Basic Car Maintenance For Beginners

A Few Minor Things Which A Good Driver Can Look After In His / Her Own Car

As a good, responsible driver, there are many things you can look after in your car. It is unnecessary to depend a 100% on your mechanic. Some things you can yourself do is listed below:

1) Changing indicator or signal bulbs.

Purchase a box of spare indicators or signal bulbs. They cost anything from RM5 – RM6. Also buy some “tail lights” bulbs.

Learn to distinguish indicator bulbs from tail light bulbs. To change them, you might need a couple of screwdrivers.

Some newer models of cars have indicator or signal bulbs which are more difficult to replace. In such cases, you’ll have no choice but send them to the mechanic.

How do you know when one of the indicator or signal bulbs has fused or burnt away? Putting on the indicator stalk, the indicator seems to be flashing fast, indicating one of the bulbs may have fused or burnt away.

2) Checking brake fluid levels.

Opening the bonnet, you see the “brake fluid” container (normally white) in the engine compartment.

The plastic container has 2 levels. The upper level and the lower level. The brake fluid should reach the upper level.

Get a bottle of medium sized brake fluid for RM8 – RM10. DOT 3 would be the best. Brake fluid comes in various colours. Red, blue or even green. Best to get a brake fluid similar to your original brake colour.

3) Testing the efficiency of your brakes.

Stepping on your brakes, older version of cars should depress half way down. Should it depress completely down to the floorboard, this indicates a slight failure in the braking mechanism.

Another method to test whether the brakes are experiencing a malfunction or otherwise, is to step on the brakes rigidly for a few seconds. If a brake pedal then depresses by itself to the bottom of the floorboard, it is an indication some leakages may occur somewhere along the brake system. Send your car immediately for repairs.

4) Black oil or engine oil levels.
Checking engine oil or black oil in your engine, is rather easy. To do this, first locate the “dipstick”. Extract the dipstick from the engine block. Look at the dipstick carefully.

At the lower end of the dipstick, there will be markings indicating the lower and higher of engine oil. Some advise the engine oil should remain at the higher level. Others advise between the upper and lower levels. Choice is yours.

What oil to use to “top up” the engine oil? The same oil or brand as your original oil is recommended. Multi grade would be best.

5) The tyres.

“Pressure” refers to “amount of air” in your tyre. Ideally 26 psi (pound per square inch) front and 26 psi for the rear tyre is recommended.

Next, it is the “alignment”. Alignment denotes how the tyres touches the ground vertically. If alignment is incorrect or faulty, the tyre will wear away, either on the “inner” or “outer” side. This is called “uneven” tyre wear. Steps will have to be taken to correct this problem.

“Balancing” is the third problem facing a driver. When a tyre is not balanced, the tyre wobbles and vibrates. Steering becomes hard to control.

The steering will sometimes appear “to run to one side”. Balancing then will have to be done to correct this anomaly immediately. These are but a few things a driver can detect or take steps to correct the anomalies facing his vehicle.

By | 2012-09-22T10:47:10+08:00 September 7th, 2009|Car Maintenance|2 Comments

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  1. Multi Purpose Relay August 26, 2010 at 10:43 am - Reply

    It is very important that you know a lot about your car. So that when ever there is a problem you will know what to do. Nice post.

    • Cikgu Yap August 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your comments. I’m impressed with your establishment.

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