Since summer is coming, you’ll definitely want you car safe from overheating. Thus checking your cooling system and diagnosing if it has a problem should be done immediately. Here are some of the steps that you can do to check your cooling system. The things you will need are: radiator sealant, antifreeze, water.

Read the engine temperature gauge. If it reads too warm, then your car is overheating, and most likely the engine coolant system has a problem.

· A low coolant level causes overheating problems.

· Check the coolant level at the radiator overflow/plastic coolant reservoir tank to see if you’re low on coolant.

· Open the radiator cap and look inside the radiator when the engine is cold.

· Fill the radiator with antifreeze or water if it’s empty, and close the cap. Secure that the cup is closed tightly.

Examine common leak points, such as the large hoses that come out of your radiator and the hose connection points to your car’s engine. Your coolant system will not work efficiently if coolant is leaking.

· Look at both the lower and upper radiator hoses located at the top and bottom of the radiator on the back side and held by hose clamps. Ensure that the hoses are securely clamped to the radiator. Look for signs of leaks because this part is usually prone to leaks. If you have detected leaks, repair it immediately.

· Touch both the upper and lower radiator hoses when the engine is warm and the car is turned off. They should both be warm. If one is cold, you may have a thermostat that’s stuck closed.

· Use the palm of your hand to feel the outside of the radiator from top to bottom when the engine is warm and the car turned off. It should be warm to the touch evenly throughout. If there’s a cold section, you may have a radiator that’s internally blocked.

Keep an eye under the car for puddles of liquid. If the liquid is sweet-smelling, this could indicate that a leak has occurred in the engine cooling system.

· Check under the car, inspect the radiator and look around the engine compartment for telltale signs of a coolant leak. The coolant is greenish, slippery and sweet-smelling. If there are sign of leaks repair it immediately.

Wait a few days and check the level again to see if you have lost any more coolant. If you have, continue to look for leaks and cracks in hoses and around hose connection points.

Visit your mechanic if you know there’s a leak but can’t find it. A mechanic can detect

Warning: Have your engine cool after before you have in contact with the cooling system parts.

[source: eHow]

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It is better to diagnose a break problem earlier than to experience losing control of your brakes along your travel. Here are some measures on how to identify some of the break problems in your car.

  • Check the brake fluid if the brake light is on.
  • A high pitched scraping or squealing noise that goes away when you step on the brake tells you that the brake pads are worn — only detected when there is a wear sensor attached on breaks.
  • Note that a grinding, metal-against-metal sound when braking indicates that: Your brake pads or shoes are completely worn and you are now ruining the rotors or drums. You should check your breaks earlier.
  • If the brake pedal is soft or mushy or gets harder and higher when you pump it, you might need to bleed the brakes.
  • Take note: You might be in need of a new brake master cylinder if the brake pedal slowly sinks to the floor when you step on it.
  • If the brakes squeal, you might need new brake pads while your drive your car at low speed and you step on the brakes, the brake rotors might need to be resurfaced or machined.
  • You might have insufficient hydraulic pressure in one part of the brake system, or one brake might be sticking if your car pulls to one side when braking. Front-end problems can also cause this symptom.
  • If you feel a pulsation when stepping on the brake pedal, particularly when braking at higher speeds you rotors might be defective. Your car might have warped brake rotors. The rotors will need to be either machined or replaced.
  • Once your car has smoking brakes which is usually accompanied by a very bad smell it indicates a stuck brake caliper or wheel cylinder. It may also be caused by driving with the hand brake on or by a stuck hand-brake cable.

Cleaning car’s engine is important to keep it operating at its best. That is why you need to keep it in good shape all the time. You need to clean it regularly to avoid damage that can affect engine operation.

Remember that in doing engine cleaning you need to have a good place to work it. This should not be done in your yard. The grease and the degreaser are harmful to the environment and will kill your grass.

The things you need when doing engine cleaning: engine degreaser, water, and rags

The first thing you need to do is to protect the electrical parts. Cover the distributor with plastic because this part is usually having wires coming off it and going to the spark plugs. There are some vehicles with no wires because they have a coil sitting on top of each spark plug. You need to cover these parts because if this gets wet, you will not be able to start your car for quite a while. You may even short the computer. Also you need to cover the sensors. You may not be able to find them all, but many of the sensors are not bothered by a little water. The sensors MAP or MAF located in the air intake should also be protected from water.

After covering the electrical parts, you can now spray the walls of the engine compartment and the bottom of the block with an engine degreaser. Then when you are rinsing the compartment, you need to do it carefully. Do not splash water on the top of the engine. Again with the use of a degreaser sprayed on the rag, start going over the top parts of the engine. You might have to scrub vigorously, depending on the amount of grease. But the top of the engine is normally just grimed up with dust and dirt and should easily come clean.

After you applied ample amount of degreaser on the engine parts, use a clean rag, soak it and squeeze out excess water. Don’t forget to wipe up the degreaser from the previous step. If you still have a lot of grease on your engine, go over the steps again. You can scrub some spots with stubborn grease again and again until such time that it is completely gone. You may use an abrasive sponge, but be careful not to scratch your engine. Warning: Do not use abrasives on chrome.

Then the last thing you need to do is to inspect the engine assembly if there are spots which needs to be cleaned; carefully remove the covers in the electrical parts. You need to test you engine after cleaning it. See the difference of a clean engine when operating. You’ll surely experience great performance!

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) provided checklist for car owners residing in areas with cold climates to do necessary maintenance in keeping their vehicles in shape. Hope what I have shared to you today would help you in keeping your vehicle perfectly working.

The first step on the checklist is to read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.

Engine Performance:

  • Fix your engine’s drivability problems by sending your car to a trusted repair shop.
  • Replace dirty filters.

REMEMBER that cold weather will make existing problems worse.

Fuel

  • Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line.

REMEMBER: gas tank that’s kept filled helps prevent moisture from forming in the first place.

Oil

  • Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual.

SUGGESTION: if your driving is mostly stop and go or you always go on short trips, you have to change it often every after 3,000 miles or so.

Cooling System

  • The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended.
  • The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. RECOMMENDED mixture of coolant is 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water
  • The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a certified auto technician.

Heater/Defroster

  • The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.

Windshield Wipers

  • Replace old blades.

REMEMBER: in choosing a replacement for old blades consider the climate in your area, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Carry an ice-scraper. Stock up on windshield washer solvent — you’ll be surprised how much you use.

Battery

  • The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment.
  • Check fluid level monthly. If battery caps are removable
  • For DO-IT-YOURSELF’ers scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections.,

CAUTION:

  • Be sure to avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid.
  • Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

TAKE NOTE: Removal of cables can cause damage or loss of data/codes on some newer vehicles so refers to your manual for instructions.

Lights

  • Inspect all lights and bulbs.
  • Replace burned out bulbs.
  • Clean road grime from all lenses with a moistened cloth or towel ( do this frequently).

Exhaust System

  • Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes.

CAUTION: Exhaust fumes can be deadly.

Tires

  • Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather.
  • Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks.
  • Check tire pressure once a month.

REMEMVER: Let the tires “cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.

Emergencies

  • Carry gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, a flashlight, and a cell phone. Put a few “high-energy” snacks in your glove box

These are some few steps on how to keep your car in perfect shape and thus extending its life. There are several ways you can do to keep you car in perfect condition, all you have to do is to look for reliable sources ( thanks to DoItYourself.com for this great tips). Furthermore, you can send you car in the mechanic every other month and have it checked. You can also send your car in a car wash ( if you are a busy person and no time to clean your car). See there are several ways in keeping your car in shape all you have to do is to know what your car needs! 😉