Car Engine and Other Systems Care Tips
1. Check engine oil at every other fill-up For an accurate reading, follow this procedure:
- Run or drive your car for about 15 minutes to warm the oil; then park the car in a level place.Turn off the engine and wait 15 minutes to allow the oil in the engine to drain back to the oil pan.
- Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with a paper towel or rag. Reinsert the dipstick, being sure to push it in all the way, then pull it out again to check the oil level. It should be somewhere between the hash marks on the dipstick.
- Add the type and amount of oil as specified in your owner’s manual, if necessary.
Tires, Wheels, and Brakes Care Tips
1. Keep the caps on You step out into driveway ready to start your morning commute only to discover a flat tire. How in the heck did that happen overnight? If the tire valve is missing its cap, the culprit might be a leaky valve. Those little caps keep out dirt and moisture that can cause leaks, so be sure to keep caps on all your tire valves. Another tip: When you replace tires, remind the tire shop that you expect new valves with the tires.
Car Interior tips for care include:
1. Park in the shade: Of course, a garage is always the ideal place to park your car. But if one isn’t available, minimize interior damage from UV sunlight and heat by always trying to park your car in the shade. If no shade is available or if you find parking under a tree results in bird droppings, use a car shade to minimize the sun’s impact. As a bonus, you’ll have a cooler car to step into on hot sunny days. Car shades come in two basic types: those that you unfold and place on the front windshield and rear window, or pleated types that attach to the windshield posts (with adhesive), window frames (with Velcro), or the windows themselves (with suction cups).
Motor oil can be a confusing beast that results in a number of questions. Do I really need synthetic? Does my new car take conventional? Understanding the basics of the different types of oil will help you answer these questions. Synthetic motor oils are designed to excel at extreme temperatures. Regular motor oils are mineral-based: they come from crude oil that is taken out of the ground and run through a refinery. Synthetics, on the other hand, are man-made in a chemical plant. They tend to be more consistent in viscosity over various temperatures.
While synthetics can improve your engine performance, they don't eliminate the need for regular oil changes. Synthetics can handle heat better than regular motor oil, but additives can only work for so long and the engine will still contaminate the oil.
You see those cryptic combinations of letters and numbers on motor oil bottles everywhere. What do they mean? To decipher them, you have to understand viscosity. Viscosity measures how much the motor oil can resist flow. In other words, if you tip a motor oil bottle over, how fast it spills out indicates its viscosity. The more viscous, the slower it moves.
To indicate viscosity, the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) developed a standard scale.
- 0W is thinnest ("W" stands for winter)
- 60 is thickest
The recommended multi-viscosity oil you use in your vehicle is usually good all year round because it can respond to a range of temperatures. That's why you see two numbers on most oils.
For example: 10W30
This means the viscosity is at 10W when the engine is cold and 30 when the engine is hot.
Low viscosities are good for cold temperatures (hence the "W" association) because the oil is thinner. Thinner motor oil flows more easily and moves quickly. When you start a cold engine up again, motor oil needs to travel to the top of the engine, where it trickles back down. Since motor oil is vital to lubricating your engine, it needs to move quickly and low viscosity helps it do just that.
When your engine heats up, higher viscosities mean the motor oil won't thin out too much and will keep parts separated by a film of oil. So your motor oil is always maintaining a delicate balance: it needs to flow well when the engine is cold but also retain enough body at higher temperatures to keep metal parts lubricated and separated.
To find out what motor oil grade is right for your vehicle, check your vehicle's owner's manual.
Octane. You see the word every time you visit the gas station but what does it mean? Octane ratings measure fuel's ability to resist engine knock. Engine knock is caused by fuel being ignited by something other than the spark plug.
If you are using an octane grade that is too low for your vehicle, something other than the spark plug can ignite the fuel in the engine. The engine could even get hot enough where the fuel explodes by itself.
What octane does your vehicle require? Check your vehicle's owner's manual. Don't upgrade to more expensive octane ratings unless your manufacturer recommends it.