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Car Maintenance Tips


Contents :-

General maintenance

A well maintained vehicle speaks volumes about you as an owner. More importantly, it will not desert you when you need it most. Read on for tips on specifics.

Engine Oil: To prevent engine deterioration, it is imperative that the engine maintains the amount of oil it is programmed to receive. Negligence in this aspect will lead to a deteriorating engine performance, resulting in falling mileage.


Most Indian cars are made with an integrated circuitry system that use fuses. Knowledge of the system would help when you are stranded due to a blown fuse.

It is important for the lights to be properly focused, for your own and for the oncoming vehicle's safety. Travel on low beam so that it does not obstruct your view instead of helping you along.

Tyre Pressure:
The required amount of air pressure needs to be strictly maintained if your car is to get the right mileage and pick-up.

If your engine uses water for cooling, take care to ensure that it is regularly changed. Water can also be used for cleaning the windshield.

Some other tips...

• Get your vehicle serviced only at authorized service stations
• Check the engine oil level once every two weeks. Also check the levels of coolant and water in the radiator and battery.
• Always use genuine spare parts.
• Give your vehicle anti-rust coating before the monsoons.
• Avoid accelerating and braking abruptly.
• Shut up the engine whenever you expect to wait.
• Drive at a moderate speed of 45-55 km/h to maximize fuel efficiency.
• Use air-conditioning only when necessary.
• Avoid riding on the clutch pedal, and release the clutch pedal fully while driving.
• Maintain optimum air pressure in your tyre to improve mileage.

Preventive maintenance


Check it every month. Replace it when it becomes dirty or as part of a tune -up. It is easy to reach, right under the big metal 'lid', in a carbureted engine; or in a rectangular box at the forward end of the air in a duct hose assembly.



Extreme caution should be taken while handling a battery since it can produce explosive gases. It is advisable not to smoke, create a spark or light a match near a battery. Always wear protective glasses and gloves.


Inspect belts and hoses smoothly. Replace glazed, worn or frayed belts. Replace bulging, rotten or brittle hoses and tighten clamps. If a hose looks bad, or feels too soft or too hard, it should be replaced.

Brake Fluid

Check the brake fluid monthly. First wipe dirt from the brake master cylinder reservoir lid. Pry off the retainer clip and remove the lid or unscrew the plastic lid, depending on which type your vehicle has. If you need fluid, add the improved type and check for possible leaks throughout the system. Do not overfill.


Engine Oil

Check the oil after every fill up. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean. Insert it fully and remove it again. If it is low, add oil. To maintain peak performance, the oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Replace the oil filter with every oil change.


Look underneath for loose or broken exhaust clamps and supports. Check for holes in muffler or pipes. Replace the rusted or damaged parts. Have the emission checked at once per year for compliance with local laws.


Inspect the hoses and belts monthly. If a hose looks bad, or feels too soft or too hard, it should be replaced.


Make sure that all your lights are clean and working, including the brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers. Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your vehicle.

Oil Filter

To maintain peak performance, change oil every 3 months or 3,000 kms whichever comes first. Replace oil filter with every oil change.

Power Steering Fluid

Check the power steering fluid level once per month. Check it by removing the reservoir dipstick. If the level is down, add fluid and inspect the pump and hoses for leaks.

Shock Absorbers

Look for signs of oil seepage on shock absorbers, test shock action by bouncing the car up and down. The car should stop bouncing when you step back. Worn or leaking shocks should be replaced. Always replace shock absorbers in pairs.


Keep tyres inflated to recommended pressure. Check for cuts, bulges and excessive tread wear. Uneven wear indicates tyres are misaligned or out of balance.;

Transmission Fluid

Check transmission fluid monthly with engine warm and running, and the parking brake on. Shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe dry, insert it and remove it again. Add the approved type fluid, if needed. Never overfill.

Washer Fluid

Keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir full. Use some of it to clean off the wiper blades.

