What should a person know about car maintenance?


Old 05-19-10, 07:56 PM
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What should a person know about car maintenance?

I have my first car, and I really want to be responsible about maintaining it. I am, by no means a car buff, expert, or pseudo-mechanic, but what types of maintenance should I know about? I don't want to be one of those people who has to only rely on what the mechanic says, and risk being out of a lot of money. So, to the experts out there, what should I know?
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Old 05-19-10, 08:26 PM
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Follow the recommendations in your owners manual. The manufacturer knows more about the vehicle then anyone else. Most manuals have service intervals listed in excess of 100K miles.
Old 05-20-10, 04:29 AM
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I'd recommend getting a Haynes [or similar] repair manual. Between it and the help you get here, you should be able to do all the maintainence yourself [if you want to ]

Many of us have learned as we did.... it's also a great excuse to start or increase your tool selection
Old 05-20-10, 04:48 AM
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Don't be insulted, but you might pick up a copy of Auto Repair for Dummies or similar self-help books. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Car Care and Repair is another. Back in the stone ages of computer development I relied on the Dummies series to learn a lot on that subject. These are well-written books that do a pretty good job of explaining things in easy to understand language and with a little humor thrown in. Dummies also has a website:

Auto Repair and Maintenance - How-To Help and Videos - For Dummies

And my one tip? Don't let the quick-lube places sell you a bunch of unneeded services or products every time you go in for an oil change; and the majority of what they push is unneeded. Especially stay away from any service with the word "flush" in it.

Second tip? Find a good mechanic before you need one. Ask family and friends about trusted garages/mechanics.
Old 05-21-10, 09:50 PM
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You did say FIRST CAR, didnt you???? I will assume that this is not a brand new Vehicle???? Giles has it right......So if you dont have an Owners manual, Find one....E-bay, The MFR's home page....Theyre around if your willing to look.

Haynes and Chiltons are good, But......They can be a bit "Vague" , especially if they cover several models, or even worse, more than 5 or 6 years of the same model.

Now, I know they arent cheap, but the factory service manuals are available for Virtually EVERYTHING ever built on 4 wheels.....Sometimes even 2 or 3, or 6 and 8. They arent as technically written as you think. Quite contrary...They are actually written for the complete Idiot to follow.

They will also have the maintenance schedules and relevant Data sheets in the book.
Contrary to popular belief......The "B" or "Severe" service schedule is not always the best Route to take, so look over the schedules and recommendations and judge Your schedule by YOUR driving conditions. I'll probably catch someones wrath... But One step worse than not changing your oil, is Changing it too soon. Dont think that its better to schedule 1500 mile oil changes when 3000 is recommended. Wasted money , wasted time and wasted product. Oil needs sufficient time to do its job, so if you change it too often, it never completes its Tasks. (I do differ with MFR's who suggest 5000 or 7500 mile changes, But thats another story altogether....They Designed it, so there must be a method to the Madness).......
Old 05-22-10, 11:37 AM
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In the Haynes manuals, you eill find it is obvious that some parts were written by lawyers. Why would you disconnect the negative battery cable to change the brake pads?
Old 05-22-10, 03:20 PM
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Assuming the vehicle has ABS, Technically you Should disable the electrical system. With 0Volts and no ground, the solenoids are at "REST-Position" , and when the calipers are compresssed, the fluid "Absolutely, positively, cannot be backfed into the system.

Although I have Never disconnected a battery for brake work, That is the logic behind the madness.
Old 05-22-10, 03:58 PM
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Are there any truly good fuel additives out there there that are proven to work, to keep (or even restore)the fuel system clean and injectors in tip top shape? So much so, in fact, that if you ever had an injector problem you could rule out the fuel, and concentrate on a mechanical or electrical failure with them?
Old 05-22-10, 05:37 PM
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There is only one that I have had good results with, and that is "TECHRON". Unfortunately, its usually too expensive for consumer use. They do make additive bottles for the public, but the stuff I have used is pressure injected into the system. I would assume by reputation that the basic formula for the two is relatively close.

Last edited by Unclediezel; 05-22-10 at 07:31 PM.
Old 05-22-10, 06:09 PM
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It is amusing going to the parts store at different times and asking different clerks (no insult intended) which is the best one. Lucas seemed to work pretty good but kinda expensive ( about 5X the price of STP).
Old 05-29-10, 07:31 PM
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I would say to Jason at least get a Chilton manual and learn the basics of automobile systems. Also, know about changing fluids and filters. This is important.

I'd like to add to the commentary on TECHRON. My mechanic has 30 years experience. He tells me only use Chevron gas with TECHRON. He claims Techron is the only fuel injector cleaner that is proven to work

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