Car Maintenance


New or old, any car will last longer with tender loving care. For most enthusiasts, a large part of the joy of owning a hobby car lies in getting their hands dirty. If you really want to develop an intimate relationship with a machine, there is no better way than to crawl under it and over it, to take it apart and put it back together, to clean it and polish it.If you live with a car long enough, you'll eventually come to know it so well that even the most insignificant faults will immediately be recognizable, and you'll be able to anticipate the need for repairs before serious problems develop. The key to establishing this kind of relationship with your car is a systematic approach to maintenance and repair besides saving money; the do-it-yourself mechanic learns the working and every system in his car.

A Helping Hand 

Before you even think about driving under that prized car, you should equip yourself with as much information as possible. Ideally you should obtain a copy of the vehicle manufacturer's service manual for your hobby car. If you can't obtain the factory book for your car, general service manuals are available. You could try getting some professional advice.

The DO’s and DON’Ts

01.   Engine oil - Change Engine oil & Filter every 5000 km. Use Multi grade engine oil with 20W-50 rating (Brands : Mobil XHP , Castrol GTX).

02.   Filters - Air Filter to be replaced or cleaned at service or Tune up interval. (For K&N air filters cleaning required at a particular service interval and to be done by a professional)

03.   Fuel - Advisable to use 95 octane Petrol for vehicle after year 2000 (RED bar at fuel dispenser). In EFI vehicles its advisable to maintain minimum 1/4 tank and avoid going all the way down to "Empty". By this the fuel pump, filter could be safe guarded and also minimises the corrossion factor in the tank.

04.   Tire - Maintain Tire correct air pressures for Better fuel economy, road handling and to gain maximum mileage on tires. If upgrading wheels its recommended to go 1 size bigger than factory readings.

05.   Auto Transmission Oil - Do NOT change or top up transmission oil from regular service stations. Check Oil level with vehicle started and gear at “P” or “N” position using Red handle dip stick. Models after year 2000 and CVT transmission use only Genuine Transmission oil with the correct rating.

06.   Lubrication Service – Do NOT wash the engine or spray any oil on to it during servicing. If needed clean by holding compressed air and wiping with a cloth. Spray oil to under carriage, inside doors and metal components under vehicle every other service interval. Also vacuum clean interior. Use penetrating oil or new engine oil for spraying.

07.   Body Care – Wash body only with clear water, avoid using car soaps or shampoos. Wax body every 3 to 6 months or soon after a service to protect paint and shine.

08.   Power Steering Oil – Use only Dextron III rating power steering oil for topping up. (Brands – Caltex, Toyota Genuine)

09.   Cooling System – Drain and replacing radiator coolant every 1 year. Use only summer coolant (green colour) for topping up or normal clear water.

10.   Brake Fluid – Use only Rated brake oil (Eg: DOT 3 or DOT 4) and need to drain and flush brake liquid at 80 000 km. Do NOT mix brake oil types during topping up, use only 1 particular brand. [Brands- Caltex or Lockheed (yellow can)]

Air Pressure
Are your tires set at the optimum inflation? Chances are they are anywhere from 8psi to 18psi less than recommended. The most common way of damaging tires is improper inflation. Low air pressure causes tires to experience irregular treadwear as well as poor vehicle handling and traction. Under inflated tires can build up excessive heat and blow out without warning.

Keeping your tires set at the manufacturer's recommended pressure is one of the easiest ways of saving gasoline, increasing tire treadlife, and ensuring safety. Report notes if your tires are inflated to 24psi, and you increase the air pressure to 32psi, your fuel mileage should increase by 3 miles per gallon (an average increase of 10%!)
Always check your air pressure and make adjustments when the tires are cold (tires have not been driven for 2 hours). Air pressure should be checked bi-weekly at the very least. This is important because as outside temperatures change, so does tire air pressure. A 10 degree drop in temperature can reduce tire pressure by 1psi. That means if you set your pressures in the July and don't check them again until December, you could have lost several psi, decreasing fuel mileage and causing pre-mature tire wear. Also remember to check your spare tire for loss of air.
If you are unsure how to use an air pressure gauge and hose, your local tire shop should be willing to show you the correct procedure. Always use a good quality tire pressure gauge that is not on a hose. The tire gauges built into the air hoses at your local garage have generally not been maintained and can not be trusted to be accurate.
*Note, air pressures can be “tuned”, however you should NEVER exceed the maximum pressure branded on the tire’s sidewall, and NEVER set pressures lower than recommended in the vehicle’s owners manual. Also, if you have altered your tire size from original, then the minimum pressure may need to be adjusted. Consult a rim/tire professional for correct pressures.

