caused due to the severe separation of the internal belts. Whenever the belts separate like this, the pressurized air presses on just the rubber tread. This will cause a large bubble on the tread; that bubble is what leads to the wobbling.
4. Lack of Traction
Lack of wet traction is yet another tell-tale sign of bad tires. The loss of wet traction is because of the tread wearing down to where there are no more grooves in the tire. These grooves are made to allow the water on the road to escape from the tread. When the water cannot escape, hydroplaning takes place. Hydroplaning is when the water causes the tire to lift off from the road and lose all traction. At this point, one needs to replace the tires(s).
Follow these steps to change your vehicle’s Tire-
Place the rim flat on the ground with the front side of the rim facing upwards.
Lubricate the beads of the tire with the help of dish detergent and lay the tire on the rim. The beads of the tire are the inside edges that are present around the hole.
Open the back (or bottom) bead of the tire by pushing or standing on the sides of the tire. Locking the pair of vise grips onto the edge of the rim will help in installing or uninstalling the bead by keeping the tire separated from the rim.
Slide a screwdriver or just pry bar between the bead of the tire and rim and pull backsliding the bead over the rim. Do this in short spaces by working two or three inches at a time.
• Use the same process to install the other side (or bead) of the tire.
• While inflating the tire, you will hear loud pop noises as the tire seats itself in the rim. Make sure you don’t not over-inflate it. Once you see that both sides of the tire are firmly seated in the rim, just finish inflating the tire to the manufacturer’s specifications.
• The proper air pressure has to be written on the sidewall of the tire, or you can check the owner’s manual.
Warning: Over-inflating an automobile tire can be dangerous as it might cause injuries.