Wiper Blades

Inspect the windscreen wiper blades whenever you clean your windshield. Do not wait until the rubber is worn or brittle to replace them. They should be replaced at least once per year, and more often if smearing occurs.

Car maintenance

Acquiring a vehicle is a fairly easy task... the tough bit comes later. You are already late, but never mind. With the car at your disposal, long bus queues are passe. You'll be there, not exactly on time, but yeah, almost. Then, calamity strikes...the vehicle refuses to move...grunts, groans, fumes, and stops. Why, oh why... Maybe because you forgot that it too needs to be looked after, maintained, 'regular servicing...'were those the words?


The best and most efficient method of knowing about your car and keeping track of it is through the owner's manual which provides complete information on how to go about it. You can inspect your car every time you enter it, or on a daily or weekly basis or at intervals specified in the manual.

In this section, we deal with those facts that are not mentioned in the manual. A few while driving tips.

At times, strange smells may emanate from inside your car. The possible causes may be:

• Musty odours indicate the existence of some trapped water, usually under the carpet. This will ruin the carpet and also speed up corrosion. The proper solution would be to remove the carpets and dry up both the carpet and the floor.
• Smoky smells are of various kinds. Electrical smoky smells are the most dangerous and it is advisable to shut down, open the bonnet, disconnect the batteries and seek professional help. Other smoky smells may occur when the sound or heat proof lining inside the engine space burns. Trace the cause.
• Fuel smells occurs either when the fuel tank venting gets choked or if there has been an overflow.
• Sometimes, oil or exhaust smells from the engine occur. This maybe caused either due to too much engine oil, or if the engine oil has grown old and is burning, or if it has been overheated.
• A typical sweatish smell emanates when varnish is being burnt which occurs when your dynamo or alternator is about to pack up and would, usually be accompanied by flickering lights.
• Burning rubber smells tend to come when you drive with your brakes on. Overheated tyres may also be the cause.

Strange smells are an early warning signal that need to be heeded if much more time and money are to be saved later on.

Strange sounds

tend to be sidelined in the bustle and din of our roads, and by the car stereo playing in the background. However, if the problem persists, the car will make its condition known every time you take a corner or ride over a bump.

Some easily recognizable sounds are :

• Strange clicking while taking a turn from the front wheels means that the front shaft is about to fall apart. Get it fixed before it actually does.
• A fan-belt squeal means that another one is needed.
• Rhythmic clicks from the wheel indicate faulty bearings at worst or just large pebbles stuck in the tread pattern at the best.
• A change in engine tone usually indicates engine overheating, especially if you have been driving at constant speeds for a long time. Stopping or varying the engine speed should be enough if there is no severe problem. Otherwise, let the car cool down and then check radiator and water levels.
• Backfiring while normal driving means serious problems and should be properly investigated. Promptly.
• Engine knocks means that it is time to get into a lower gear. If it persists, however, it is time to get your engine and engine oil checked.

At times, your car give personal signals which can be deciphered by only the user. Strange 'hiccups' while driving indicate faulty fuel which would in turn cause faulty carb or fuel injector. If there is unequal or wrong air pressure in tyres, it is evident on braking. Unexplained shudders in braking indicate problems in suspension or linkages.

Finally, you can avoid strange repair bills if you have been going in for regular check ups!

Save on fuel

• Do not use the clutch too much.
• Switch the vehicle off at red light stops.
• Drive in gear corresponding to the speed.
• Get your vehicle serviced regularly.
• A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by up to 50%
• Driving at 90 kilometers an hour rather than 100 can reduce fuel consumption by 10%
• Under inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by 5%
• A loaded roof rack will increase fuel consumption by as much as 5% in highway driving.


• Even an empty roof rack can increase consumption by 1%. If the carrier is not attached to the vehicle, remove it when not in use.


