The Sunday News
WE are going through a rough patch at the moment, cars are the last thing on anyone’s budget.
They are essential and require every little attention you can give them. You take care of them, they take care of you. It’s as simple as that.
As the economy takes a dive, a lot of people will find it easier to do a lot of things themselves, we call it “Do it Yourself” or DIY. Here’s a simple guide on what a service really entails.
First of all, this is a specialised field and by all means require qualified personnel. Car dealerships have qualified personnel, specialised machinery and required tooling for this kind of work.
Their personnel is trained and well acquainted with all new technologies that come with new cars.
As much as it is expensive for some, it is recommended that you take your car to the professionals. Do not experiment with your car if you are not quite sure or if you are not that much tech savvy and remember if you do decide to DIY you do it at your own risk.
The easiest of them all to do is a basic service which is basically an oil change and change of filters.
With a basic service, you will need engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter and spark plugs if necessary. The oil filter cleans and traps all the contaminants and dirt in the oil.
Every time oil is changed the oil filter must be changed or else it will contaminate new oil. The oil change process includes draining old oil by loosening the drain plug and removing the old filter with a filter wrench.
Ideally, you want to drain all old oil into a pan for safe keeping or disposal. Oil contaminates the environment and water systems so it is up to you and me to make sure we dispose of harmful chemicals like used oil the proper way.
Over time, fuel tanks get dirty and sometimes you may be sold dirty fuel for whatever reason.
The filter filters out all the dirt in the fuel so that contaminants do not find their way into the engine. With older cars, filters used to be hidden in plain sight, you could easily identify them. Lately car manufacturers have decided it’s a sin for people to easily have access or to see these components.
It’s a hassle to identify and change them when the need arises. When changing fuel filter you will definitely get into contact with fuel. Make sure there’s no naked flame anywhere, it’s a recipe for disaster on its own.
The air filter essentially does the same thing as the other filters, it cleans the air going into the engine. Dirt in any of these areas can invite engine trouble.
You may need to change filters or clean them regularly if you do a lot of travelling in dusty roads. Once the service is done, you may need engine cleaner to clean all the dirt or oils off the engine.
The transmission is equally important, it may not require frequent oil change as the engine does but it is good to check oil level and condition.
It’s also good to always use the correct transmission fluid for your kind of transmission. Remember Automatic Transmission Fluid is wine red in colour, when you see it change to brownish or any other colour that means it needs changing.
Other transmissions like CVTs also have their own special kinds of transmission fluid, don’t confuse them to automatic. Manual gearboxes are like those children that don’t cry for attention, they can play with themselves and are not cry babies — catch my drift?
Service also entails checking steering components for wear and replacing when necessary.
Dust boots wear out over time and suspension components need to be kept clean and well lubricated. Service technicians therefore check, lubricate, and grease where there is need with every service. CV joints and drive shafts suffer from premature wear if they are not well lubricated and sealed with proper dust boots.
Rear wheel drive cars with differentials need gear oil check and top up if necessary. Running them dry will only lead to one thing — Premature Failure! The tyres are also checked for wear. It should be even wear and tear. Uneven wear indicates a problem with the suspension.
Different cars have different services intervals from 5 000-10 000 and some even have 30 000km service intervals. It will also depend on the type of oil you use.
You will need to know what your manufacturer’s service interval is and the recommended oil type and stick to it like a tick.
By so doing you not only increase the lifespan of your vehicle but you also increase safety on the roads. Stay Safe – Happy motoring!
@lovert116 – Automart Used Spares Centre – Quality Used Japanese Spares -+263 772 33 99 38 – [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> – Facebook: @automartusc