You know your neighbor who’s always in the garage with the door up, working on all of his cars at once? Don’t you wish that you could fix your cars, too? Me neither. Sometimes, though, people like us get the itch to feel mechanically inclined. So, ladies and gentlemen, turn off your engines and get started on these quick tasks to keep your car in good shape.
1. Change Your Wiper Blades
Getting new wiper blades can definitely make a difference when the weather gets bad. And if you change them yourself, then it’s fairly inexpensive, too. Consult the product book or an employee at an auto parts store to get the right size.
To take the old blades off, you need to pull up the metal arm. Find the small plastic release tab, push it in and pull the blades down the arm, so they slide off the hook. It is important to keep the arm propped up, because if it slams onto your windshield, it could cause a crack. Take a new wiper blade and line up the attachment point with the hook of the metal arm. The point should slide into the hook. Repeat this on the other side.
2. Stop Rust Before It Starts
Rust is a mean thing, and once it starts, you have to call in reinforcements. So the best plan is to keep it from getting a foothold. Getting your car washed every two weeks is a start, but waxing it every four months is even better.
Before you wax, make sure that everything is cleaned off the surface of the vehicle. The wax is your choice, but synthetic polymer-based waxes work easiest and provide the best quality. Apply the wax with a microfiber towel in small, circular motions, working on one area at a time. Next, fold a towel in half and wipe the top layer away, then flip it over to wipe it clean.
3. Check and Top Off the Oil
Even if you get oil changes when the sticker on you windshield tells you, the oil level could still get low, potentially leading to some engine problems. Check your oil yourself to ensure your car runs well and that your car isn’t experiencing any leaks.
If the engine has been running, let it cool down for at least 10 minutes. Open the hood and locate the dipstick; refer to your vehicle owner’s manual. Pull it out and wipe off the end with a paper towel. Put the dipstick back in, then pull it out and take a look at its end. There should be two marks: max and add (or low). If oil is covering the space between those two, then you’re fine. If it’s below the add mark, add a quart of oil. The type of oil your vehicle needs can be found in the owner’s manual and often on the oil cap, which is circular and located on the top of the engine. Twist it off and pour in the oil. Before you do a victory dance, however, make sure to twist on the cap.
Ready for more? Check out these tips from Reader’s Digest for maintaining your vehicle.