General Maintenance & Repairs

Over the years, your car battery may require a little maintenance. A corrosive white powder sometimes forms on the terminals.
In order for your brakes to work properly, you need the right kind and the right amount of brake fluid. There are three types of brake fluid: dot-3, dot-4 and silicon based dot-5. Never mix these grades.
Problems with your car's brake system should never be ignored. A thorough brake inspection includes examination of the master cylinder, the brake lines, linings, rotors, drums, calipers, and wheel cylinders, most of which should be repaired or replaced only by a qualified professional.
Brakes/warning signs
If you hear a high-pitched squeak emanating from the front wheels while the car is in motion, it's probably a 'brake wear indicator' telling you it's time to replace your brake pads. Don't let this minor repair job turn into an expensive brake overhaul.
Changing the oil
About the easiest maintenance you can perform on your car is changing the oil. Frequent oil changes can extend the life of your engine considerably.
Engine diagnosis
Troubleshooting engine problems is not as easy as it used to be. However, if you know some of the signs, you can spot some symptoms before they get worse.
Filters and spark plugs
The air filter and the spark plugs are two items in your car you'll need to replace periodically. Once a year, you should replace your spark plugs.
Hoses and belts
Every hour your engine operates, it pumps about 75 hundred gallons of coolant through the hoses at temperatures a little over 200 degrees. This kind of abuse can take it's toll on your coolant hoses, so it's smart to keep an eye on them.
Rotating tires
To get the most miles out of your tires, you should rotate them every five to ten thousand miles. This ensures equal wear of the tires, since the front tires wear differently and at a different rate than the rear tires.
Normally, power steering fluid levels remain full. But since leaks can occur, it's a good idea to check it every six months or six thousand miles. Your car's power steering pump uses one of two types of fluid to operate, automatic transmission fluid or a special power steering fluid.
Tools needed
You'll need some good tools to perform simple maintenance on your car. They don't have to be expensive, but they should be high quality tools.
Your car's transmission, whether automatic or manual, needs lubrication to reduce friction and disperse heat. For an automatic, there are three types of transmission fluid: type F, type H, and dextron two.
The single most important thing you can do to help your car's engine perform better is getting a tune-up. A good tune-up should consist of the following four steps.
Windshield wipers
You should inspect windshield wiper blades each time you clean your windshield. Blades should routinely be replaced at least once a year, or whenever they show signs of splitting or breaking. Severe winters can be brutal to your car's wiper blades.
There are a few things you should do before the cold winter sets in. Make sure your car's battery is fully charged and that the battery cable clamps are not cracked or corroded.

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