Required Dislosure: Some of the links in this site are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Car Repair Without A Man In The House

There are some things that men just seem to do better than women – keeping mechanical things running comes immediately to mind. If he’s no longer at home, and there is no one else to do them for you, how do you take care of the things he used to do? The answer is: One at a time and as needed, asking questions of friends, neighbors and family as necessary.

Car Repair and Service

All cars need routine maintenance to keep them running properly. If you’ve got a new car you should be on a regular maintenance schedule with a dealership. Best times for appointments are first thing in the morning. You can either wait while your car is being serviced or arrange a ride with a friend. Always insist upon a written estimate of the cost.

A car that is several years old will probably no longer be under warranty so you have several options as far as service and repair.

An invaluable “peace of mind” purchase is AAA or other road service membership. When you lock your keys in the car, have a flat tire, your battery suddenly goes dead, or your car breaks down in an inconvenient location, just get to a telephone and call for assistance.

Learn to pump your own gas. This is not a difficult thing to do. Pumping your own gas will save you up to ten cents or more per gallon of gas. So that you don’t end up with a car that’s low on oil or other fluids, go to the full service pumps at least once a month and let the attendant check the levels of the oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, radiator coolant, window washer fluid, plus check the fan belt and other engine belts. This service is well worth the additional cost per gallon of gas.

Become a regular customer at a gas station that does routine maintenance and repairs. Minor tune-ups, new tires, brake repair can all be done at a full service station.

Ask a male friend for his assistance (or any attractive male that you’d like to meet) if your car is not operating up to par.

Education is your best ally when having major service work done to your automobile. Enlist the aid of a knowledgeable friend.

Does your car leave puddles of fluid every place you stop? Put a sheet of newspaper under your car at night (NEVER when the car is hot!) and in the morning look at the spots. Clear water is probably condensed water from the air conditioner and not a cause for worry. Coolant is either green, yellow or a clear oily liquid and can indicate the radiator or hose is leaking or that you have a bad water pump – have this checked! A dark spot is motor oil leaking from your engine – have this checked! Transmission fluid is red – your car’s transmission seals may need to be replaced.

Want to check the fluids in your car? There are dipsticks in the engine for the oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluid. Look in your owner’s manual that came with the car to locate the position of each of these.

It’s not a bad idea to check the oil in your car every time you get gas. To check the oil, turn off the engine and wait a few minutes while the oil drains out of the engine and back into the crankcase. Pull out the oil dipstick, wipe it clean, put it all the way in and take it out again. The oil on the end of the stick should be somewhere between the marks for “Add” and “Full.” If it is on or below the “Add” mark, the engine is a quart or more low. Add one quart of oil, wait a couple minutes then check again. Do not overfill your car with oil.

Transmission fluid and power steering fluid levels can be a little trickier to check. Refer to your owner’s manual. Power steering fluid should be checked right after you turn off your car’s engine. Unless you’re having problems, you won’t need to check these levels any more frequently than every six months or 6,000 miles. If you are having problems you should have your service station or car dealership check the car. These levels also should be routinely checked when you have your car’s oil changed.

You can check the level of coolant in your radiator by looking at the coolant overflow tank. You will see marks indicating proper levels. You add coolant to the coolant overflow tank which then gets it to the radiator. If your car does not have a coolant overflow tank you will have to remove the radiator cap to check the fluid level. DO NOT REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP until the engine is turned off and has cooled down. NEVER remove the radiator cap if the radiator is overheated. Call for assistance.

Tires are expensive to replace. A little preventive maintenance can extend their life by thousands of miles, and increase gas mileage at the same time. An underinflated tire will cause uneven wear, reduce fuel economy and make driving dangerous.

Check your tire pressure every two weeks with a good quality air pressure gauge. Check also if you’re going on a long trip. Your owner’s manual will give the recommended inflation pressure for your car. The best time to check tire pressure is when the tires are cool.

Have your tires rotated and balanced regularly. Rotating the tires is a way to get more even wear of the tires. The owner’s manual, again, will give the recommended rotation period and pattern for rotation. (No, it isn’t as simple as moving them clockwise around the car.) If the tire is unbalanced, you will have vibration when you’re driving the car and uneven tire wear. Proper alignment is also important to prevent uneven tread wear.

Not hot enough to run the air conditioner? Turn the air conditioner on for a few minutes every week during the cool months. This will keep the system lubricated.

Make a habit of checking weekly to be sure your lights and signals and horn all work properly.

Does your car talk to you? Here’s what some of those sounds might mean:

  • “Click” – could be: loose or bent fan blade; loose hubcap; bad wheel bearing; oil level low; manifold heat-control valve.
  • “Squeak” – could be: worn suspension bushing; defective drum-brake lining; chassis in need of lubricating.
  • “Thud” – could be: exhaust pipe that’s loose; a loose pulley; worn crankshaft bearing.
  • “Squeal” – could be: wheels out of alignment; underinflated tires; loose or worn air conditioning compressor belt.
  • “Ping” (or knock) – could be: car needs a turn-up; gas may be too low an octane for the engine.
  • “Clunk” – could be: transmission fluid might be low; universal joint or rear differential may be defective.
  • “Screech” – could be: brakes.
  • “Hard Knock or Pounding” – We won’t even go into the could be’s. Get to a service station and have it checked.

Proper preventative maintenance will keep you several steps ahead of major car repair.

© Pat Gaudette