Seniors and Car Upkeep Tips

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How can I aviod car engine problems?

Prepare your car for warm weather

Something you sould begin checking on now is that your radiator still has a good level of antifreeze/coolant. With warm/hot weather coming on, this will aid in cooling your engine when using the airconditioner. In hot weather, you should check weekly for sufficient water and coolant. NEVER remove the radiator cap when engine is hot!! If the water is a transluscent green, you probably have sufficient coolant, but best to have a professional check first off. You could also purchase a test gauge at auto supply store.

How can I avoid fuel pump problems on my car?

Keep gas tank full!

Did you know that your gas tank accumulates a 'sludge' build-up in the bottom? To avoid this sludge from clogging your fuel pump, or causing problems with the carburetor, keep a full tank of gas. When your gas gauge shows half empty (or half full :o), fill up the tank. This also helps when you have a travel emergency arise; you won't have to worry about running out of gas at night or in the middle of a snow storm! I've put as much as 150,000 miles on a car with no fuel pump or carburetor problems. When you drive with your tank 1/4 full or below, the sludge is sucked into your pump and/or carburetor, eventually causing expensive repairs.

How can I avoid my car locks from freezing?

Avoid car door-lock freezing

To avoid the locks on car doors from freezing in wintertime, place a small magnet over the locks. Flat magnets will do in a pinch, but best would be the round fridge magnets; found at most hardware or craft stores. Don't forget to replace these while at work or shopping.

How can I check the brake fluid level in my car?

Brake Fluid

Maintain a monthly check of the brake fluid in our cars. Begin by wiping dirt off the reservoir lid of the master cylinder; pry off safety clip and remove or unscrew plastic lid (depends on the type your vehicle has). Add approved type of fluid for your car, and check for possible leaks in this system. Fill to mark on the reservoir...Do NOT overfill!

Does my car need checking for antifreeze/coolant?


Be sure to check for enough antifreeze/coolant in your radiator weekly. Some cars will have transparent reservoirs with level marking; fill to level marking with 60-40 solution of antifreeze and water. NEVER remove the pressure cap of radiator when engine is hot. You can buy a tool for checking antifreeze level at auto parts store, but rule-of-thumb is if radiator water is dark-greenish, you have good level of antifreeze.

Should I keep fluid in my cars windshield washer reservoir?

Washer fluid in reservoir

It is important to keep fluid in the car windshield washer reservoir full. As you 'top-off' the fluid, wet a rag to clean off the wiper blades. During winter months, heed the freezing point of fluid. You might want to add 'lower-temp' fluid to keep reservoir from cracking.

How can I check the transmission fluid level on my car?

Check transmission fluid

When checking transmission fluid (which should be checked monthly), keep the engine running, and parking brake on; be sure the gear is in 'park'. With one rag or paper towel, remove the dipstick; with a second rag/towel wipe dipstick dry, re-insert it and remove again. Dipstick will show level of fluid, either 'full' or 'add'. If needed, add the approved type of fluid (you may need a funnel), but Do NOT overfill! Replace dipstick snugly.

How can I avoid fuel pump problems on my car?

Changing windshield wipers

It is so important to have good, reliable wiper blades on your car. Remember that last downpour? And your wiper blades were partially shreded and couldn't 'see a thing'? Now this is dangerous. Get to the nearest auto parts store and replace those blades; I prefer the double-blade type. Most stores will put these on for you if you can't do it yourself. For your safety sake, keep your windshield wipers in good shape. BTW, if your state has safety inspections, this is a must if you want your car to pass inspection!

Is it important to have my car radiator ´flushed´?

Radiator Flushing

To ensure radiator and engine function, the radiator of motor vehicles should be flushed at least once a year, depending on the mileage of each car. Have this flushing done at any radiator shop for professional safety; then be sure to add anti-freeze/coolant with the radiator water or particular reservoir. DO NOT let radiator water become 'rusty'.

Where do I go when I have car trouble?

How do I select a repair shop

If your automobile is new, it will still be under warranty for repairs at the dealership. But what if it is an older car? What then? Good recommendations for a reputable repair shop can come from friends, neighbors, and even your banker. Check with all of these people for their recommendations, they can give you locations from their EXPERIENCES for best prices and mechanics. And don't overlook asking your priest/rabbi/preacher. Who you need to repair your auto may just be a member of your church/temple!

What should I check on my car battery?

Your car's battery

A strong battery is necessary for starting any car. In cold weather the battery can be drained of energy, so be sure the cables are attached securely and free of corrosion, and there is sufficient clear, odorless water inside. Take caution when handling a battery; it can produce explosive gases. Do not smoke, create a spark or light a match near a battery, and wear protective glasses and gloves.

How can I keep from sliding on ice or snow?

Watch air-pressure in tires

Stuck in snow or ice? No snow tires or tire chains? Let out some of the air in the tires (about 8 lbs. pressure); this will give more traction to the tire and you'll slide much less. Take extra precautions when driving on snow or ice. Then remember to replace air in tires!

How can I check the power steering fluid level in my car?

Power Steering fluid

Power Steering fluid should be checked monthly. We'll just need to remove the dipstick to check the level of fluid; add fluid only if level is down. Also check the pump and hoses for leaks.

What should I do about engine oil change?

Engine oil change

Changing the oil in your car really is best to have done by a professional location. Cost for oil change and new oil filter is usually less than $20, cheaper if you watch for specials. Just what would you do with the old oil you drain out, if you change yourself? Reminder: I always ask if the 'plug' is replaced securely at the drain area; any oil leakage can result in major engine damage. Check owners manual for suggested times for oil changes..usually 3,000 miles.

What checks do I need to make on my car´s tires?

Your car's tire safety

It's good advise to own a tire gauge (not expensive), and check monthly that they are inflated to recommended pressure. This will aid in better gas mileage. Uneven wear is sure indication the tires are out of balance or misaligned. On new tires, rotation should be made at the first 5,000 miles, then at each 7,500 miles afterwards. Always keep your spare in the trunk fully aired.

How can I aviod car engine problems?

Learn how to check more than your car's gas level

Don't always trust the gauges on your car for vital needs. Things to check under your hood are water in radiator, oil level, brake fluid, battery fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. Get a friend or family member to help you with these checks. You'll soon learn to do these checks yourself. But, do check them at least every two weeks (or more often if you travel a lot) to keep your engine running smoothly and avoid problems developing.

How can I keep my car engine from overheating

Check your engine belts/hoses for cracks

The belts on your engine are very important to check monthly, and should be replaced if worn, glazed or frayed. They should also be tightened if slack is more than 1/2" between pulleys. Check and replace hoses that show bulging, rotting or are brittle; keep hose clamps tightened. Again, check these monthly.

Is there a possible danger in filling my auto gas tank?

Gas-tank/Static Electricity Fires.

How often do we take for granted the chore of filling our motor vehicle gas tank? We put the pump nozzle in our tank on automatic fill, jump back in our vehicle to get our credit card or wallet, and step back to grab the pump handle. This article Gas Tank/Static Electricity Warning may change your mind about filling your tank!

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