Wheel Alignment

Vehicle alignment is one of the most important factors in not only vehicle care, but tire care. Improper alignment on either the front or rear wheels can result in unusual tread wear, damage to your suspension, and unusual handling for the car. Wheel alignments should be performed every time you install a new set of tires, and any time you experience an impact such as a large pot hole, curb, or other obstacle. For maintenance purposes, alignment should be checked every 5,000 km.
There are several alignment types, including both two and four wheel alignment. Four wheel alignment is always recommended, but some vehicles are not able to have the rear alignment adjusted. Consult with an alignment specialist or your automobile consultant you trust to find out what's best for your car.
Warning signs that you might need an alignment are your car pulling to one side or another, and irregular tire wear.

Electrical Section

A Battery check up is a good place to begin the initial hobby car maintenance service procedure. This check should be repeated at 5000-kilometer intervals or when a problem arises. The battery cleanup procedure should be performed every time you change oil. Begin by removing the battery terminals, negative terminal first. Use a little water with a swab and brush to clean the corrosion developed on the battery terminals. Exercise care if the terminal is stuck on to the battery post, if too much horizontal pressure is applied you may break the battery post. You would need to use a plier and twist the terminal gently while applying liberal quantities of water till the same loosens. You could use a strip of polish paper or a knife to clean the battery terminal posts and the battery terminals. If your battery is of the standard type as opposed to a maintenance free battery remove the caps and check the electrolyte level. If it is not up to the indicated full level, add distilled water only. (If you do add water when the temperature is below freezing, you must drive the car for at least 20 minutes.).
Check the other ends of the cable. Where, the negative attaches to ground. Where, the positive connects to ground. Where, the positive connects to the relay or starter motor. Make sure that all connections are tight and free of corrosion. If not, disconnect the cable end. Clean it, and the post or bolt it was attached to, with polish paper. Reconnect all cables, starting with the ends that are not attached to the battery. Then connect the positive cable to the battery before connecting the negative.
Once this operation has been successfully carried out apply a small quantity of petroleum jelly on to the terminal and the tightening bolt. This will help retard the corrosion process on the same.

Engine Section

To make it easier to service your car, clean up the engine compartment. You could use some kerosene or Diesel with cotton waste. Take care to ensure that the engine is not hot while carrying out this operation. Also ensure that all the kerosene is wiped before attempting to start the vehicle.Cover the alternator, distributor cap and coil with plastic bags, securing them with string. Remove air cleaner and cover the carburettor in a similar fashion. Wipe all over the engine and engine compartment, avoiding electronic or electric components.
Allow it to soak in a few minutes, and then hose it off. If the engine is not clean, repeat the procedure using a small brush to work the cleaner into particularly dirty spots. If the engine won't start when you've finished, clean any moisture from distributor and coil wire cables, then spray them with a water displacing lubricant.

Engine Tune Up

The complete power plant maintenance procedure should be performed when you first purchase a car (second hand specifically)and at regular intervals thereafter. For cars with contact breaker (points) ignition, plan on doing this service at 10,000 Km intervals, for cars with high-energy electronic systems, perform the service at 15,000 to 20,000 Km intervals. Some enthusiasts replace all high- wear items when they first purchase their cars. This strategy will give you a baseline for future reference-you'll know just how old these components are. Maintenance items include air filter, PCV valve, sparkplugs, fuel filter, distributor cap and rotor, ignition cables, and, in cars with contact breaker ignition, points and condenser. Begin the maintenance tune up by removing all of the sparkplugs. Carefully note the condition of the old plugs. Depending on type of fuel used and model year of the car, their colour can range from white to grey to light brown. However, it should be clear that all of them were operating. None should be markedly darker than the others and all of them should be dry.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the information but most articles on the internet says that do not spray oil on under carriage at service stations. Which is the correct way?