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5 things everyone can check to keep their car running great

Published on January 18, 2012 under Humble Mechanic

Today I want to give everyone 5 things that they can check on their own cars.

These are really quick and easy checks. With some practice, it will take about 5 minutes to complete. Consider doing these checks when filling your car up with fuel!

TIRES
Checking tires is pretty easy. I recommend turning your steering wheel all the way to the right or to the left(it doesn’t matter which way). This will allow you to check the condition of both front tires. You will be looking for any strange tire wear. The colors on the tires below show what it should not look. Be sure to check your tire pressure. The tires should be cold to get an accurate reading.

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WIPER BLADES
This one is easy. If they do not clear the windshield properly, just replace them! Please do not wait until the look like this!

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LIGHTS
I recommend doing this with your car running, so you will not drain the battery. Just turn the lights on, take a walk around the car and make sure they work! Be sure to look at the license plate lights too. You can check the turn signals inside the car. If they blink at normal speed, they should be fine. You will need a helper to check the brake lights!

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FLUIDS
This is the part that you might get a little dirty. Make sure you have a clean towel or a paper towel. Most cars coolant(antifreeze) can be judged by looking through the bottle. If you have a VW, it is pink and the bottle it is in is clear. To check the oil, be sure your car is on a level surface. Remove the dipstick, clean the oil off, and reinstall the dipstick. Now, put the dipstick back in, remove it again and look to see how much oil is on the stick. There will be indicator marks on the stick to tell you where the level should be.
Also, check the brake fluid and power steering fluid. Please make sure that the windshield washer fluid is correct for the season.

WINDOWS AND MIRRORS
This one is pretty important. Always make sure your windshield and rear window are clean. It will totally make driving at night better. It also goes with out saying, make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted and clean.

Side note, if you are my customer, just bring it to me, I will do it for you!

Is this stuff everyone checks? Post up what you think in the comments!!

Oh, another side note, I wrote this whole post including pics on my phone. If the format is goofy, that is why. I am still working out the kinks, but I wanted to get this post up for you guys!

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4 Comments

  1. Mustang

    Good article, please advise folks not to top off their brake fluid.
    If brake fluid is low, get a professional to check your system for leaks, or check the pads (or shoes if you’re whip is old enough). If you top off the fluid, then put on new pads, you’ll end up with a mess!

    1. Humble Mechanic

      That is a GREAT point! I have done a few other posts regarding brakes and brake fluid. I think that point about the fluid level is something I take for granted. (why else would the fluid be low?)

      One of the great things about this blog, is I get back to some basics that are lost in the day to day of working on cars!

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