• Avoid "Jack Rabbit" starts, not only do they increase fuel consumption, but are hard on your tires. Anticipating stops and avoiding abrupt stops will decrease fuel consumption and increase the life of your brakes and tires.
• Avoid unnecessary steering wheel movement since each sideward movement of the tire causes fuel-consuming drag.
• Maintain a steady speed.
• Accelerate slowly on gravel or slippery roads.
• Avoid unnecessary braking.
• Reviving the engine just before turning off the ignition costs extra fuel and may cause engine damage.
• Take advantage of rolling resistance rather than heavy braking to help slow you down. This deceleration technique is one of the best for fuel saving.
• Avoid using the air conditioner at lower speeds.
• Changing spark plugs regularly can save a lot.

Improve your engine performance

Increase displacement - More displacement means more power because you can burn more gas during each revolution of the engine. You can increase displacement by making the cylinders bigger or by adding more cylinders. 12 cylinders seems to be the practical limit. Increase the compression ratio - Higher compression ratios produce more power, up to a point.
The more you compress the air/fuel mixture, however, the more likely it is to spontaneously burst into flame (prior to the spark plug igniting it). Higher octane gasolines prevent this sort of early combustion. That is why high-performance cars generally need high octane gasoline - their engines are using higher compression ratios to get more power.
Stuff more into each cylinder - If you can cram more air (and therefore fuel) into a cylinder of a given size, you can get more power from the cylinder (in the same way that you would by increasing the size of the cylinder). Turbo chargers and super chargers pressurize the incoming air to effectively cram more air into a cylinder.


Cool the incoming air - Compressing air raises its temperature. You would like to have the coolest air possible in the cylinder because the hotter the air is the less it will expand when combustion takes place. Therefore many turbo charged and super charged cars have an intercooler. An intercooler is a special radiator through which the compressed air passes to cool it off before it enters the cylinder.

Let air come in more easily - As a piston moves down in the intake stroke, air resistance can rob power from the engine. Air resistance can be lessened dramatically by putting two intake valves in each cylinder. Some newer cars are also using polished intake manifolds to eliminate air resistance there. Bigger air filters can also improve air flow.

Let exhaust exit more easily - If air resistance makes it hard for exhaust to exit a cylinder, it robs the engine of power. Air resistance can be lessened by adding a second exhaust valve to each cylinder (a car with 2 intake and 2 exhaust values has 4 valves per cylinder, which improves performance - when you hear a car ad tell you the car has 4 cylinders and 16 valves, what the ad is saying is that the engine has four valves per cylinder). If the exhaust pipe is too small or the muffler has a lot of air resistance then this can cause back-pressure which has the same effect. High-performance exhaust systems use headers, big tail pipes and free-flowing mufflers to eliminate back-pressure in the exhaust system. When you hear that a car has "Dual Exhaust", the goal is to improve the flow of exhaust by having two exhaust pipes instead of one.

Make everything lighter - Lightweight parts help the engine perform better. Each time a piston changes direction it uses up energy to stop the travel in one direction and start it in another. The lighter the piston, the less energy it takes.

Inject the fuel - Fuel injection allows very precise metering of fuel to each cylinder. This improves performance and fuel economy.

Replace tyre

To change a tyre

To change a tyre is something most people are not keen on. Here we try to make it easy and as interesting for you. So that the next time you are involved in this fix, you will be out of it in a jiffy. Before you begin, make sure that



• The jack in your car is there
• There is a properly inflated spare tyre
• You have a lug wrench that fits your wheel
• Lug bolts

Down to the basics

After you have parked your car safely, put a couple of bricks or stones beneath the tyres to make sure that it does not roll down. Bring your jack, spare wheel and lug wrench to the work area. Loosen the nuts without having jacked up the car, to prevent the wheel spin on you. Turn counterclockwise to loosen the nut until it comes off. Next jack up the car. Remove the old wheel now. After having taken out the lug nuts, pull the wheel with your weight forward to prevent from falling backward. Adjust well the spare wheel in the threaded shafts so that they fit. Then tighten the nuts in the proper order. Lower the jack so that the tyre rests on the ground. Replace the hubcap or the plate.

Voila! You are ready to drive again.

