Ve­hi­cle main­te­nance ad­vice

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

Be­low is a list of top car main­te­nance tips. You can per­form th­ese your­self to keep your ve­hi­cle run­ning in top shape be­tween ser­vices

Oil An en­gine is made up of a large num­ber of im­por­tant mov­ing parts, such as pis­tons, crank­shaft, valves and the camshaft to name a few. en­gine oil plays sev­eral im­por­tant roles in en­sur­ing that th­ese all work to­gether prop­erly.

oil is a lubri­cant; it re­duces fric­tion and wear that oc­curs when parts move against each other, for ex­am­ple be­tween the cylin­der liner and pis­ton ring, or the camshaft.

It as­sists in heat dis­per­sion and ab­sorbs heat pro­duced in the en­gine com­bus­tion cham­bers and pis­ton un­der crown area, cool­ing the en­gine and help­ing to pre­vent over­heat­ing.

As a sealant, mo­tor oil seals the space be­tween the pis­ton ring and the cylin­der liner to pre­vent com­bus­tion pres­sure and en­gine power from es­cap­ing.

oil is also a de­ter­gent and rust in­hibitor. It neu­tralises acids pro­duced by com­bus­tion gases, pre­vent­ing rust­ing, cor­ro­sion and dam­age to es­sen­tial com­po­nents.

easy to fol­low tips on oil: en­gine oil level should be reg­u­larly checked re­gard­less of ve­hi­cle age; only top up oil with cor­rect grade as spec­i­fied by man­u­fac­turer; when top­ping up oil do not ex­ceed the max­i­mum rec­om­mend level.

Tyres

Tyre care is es­sen­tial for main­tain­ing ve­hi­cle safety. Tyres should be checked on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and be­fore any long driv­ing trips. Cor­rectly main­tained tyres will im­prove fuel econ­omy, ex­tend tyre life and im­prove ve­hi­cle safety.

Tyre in­fla­tion should be checked ev­ery two weeks when cold, rec­om­mended pres­sure can be found in the owner’s man­ual. Ab­nor­mal wear pat­terns in­di­cate pos­si­ble wheel align­ment or sus­pen­sion prob­lems. Vi­bra­tions in the steer­ing in­di­cate the tyres may re­quire bal­anc­ing. Make sure that tyres have a min­i­mum of 1.6mm of tread depth.

Power-steer­ing

Power-steer­ing fluid should be checked reg­u­larly to en­sure it is filled to ca­pac­ity. The fluid can be checked via the reser­voir. For the spe­cific lo­ca­tion re­lat­ing to your ve­hi­cle please check your owner’s man­ual. only use the rec­om­mended oil for your car, this in­for­ma­tion can be found in your owner’s man­ual. Never over-fill the reser­voir.

Bat­ter­ies

The bat­tery is the key com­po­nent of your car’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem and the main cause of ve­hi­cle break­downs. A num­ber of sim­ple steps can be taken to en­sure your bat­tery is kept in op­ti­mum con­di­tion all year round.

Check bat­tery ter­mi­nals reg­u­larly to en­sure they are clean and tight. en­sure that the elec­trolyte level is cor­rect, if top­ping up only use dis­tilled wa­ter. Many newer bat­ter­ies are main­te­nance free and won’t re­quire top­ping up. Make sure the bat­tery is se­cure. If your bat­tery has not been re­placed in 3 – 4 years con­sider a re­place­ment as bat­tery fail­ures of­ten oc­cur with no warn­ing.

Lights and elec­tri­cals

lights are crit­i­cal for ve­hi­cle safety. elec­tri­cal com­po­nents in­clud­ing horns and win­dow demis­ters need to be checked as well to en­sure cor­rect op­er­a­tion on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Check you lights reg­u­larly to en­sure they work cor­rectly. only use the rec­om­mended globes, this in­for­ma­tion can be found in your owner’s man­ual. Check other elec­tri­cal com­po­nents i.e. horns, win­dow demis­ters reg­u­larly to en­sure cor­rect op­er­a­tion.

Cool­ing

Your ve­hi­cle’s cool­ing sys­tem is vi­tal to the op­er­a­tion of your ve­hi­cle. Driv­ing at free­way speeds and hot sum­mer days put a lot of stress on your ve­hi­cle’s cool­ing sys­tem. Ba­sic checks can as­sist in main­tain­ing your ve­hi­cle’s cool­ing sys­tem.

only in­spect your cool­ing sys­tem when the en­gine is cold. Never re­move the ra­di­a­tor cap when the en­gine is hot. Check coolant level reg­u­larly. only use the rec­om­mended coolant for your ve­hi­cle, this can be found in the owner’s man­ual. If your cool­ing sys­tem re­quires reg­u­lar re­fill­ing there may be a leak in the sys­tem.

Brakes

Brakes are a vi­tal com­po­nent of your ve­hi­cle. Poor brake per­for­mance and con­di­tion can re­sult in sub­stan­tially longer brak­ing dis­tances po­ten­tially plac­ing you and your pas­sen­gers in dan­ger. Squeal­ing brakes, grind­ing on your ro­tors or un­usual vi­bra­tions may in­di­cate your brakes need re­plac­ing. An­other sign of worn brakes is poor brake per­for­mance. en­sure that your ve­hi­cle’s brake fluid is full. Al­ways use the rec­om­mended brake fluid for you ve­hi­cle, this can be found in your owner’s man­ual.

Trans­mis­sions

Most trans­mis­sion work is best left to the ex­perts. How­ever, the fol­low­ing tips will help en­sure your trans­mis­sion operates cor­rectly. 1.En­sure that the trans­mis­sion fluid level re­mains filled to the cor­rect level, check owner’s man­ual for de­tails on check­ing lev­els.

2.En­sure fluid is not dis­coloured or burnt.

3.Al­ways use the cor­rect type of oil for your car, this can be found by re­fer­ring to your owner’s man­ual.

Sus­pen­sion

Main­te­nance of sus­pen­sion com­po­nents is vi­tal to en­sure ve­hi­cle safely. worn sus­pen­sion com­po­nents can in­crease your stop­ping dis­tance by up to 20 per­cent. In ad­di­tion prop­erly-func­tion­ing sus­pen­sion en­sures a more com­fort­able ride for pas­sen­gers.

Sus­pen­sion com­po­nents should be checked reg­u­larly for any signs of phys­i­cal dam­age and ex­cess wear. Shock-ab­sorbers should be checked for fluid leaks.

Check your sus­pen­sion when driv­ing for any ab­nor­mal­i­ties i.e. steer­ing wheel vi­bra­tion, nose div­ing when stop­ping.

— rac.com.au

If you look af­ter your car prop­erly, you will be far less likely to be hit by hefty re­pair bills in the fu­ture.

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