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Car Maintenance and Repair: An Outline for any Driver to Understand (Easily)

Updated on April 6, 2013

Cars are one of the most important things in the world today, and have been for many decades now. Yet so many people who own and operate them, know very little about them, even held back by fear and uncertainty, blankly and naively staring when spoken to by a mechanic about their car. This does not have to be, nor should. Every person who has a car has the capacity to learn and know what it takes to maintain and repair it, to make it last, to get most use and time and miles out of it, and to keep the amount of money used for it lower, to where it should be. While cars can have certain complexities, the basics and most important and usual functions, repairs and maintenance is quite simple and easy to understand, or at least take action upon. And here I put this outline, that I have adapted from The Complete Idiots Guide to Car Care by Dan Ramsey, to provide a basis to have to fulfill this.


- OIL: Check level, color and cleanness

- TIRES: Visually inspect for low air, uneven wear, contamination, and damage

- UNDER THE HOOD: Quickly inspect for leaks, loose connections, contamination, damage, etc. (on battery, engine, fluid reservoirs such as oil, coolant, brake, transmission, etc.)

- GAS MILEAGE: Calculate (get receipt, then miles divided by gallons equals miles per gallon)


- FLUIDS: Check level, color and cleanness of power steering, brake, transmission, coolant, etc. fluids

- UNDER THE HOOD: Carefully inspect for leaks, loose connections, contamination, damage, etc. (on battery, engine, fluid reservoirs, condenser) and clean parts with damp rag

- TIRES: Check pressure with gauge and/or go to Tire Shop and get free check and filling to (34) psi


- OIL: change oil and oil filter


- TIRES: Rotate between 5,000-6,000 mi., generally, more or less depending on condition of tires (fwd=rears to opposite sides on front, & fronts to same side on rear) [inspect brakes, steering & suspension while tires are off]

- BRAKE SYSTEM: Inspect [while tires are off for rotation] for wear, contamination, and leaks

- STEERING AND SUSPENSION: Inspect [while tires are off for rotation] for wear, contamination, leaks & lube

- A/C AND HEATER SYSTEM: Remove guards under wipers & clean, check/replace cabin air filter from inside dash, use vacuum to clean contamination & sprays to clean system (before summer/winter=Apr./Oct.)


- AIR FILTER: Inspect for contamination, drop/vacuum, & replace (if very contaminated, old car, 12-15-20k mi.)

- TIRES: Rotate again, 5,000-6,000 miles

- BRAKE SYSTEM: Inspect for wear, contamination, and leaks

- COOLING SYSTEM: Inspect for loose connections, bubbles, cracks, holes, leaks, rust/contamination in liquid

- FUEL LINES: Inspect for leaks, cracks, rust, holes, broken brackets/straps

- BRAKE LINES: Inspect for leaks, cracks, rust holes, broken brackets/straps

- EXHAUST SYSTEM: Inspect for rust, holes, broken brackets/straps, soot

- PARKING BRAKE: Inspect/adjust

- ENGINE VALVES: Inspect/adjust


- SPARK PLUGS: replace, tuning to manufacturer’s specifications with wire feeler gage

- BELTS: Inspect for cracks, splits, contamination, and adjust/replace if necessary

- COOLANT: Flush and/or replace at 2-5 years depending on quality/warranty of coolant

- TRANSMISSION FLUID/FILTER: Flush and/or replace at 24-30k mi.


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    • Marina7 profile image


      5 years ago from Clarksville TN

      Great article. Just what I needed to know.


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