Detect a brake problem

Brake problems vary greatly with the make and model of a car, the age of the car and other variables. If your car is experiencing brake problems, bring it to a mechanic. You may, however, be able to narrow down some of the possible problems yourself. Below are some general guidelines.

• Step off the brakes, with the car's engine turned off. A soft or mushy brake pedal indicates that you may be low on brake fluid, or may need to bleed your brakes.


• If it is safe, drive the car at low speed, braking as needed. You may need new brake pads, or to clean the brakes, if they squeal.
• In a clear area, step sharply on the brake pedal. If the brakes do not stop the car effectively, several things may be wrong, including worn pads, contaminated brake fluid or contaminated brake pads.
• If the brakes pull the car to one side, you may need to adjust the brake's clearance, may have to replace the pads or rotors, or may have insufficient hydraulic pressure in one part of the brake system.
• Begin driving forward slowly. If the brakes bind or drag, it may be due to grease on the pads or scored rotors. Visit a mechanic if you do not know how to fix brakes. Describe the car's performance to the mechanic in as much detail as you can. Check brake fluid regularly. If you have determined that your brakes are bad, avoid driving the car until they are fixed. Computerized brakes, which are standard in many cars, need to be fixed by a mechanic.

Detect a radiator problem

• When the car is cold, look at the radiator overflow.
• Open the radiator cap and look inside the radiator.
• If the radiator is empty, fill with antifreeze or water, and close the cap. The overheating problem may be caused by problems.
• Flush the radiator if it is not empty but the water is rusty. You may need a new radiator if that does not correct the problem.
• If it is leaking, flush the radiator and treat with a commercial radiator sealant. You may need a new radiator if this does not correct the problem.


• Look at both the lower and upper radiator hoses located at the top and bottom of the radiator on the backside and held by hose clamps.
• Make sure the hoses are securely clamped to the radiator and are not leaking.
• See a mechanic if the car is still overheating.

Detect an alignment problem

• Check tyres for proper inflation. Pressing a tire gauge onto the valve of each wheel and comparing the reading to the recommended pressure printed on the tyre's sidewall can do this.
• Add air as needed.
• Check for uneven wear in the tread. Drive to a mechanic and ask for the alignment to be checked and adjusted if the tread is worn unevenly.
• With a jack, lift the car and place the front end on jack stands.
• Hold one front wheel by its top and bottom. Shake the wheel to check for looseness. If loose, take it to a mechanic and ask for wheel bearing service.
• Take the car off the jack stands and drive it on a road with little traffic.
• Watch out for any drift in the steering. Remove your hands from the wheel momentarily if necessary to check the drift.
• If the car drifts or the tyres have uneven wear, it is advisable to take the car to a mechanic for alignment without further examination. While you are having the alignment checked, ask your mechanic to check the ball joints for wear.

Detect an engine problem


• Check tyres for proper inflation. Pressing a tire gauge onto the valve of each wheel and comparing the reading to the recommended pressure printed on the tyre's sidewall can do this.
• Add air as needed.
• Check for uneven wear in the tread. Drive to a mechanic and ask for the alignment to be checked and adjusted if the tread is worn unevenly.
• With a jack, lift the car and place the front end on jack stands.
• Hold one front wheel by its top and bottom. Shake the wheel to check for looseness. If loose, take it to a mechanic and ask for wheel bearing service.
• Take the car off the jack stands and drive it on a road with little traffic.
• Watch out for any drift in the steering. Remove your hands from the wheel momentarily if necessary to check the drift.
• If the car drifts or the tyres have uneven wear, it is advisable to take the car to a mechanic for alignment without further examination. While you are having the alignment checked, ask your mechanic to check the ball joints for wear.

