Saturday, June 1, 2019

How To Inspect Your Car

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If you take care of your car, it will take care of you. But how do you know what to look for? YouTube viewer Goon Squad Skateboarding wanted to know just that. Here is a list of things that you should look for when you inspect your car.

Tires

The condition of your tires are directly related to the condition of your life. There are four important things to look at: tread depth, tread wear, pressure, and dry rot. Seriously... if your tires are not in good shape and they fail while you’re driving, you could die.

Tire tread is the pattern on outside of your tire. It is designed to give you traction by gripping on to the road, and pushing away water when the roads are wet. “Bald” tires (tires without or with low tread) will have little to no traction. It’s especially noticeable when driving in the rain. If you are in the US, take a penny and put Lincoln’s head in the tread. If you can see his whole head, you need new tires. A tire tread gauge is your best option.

Tread goes down over time, and it should do it evenly. If the outsides of your tires have less tread, or vise versa, you may have an alignment issue that needs to be addressed. It could also be under or over filled tires. Low pressure tires also kill your gas mileage. On the driver side door jamb, there should be a label that says what pressure (PSI) your tires should be at. Check them with a gauge, and if it’s under, go to your local gas station that has air and fill them up!

Dry rot is extremely dangerous. When rubber gets old, it cracks. Tires need to flex and bend, and if the rubber gets old and starts to crack, it could violently explode. If you see dry rotted tires, replace them right away.

how to inspect your car fluid leaks tires levels and lights the random automotive dylan benson nissan ford torino

how to inspect your car fluid leaks tires levels and lights the random automotive dylan benson nissan ford torino


Brakes

While we are talking about tires, let’s cover some stuff about brakes. You’ll want to inspect your brake pads and rotors, listen for squeaks when driving, and brake pedal strength. We’ll cover brake fluid in the fluid section.

Brake pads can partially be inspected visually, but you really need to know what to look for. One way to check is to listen for squeaking when you brake. That usually means your pads are starting to get low. If you hear scraping, your pads are done. This will make stopping harder, and it could damage your rotors.

Inspect your rotors for any uneven wear. If you see scratches or grooves around the outside or inside, you may have an issue. When you brake, does your pedal have to go all the way to the floor? That’s not supposed to happen.

Fluid Levels

In my Car Basics What’s Under the Hood post, I cover what all of the reservoirs under your hood are for. For level purposes, each one has a “MAX” and “MIN” level. Make sure your fluid is between those lines. Add more if needed, but read the labels carefully, because some things like coolant should only be added and checked when the car is cold. Check the ones you filled periodically. If they are low again, you have a leak.

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Leaks

Leaks are not fun, but are part of owning a car. Leaks can be cheap or very expensive to fix. Look under your hood around your engine. Do you see or smell anything strange? Look under your car. Do you see anything besides water from your air conditioning? If you think you might have a leak, place a piece of cardboard under your car over night. If it’s wet, you have a leak. Here are some common fluids with their usual colors and smells.

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Lights

Lights are extremely important to other drivers and need to be replaced the moment they are out! Check them! They are cheap are easy to replace. It is illegal and dangerous to drive with any lights being out. Here are your lights and how to test them. Note that in some cases your headlights and high beams might be one bulb. The same can happen with your tail lights and your blinkers and brake lights. This is known as a dual filament bulb.
  • Headlights: Turn them on and look at each one
  • High Beams: Turn them on and look at each one
  • Tail lights: Turn on your headlights, and check your tail lights
  • Blinkers and Hazard Lights: They are the same bulbs, so turn on your hazard lights and check all four (or more)
  • Side Markers: Turn on your headlight or parking lights and check them
  • Brake Lights: Have someone hold down your brake pedal, or put something on the pedal, and go check the lights. This includes your third brake light! 

Driveability

For the last few things, you need to be driving. Do you notice any squeaks, rattles, or other noises? Does your engine misfire or sputter? Do you need to have your steering wheel off to one side to make your car drive straight? Any vibrations over a certain speed, when you idle, or when you brake? These are all things that are not normal, and you should take your car to a mechanic before things get worse.

Conclusion

Depending on how much you drive your car, I recommended looking at all of this stuff at least every quarter. Some things may need to be checked more frequently if you are having an issues. Cars are fun and they are convenient, but you need to take care of them. Take care of them, and they will take care of you.

If you want to learn more about car care, make sure you head on over and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for some exclusive content! Thanks for stopping by.




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