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Maintenance Tips

1. Found a critter in your car?? Gross! Put a dryer sheet on top of your engine or cabin air filter and send them running for the woods. NOTE: Not all cars have a cabin air filter.

2. Can’t find your oil cap? Did you know that OIL upside down looks like 710? Need to know how to check your oil?

3. Keep that owner’s manual in your car! You never know when you are going to need it.

4. If you live in a cold climate, there are special washer fluid mixes that come with anti-freeze characteristics that prevent freezing on your windshield.  This is especially helpful when you are driving in traffic on the expressway.

5. Check your coolant once per year (preferably in the fall) or before traveling to a colder climate.  You can also purchase all season antifreeze.  Also, visually inspect your radiator, hoses, and coolant reservoir for leaks and make sure any coolant you add, will stay in your car.

6. If your vehicle is in the low oil range, it may take as little as ¼ of a quart to reach the full mark.  There is no need to rush out and buy a case of oil.  It shouldn’t take any more than ½ to one quart of oil to reach the full range.

7. Keep a quart of new oil nearby in your garage or trunk.

8. Your front brakes do about 75% of the work to get your car stopped, so it’s normal to replace them more often.

9. Newest findings show that a clean air filter will increase the effectiveness of your acceleration, not your gas mileage.

10. If your battery’s posts are corroded, you can pour baking soda and water on them and it will look better, but it isn’t really doing much good.  You really need to take the battery apart for the cleaning to make a difference in how the battery runs.  Cleaning the outside might make you feel better, but that’s about it.

11. Some mechanics will try to get you to change your transmission fluid by pointing out that your fluid smells burnt and is discolored.  Transmission fluid always smells burnt and will always turn from red to brown.  Over time, the red dye that is used in the fluid will turn to brown.  This does not mean that you need to change your fluid.  Change your transmission fluid based on your car’s maintenance schedule.

12.  When you are putting your tire back on, lower the jack so it lines up with the tire.  There is no reason to have to lift the tire, especially if it’s a full tire and not just a donut.

13. If your lock is frozen, use a lighter or a match to heat the key briefly. Then put it into the lock and turn gently. You can also use a lock de-icer or if you are near an outlet, grab your trusty hair dryer and get to work.

14. You can buy a cigarette lighter powered impact gun at Walmart that you can keep in your car to use if you need to change a flat tire.

Number 8 and Number 21 are the same tip

15. Many supercenters have an auto parts department that will have a guidebook where you look up the correct parts for your car.

16. Before you decide your oil pump is bad, make sure you have the correct oil in your engine.  This can sometimes cause the oil pressure to drop.

17. Even if you can’t see where to insert your smart key on your car, there is ALWAYS a place to manually unlock your doors. It is where you would expect it to be on a “regular” car, there is just usually a plastic cover over the cylinder.

18. Moisture in your tires can corrode your wheels. Inflating your tires with nitrogen helps maintain tire pressure and prevents wheel corrosion because it has less moisture than regular air.

19. If your headlights are beginning to become increasingly more yellow while you are driving, then your alternator might be going bad. The yellowing happens because there is a reduction in the voltage to your lights.

20. Be aware when you get your battery replaced, about 50% of the time, within 6 months, your alternator will also need replaced.

21. Don’t replace your struts and shocks just because of high mileage. If a trained technician or service consultant you trust gives you a viable reason to replace them, then go ahead and do it.

22.  If your car is cranking and will not start, it probably isn’t your battery and you should not bother trying to jump-start your vehicle.

Money Saving Tips

1. Even if your warranty is voided or outdated, if something goes wrong on your car, call the manufacturer, you would be surprised by how often they will pay for your repair.

2. Make sure your car manufacturer has your current contact information.  If there is a common problem with a vehicle model, the manufacturer will sometimes extend the warranty. For example, if a certain model has fuel pump problems, they may warranty any fuel pump failures for 5 years or every 100,000 miles. Whether you buy your car used or new from a dealership, call your manufacturer and make sure they have your most current info so you don’t pay for something that you could have gotten for free!

3. There are many ways to get roadside assistance that includes towing.  Auto insurance plans can often add towing for a small fee. Companies like AAA offer towing, new vehicles may have it included with the warranty package, and even cell phone companies like Verizon offer towing coverage.  It’s worth checking out!”

4. If you are a Costco member, they will fill up your tires with nitrogen for FREE!

5. Harder tires will get better gas mileage than a soft tire. Soft tires have better handling, but with gas prices skyrocketing, consider if hugging the road is worth the cost.

6. If you are facing an extremely expensive repair (especially in dealing with an engine or transmission), ask if a rebuilt part is available.  Often rebuilt parts come with warranties AND can cost less than repairing the existing part.

7.  If you own a car that requires regular gasoline, it is a complete waste of money to put premium in your tank.

8. Most dealerships will check your tire pressure for free.

9. Make sure you don’t pay more than MSRP for any part. MSRP is the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. You can usually find the MSRP through an internet search. If your dealership or mechanic is charging more, see if they will match it. If not, go somewhere else.

10. If you purchase your windshield wipers from your dealership, those wipers are made specifically for your car, making them easier to install. Most dealers will put your windshield wipers on for free if you buy them at the dealership.

11.If you take your car into a dealership for a problem, do not start out by authorizing a $100 diagnostic inspection. The issue could be something that is very easy to detect. Start with a free multi-point inspection.

12. If your warranty is expired, you may be eligible for a goodwill warranty from your manufacturer.

Safety Tips

1. Always take the keys out of the ignition when working on a car.

2. Don’t wear your jewelry when working on your car.

3. Keep a can of fix-a-flat in your vehicle. It will help you if you ever get a flat tire and need to get back on the road and to a service station quickly.

4. Remember to carefully watch your speed while driving on a donut tire, you should not drive over 50 miles per hour. If you have a full size spare, make sure that your tire is tightened properly before approaching speeds above 50 mph.

5. Stick to actual windshield wiper fluid. Windshield wiper fluid is specifically designed not to freeze in the winter, a very important safety feature!  A regular glass cleaner such as Windex may strip the wax off of your car and harm any tint you have on your windows.

6. Make sure that your spare is in good shape before a long trip! A full service dealership should check your spare for you as part of a multi-point inspection. If you have a spare tire that is mounted under the vehicle, ask the technician to crank it down for you. You need to be sure that the cranking mechanism works.

7. Do not swerve to avoid any animals that end up in front of your car when you are driving. We know this goes against every instinct in your body, but it could save your life. Random fact: The exception to this rule is if the animal is a moose, their size makes them more dangerous.

8. If your car starts to slide on the ice, try to turn SLIGHTLY in the direction that your car is sliding. Try not to turn against the slide if you have enough room to do so. Attempt to regain traction before you start moving back in the other direction. Read more about the most common mistakes people make while driving in the winter.

9. If you live in a cold climate, there are special washer fluid mixes that come with anti-freeze characteristics that prevent freezing on your windshield. This is especially helpful when you are driving in traffic on the expressway.


If you have lost a cap on your tire inflation valve, mention it at your next oil change and the technician will probably replace it for your for free. More ways to tell if you have a tire pressure issue.