Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


Easy Vehicle Checks for All Drivers - Vol.137

You do not have to be a certified mechanic to take good care of your vehicle. There are several car maintenance activities you can easily do yourself. Not only will you save money by performing these tasks, but you get to know your vehicle better so you can quickly determine when there is a problem that needs to be addressed by a professional. Following are some of the vehicle checks every driver can perform.

Never check or change oil when it is hot. Let your car engine cool down first. Once your car is cool, you can check your oil level by pulling out the dipstick that says "oil". To get a good reading, take a rag and wipe the dipstick clean and then insert it back into the oil. As long as the oil is at the appropriate level and you have not driven more than 3,000-5,000 miles since your last oil change, you are good to go. But if either of those conditions has not been met, then you will need to add to or change your oil. In about five minutes you can add the right amount of oil. Generally it takes less than 1 hour and $20 to change oil.

Air Filter
Check your air filter by opening your car hood and locating the filter. In most vehicles, the air filter is under a black cover that is secured with metal clips or nuts. Pop the clips or unscrew the nuts, open the cover, and lift out the filter to check its condition. If your air filter is dirty, you can change it yourself. A new filter will set you back less than $20 and take no more than 15 minutes to install.

Spark Plugs
You can also change your own spark plugs if necessary. You may notice that your engine does not start right away or that your engine seems to have a miss in it. It is simple to replace spark plugs in about 30 minutes. New spark plugs cost less than $20. To determine how many spark plugs you need, open the hood of your car and locate the spark plugs. You will need four, six, or eight plugs.

Battery Connection
Over time, battery connections can become loose. You can easily check battery connections yourself. You just need about 20 minutes of free time. To get started, you just open the hood of your car and find your battery. More than likely, you will need to do a bit of cleaning to properly determine if the connections are working right. If you notice the battery posts appear to be corroded, you can use corrosion cleaner to get the posts back into proper working order. You can also clean the battery terminals. This will involve you disconnecting the battery cables. When you do this, always start with the negative ones first.

Windshield Wipers and Fluid
The more you use your wipers, the faster they deteriorate. And this is especially true if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow or ice. To check your windshield wipers, set behind the steering wheel and activate the windshield fluid. The wipers should automatically work. Look for smears or streaks that interfere with your ability to properly see through the windshield. If your wipers make a loud scraping sound when operated, then you probably want to replace them. You can easily do this in about 15 minutes for less than $20. Be sure you get the right wipers for your car make and model. Check your wiper fluid as well by looking at the container under the hood of your car. You may need to open the lid to get a better look. You can get wiper fluid for less than $5.

These are quick vehicle checks every driver can do that only require some time and a little money to fix. Save money by performing these checks and repairs yourself!