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Car Maintenance Tips

A little bit of extra effort in maintaining your car goes a long way in giving a good-looking car that will be a pleasure to drive. Treat your car well it treats you back with the same care. Here are a few tips to keep your car in a condition as good as new…  
       • Regular oil changes are a must to keep your engine in good shape. o Get you car serviced regularly at an authorized service centre.
       • Wash your car regularly, waxing it on a regular basis adds sheen to the car and prevents corrosion. 
       • Any minor problems should be attended to at the earliest, so that it doesn't develop into serious problems requiring expensive repairs.
       • Do not get tempted to use cheaper spurious spares. Use only original parts.

Checking the Engine Oil:

Park your car on level ground and turn the ignition off. Wait for a few minutes to allow the engine oil to drain into the oil pan. Remove the engine oil dipstick. If you don't know where the dipstick is, go through your owner's manual. Wipe it with a clean rag or tissue. Then put it back all the way down into its place. Now, pull the dipstick again and check the oil level. It should be at the "FULL" mark.

Follow the below guidelines for oil change.
       • Change the oil immediately if it is black and opaque.
       • Change the oil at the earliest if it is dark-brown and transparent.
       • There is ample time to change the oil if it is slightly brown.
       • When the engine coolant is mixing with the engine oil, the oil turns into a mixture of white and brown. This indicates an internal engine problem; have your car checked at an authorized service center.

Engine Oil - Top up:

Adhere to the same type and brand of engine oil that is being used. Add a little at a time, wait a while to let the oil drain and then check the oil level again with the dipstick. Care should be taken not to go over the mark. Once the job is done place the dipstick back and close the oil filler cap.

Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid:

Park your car on level ground and start the engine. Set transmission lever to the "P" (Park) position, and let the engine idle (on some cars this procedure may be different, please check the owners' manual for details). Pull the transmission dipstick.(Check your owner's manual to find where transmission dipstick is placed in your car.) Wipe it with clean rag or tissue. Then insert it back carefully all the way down into its place.

Pull again and check the fluid level. If the engine is cold, it should be above the "COLD" mark. If the engine is hot, the level should be at the upper end of the "HOT" mark. If it's just a little bit lower, it is admissible. Top it up immediately, if the dipstick indicates a huge gap.

The fluid condition need also be checked: 

       • New transmission fluid is red in colour. Over time it turns brownish.
       • Normally it should be clean and transparent.
       • If it's black and has a burnt smell, your transmission isn't going to last.
       • If it is brown, check your owner's manual, it may be time to change it.
       • Some manufacturers require transmission fluid changed at 60,000km, others specify that you never have to change it - check your car's manual for information pertaining to your car.

Transmission fluid - Top Up:

For top up, add a small amount of the fluid through the dipstick pipe. Do not overfill it. Wait for a few minutes - let the fluid flow down. Start the engine. Check the level again.
It's very important to use only the transmission fluid specified in your owner's manual. Some Chrysler transmissions need a specific fluid and regular fluid like Dexron II may even destroy the transmission.

Engine coolant:

Serious damage to the engine can be averted by checking the coolant level at regular intervals. Low coolant level will result in overheating of the engine. The coolant level should be between the "LOW" and "FULL" marks in the coolant overflow tank. If coolant overflow tank is empty or if it is requiring frequent top ups, in all probability there is a coolant leak; have your car inspected.

Caution: Never open the radiator or coolant overflow tank when the engine is hot! The fluid is under pressure when the engine is hot, and might spurt out. Turn off the engine, and when engine is cool enough after a few minutes, add coolant into the overflow tank.


Tyres are another important aspect of a car that should not be neglected under any circumstances.

Tyre Pressure: Tyre pressure should be checked at least once in a month. The recommended tire pressures for your car will be mentioned in the owner's manual or on the tire pressure placard. The maximum pressure listed on tires is NOT the ideal pressure! Refer to the owner's manual for the ideal pressures.

Tyre Alignment & Balancing:

       • Ensure that all tyres wear equally by rotating them at every other oil change.
       • Get the wheels balanced, if you detect any vibrations at cruising speed.
       • Tread wear has a safety limit, if the tire is worn below this limit it is a safety hazard.
       • Uneven tyre wear indicates alignment problem or problems with your suspension.
       • Have the alignment checked, if a car pulls to one side, wanders or feels unstable on the road. Alignment that has been properly done will make your car's ride a lot more enjoyable.

CV joint boots:

Front Wheel Drive cars are common today. These cars have CV joints (Constant Velocity joints) which transfer the engine's torque to the front wheels. The CV joint is located on the internal side of each of the front wheels. It is greased on the inside and sealed by a rubber boot that might break. If the CV joint boot breaks, the whole axle unit may become inoperative in a short while due to dirt and water entering it.

Check CV joint boots by looking inside the front wheel arch, with the wheel turned as far as it will go in that direction. The boot should be dry. If it is broken there will be grease all over the area. If the boot is broken, it needs to be replaced. If not replaced in time, the whole axle shaft will need to be replaced which is much more expensive than the boot.

Never Neglect Minor Issues …..

Whenever you detect any irregular noise, vibration, shimmer, or you note some leak or a warning light or anything irregular occurs, have your car inspected at a dealer or a garage as soon as you can - it might be unsafe to drive. It is better to rectify a small problem, rather than to go for extensive and expensive repairs later. It saves you time, cost, and wear and tear of your car.

Have your car inspected at least once a year by a mechanic. Not a simple visual inspection, but a comprehensive check of major components such as brakes, suspension, etc., while having your tires rotated. Many components (e.g. ball joints), can not be inspected visually with the car on the ground, so opt for a place where they have the mechanism to elevate the car and go for a thorough check-up of your car.

The little things matter, so pay careful attention to them and you'll end up with a much better ownership experience.
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