Car do’s and don’ts

Do Don’t
Clean condenser during normal service of the car Dirty and clogged condenser results in A/C tripping and less cooling. Do not use A/C with fresh mode open. This will lead to mixing of outside air with cool air inside thereby reducing cooling effect.
Maintain proper refrigerant level. Less refrigerant results in less cooling. Excessive refrigerant results in less cooling. Do not operate with A/C on. This will result in mixing of hot air with cool air.
Add at least 20 CC of DENSO-6 oil to the compressor during refrigerant charging. Adequate quality of compressor oil prevents poor pumping and premature wearing of internal components. Do not operate A/C without refrigerant in the system. This will result in premature failure of compressor.
Clean evaporator properly to remove dust and foreign particles. Clogged evaporator results in less air flow and reduced cooling. Do not leak check the A/C system with more than 20KG/CM2 pressure. Higher pressure may result in damage to A/C components.
Adjust fresh air and heater cable properly to close damper’s firmly. Unadjusted cable will result in mixing of hot air with cool air. Do not leave A/C joints open. Moisture tends to enter the A/C system if the joints remain for a long time.
Refer to the owner’s manual on proper usage of A/C controls. Proper usage of A/C control will give optimum cooling. Do not charge refrigerant in the A/C system without carrying out proper vacuum. Improper or no vacuuming of the A/C system results in less cooling conditions.
Adjust proper engine RPM. Less rpm will result in stalling of engine and less cooling.
Check coolant level and ensure proper engine tuning. This will prevent overheating of the engine.
Check position of accelerator cut off switch in 1000cc cars. Improper position of accelerator cut off switch will result in tripping.
Check proper belt tension. Loose belt will slip and overtight belt will result in noise and premature failure of magnetic clutch of the compressor.

Car Paints

Car Paints - Do’s & Don’t’s

Do - Always use wet cloth for wiping the car, after rinsing the paint surface with water first
Don't - Never wipe dust off your car with a dry cloth or duster

Do - Wax your car after it's been washed, to avoid sealing in the dirt
Don't - Do not wash, polish or wax your car in the sun when the sun is hot. It could streak or stain the paint surface

Do - For car covers use natural fabrics that breathe, like cotton. Make sure the car cover is secure
Don't - Never use vinyl or plastic car covers in humid conditions. They trap moisture and could cause fungus.

Do - Always use soft (normal) water to wash your car.
Don't - Do not use hard water (which contains minerals). It will leave a film on paint surface.

Do - Use car shampoos or polishes to wash your car.
Don't - Never use laundry detergents or similar harsh soaps to wash your car. Harsh soaps will remove any protective wax plus the paints oil, which will dry out the paint and make it look flat.

NOTE: Do not use any polish or wax on the car’s paint surface before checking your owner’s manual regarding recommended treatment.

Do - For acrylic finishes, use non-abrasive liquid polishes specifically designed for such finishes.
Don't - Never use polishing or rubbing compounds on paints with a clear acrylic coating, the coating will become dull.

Do - Use rubbing compounds only when the paint surface is extremely oxidized (chalky) and does not shine, even after wax has been applied.
Don't - Abrasive cleaners are extremely dangerous and can easily remove the paint & primer, leaving bare metal.

Do - Choose light colors, they retain their brilliance over the years than dark colors do.
Don't - Dark colors are more susceptible to oxidation from the sun.

Do - Use covered parking or shade wherever possible.
Don't - Avoid parking the car in the sun for an extended period of time. It will cause the paint to blister.

Do - Immediately touch up paint blemishes with the appropriate color and type of automotive paint. Consult your vehicle specification sheet for correct paint.
Don't - Do not let Paint chips go unattended. Exposed metal could begin to rust when exposed to water and salt.

NOTE: Be careful about using silicone-based wax. The wax penetrates all layers of paint. Paint touch ups are more difficult in this case.

What do you do to restore the gloss of your paint?

Wash and dry your car Always use high quality polishes containing mild abrasives. If your paint has a white, hazy look, to remove the top layer of dead paint, follow the instructions on the polish box. Use rubbing compound only in case of extreme paint oxidation.
If the paint is dull and has no shine, apply a chemical cleaner to gently remove the dead paint layer. Wax your car immediately after polishing or cleaning it, in order to protect the newly exposed paint layer. This slows the process of oil evaporation from the new paint layer and maintains the shine.

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