Don’t top off - This is not just a foolish recommendation. When you top off the tank you are doing several things wrong. First, you are creating pollution that is harmful to you and those around you. Second, gasoline burns best when its turned into vapor. When you fill up the tank too far you fill a chamber that was meant for vapor not liquid. Liquid in this area can cause the chamber to fail, your vehicle to run poorly, and could mean a costly visit to the mechanic in your future.
Oil - Change your oil regularly according to your instruction manual. This will help to extend the life of your car as many times dirt, metal, and debris can often be found in used oil. If you change your own oil, take proper precautions; check the engine oil at every other gas up, don’t overfill your crankcase with oil, wipe the plug and washer to the oil pan
Washer fluid - People often run out of this essential fluid at the worst times. Snowstorms, rain storms, dusty roads…even just dirt collecting on the windshield can turn and everyday situation into a nightmare. Fill with the proper fluid as directed.
Coolant - Follow the directions given in your owner’s manual. Most engines need the water and coolant in a 50/50 ratio. Never use straight water in your radiator. Antifreeze prevents corrosion and freezing where the water allows for correct heat transfer from the coolant to the radiator. Some manufacturers offer coolant premixed, but just remember, you are trading convenience for water.
Transmission Fluid - Experts suggest checking and/or replacing transmission fluid at 5,000 miles and then every 25,000 or every two years after that. Consult your owner’s manual for confirmation. Don’t dismiss this suggestion. We may make certain recommendations, but each car is unique and your owner’s manual is the best place for the specific need for maintaining your vehicle.
Steering Fluid - Have you ever tried to steer a car that is out of power steering fluid? If you have you know you will never want to do that again. Low steering fluid can lead to the power steering pump going out. Yes, that’s bad. Use only the kind of fluid recommended by your owner’s manual.
Brake Fluid - If you change your own brake fluid, make sure to clean the master cylinder before opening it. Brake fluid can be easily contaminated and you want as little moisture and dirt in your fluid as possible. We know it goes without saying, but please don’t put other fluids in your brake fluid pump, even temporarily. Straight up brake fluid as instructed by your manual.
Be smart, be safe. Check your fluids regularly. Never guess or use the wrong fluids. When in doubt consult your manual or the knowledgeable folks at the Olympia Auto Mall. Happy driving!
For helpful advice on new or used cars in the Tacoma WA area, turn to the experts at the Olympia Auto Mall, your source for all things automotive.