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.


Car Maintenance Tips for a Busy Person - Vol.169

Any car needs regular maintenance and just taking a few minutes every week to take care of your car can make a big difference. So what can you do in between full services to extend your car's life and keep it running smoothly?

Making sure your tires are in order
First of all, it's very important to make sure that your tires are always in good condition as this is often one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to maintaining a car. Luckily, taking care of your tires is really easy: you only have to make sure that your tread depth and your tire pressure are in order. Tire pressure should ideally be checked once a week as this can vary a lot depending on temperature and not having a properly inflated tire can cause you a lot of problems.

You can find the recommended tire pressure either in the car's owner's manual or on the inside of the driver's door. After that, simply use a tire pressure gauge to find your tire's current pressure level and make sure to fill it up or release some air if needed. It's also very important to check the tread depth of your tires as it can be very dangerous to run on worn out tires. To check this, simply use a penny: put the coin in the tread, upside down, and you will know that you're good if Lincoln's head is covered by the tread.

Keeping your car's essential fluid levels in check
Keeping your car's essential fluids at optimal levels is another thing you can do to maintain your car and only a few minutes a week will extend your life's car, if done regularly. The first thing you should check is your oil level as this keeps your car running. It is recommended that you check your oil levels every time you fill-up your car and doing this is very simple. To do so, first make sure that your car is on level ground as this can mess up with the reading. After that, open the hood and locate the oil dipstick (it should see OIL or the oil icon on it) and pull it out. Wipe it clean with a paper towel and after that put it back in. Pull it back again and now you're going to do the actual reading. At the end of the stick, there should be two lines or holes and the oil level should be in between those two. If the oil line is above or below the lines, adjust accordingly. Also, it is very important to change your oil and your oil filter regularly. Check your owner's manual to find out when to change them and make sure to do it as soon as you reach that certain milestone.

Another essential fluid for your car is the engine coolant, which keeps the engine running at a safe temperature. First of all, check out your owner's manual to see where your coolant reservoir is and after that, it's simply a matter of taking a look at it. The semi-transparent bottle should have a pair of "low" and "high" markings and obviously, the coolant should be between those. Make sure to top it up if it's below the lower marking.

Exchanging your air filter
Finally, you have to make sure that your air filter is in working condition and you should change it every 12,000 miles. Changing an air filter takes less than a minute and it can be done without needing any tools. The air filter is located usually close to the engine in a black box with a big hose coming out of it. There are a few metal clips that keep the box closed and unclasping them reveals the air filter. If it's full of dirt and mud, it needs replacing. Just remove it and place a new one in its place and make sure to close the black box after that.

One last important thing to do is to perform full maintenance services when your owner's manual tells you to do so. Those are the basic guidelines to maintaining your car on a busy schedule and performing these simple operations regularly will save you a lot of headaches down the road.