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THE FREE PRESS, Thursday, January 30, 2014

Your car’s secrets finally revealed! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the mysterious world of automobile mechanics, looking under the hood is akin to entering a giant labyrinth. Put an end to the mystery by learning about the most important elements, explained in the simplest of terms, which are hiding under your hood. BRAKE FLUID This reservoir, which is usually situated close to the fire-wall, contains one of the most important fluids in your car. Hydraulic brakes operate when the pressure of the fluid pushes on the braking system when the brake pedal is pressed down. If the brake fluid reservoir is empty, there will be no pressure in the lines and brake failure will occur.

TRANSMISSION FLUID Your car’s transmission, whether it is automatic or manual, is bathed in oil. To keep things working properly, the reservoir must be kept filled to the indicated level. The correct level is indicated on the dipstick that is attached to the underside of the reservoir cap.

AIR FILTER The air filter prevents dust and debris from entering the engine. It should be checked on a regular basis and changed when it becomes dirty.

OIL RESERVOIR

ENGINE

SPARK PLUGS

This is the block found in the centre of the engine compartment. This is where pistons work inside cylinders.

These are the devices responsible for the firing of the engine. Usually there are as many spark plugs as your engine has cylinders.

This is where oil is added when your engine’s oil levels are low. The symbol on the oil reservoir cap is usually the same as the one that lights up on the dashboard.

POWER STEERING FLUID

COOLANT RESERVOIR

RADIATOR

BATTERY

Your car’s power steering mechanism is bathed in a special fluid. The reservoir for this fluid is clearly indicated so that its level can be adjusted when necessary.

It is here that coolant should be added in order to ensure the proper functioning of your cooling system. Check that the fluid reaches the “full” line imprinted on the side of the reservoir.

The radiator cools the engine and is situated at the front of the engine compartment. It contains a cooling fluid that circulates around the combustion chambers.

The battery is the cornerstone of the engine. It contains an energy reserve that allows the starter to function. The car cannot start without it.

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I

Car maintenance: a year-round contract

t is a proven fact that a good maintenance routine prolongs the life of your car. But what does regular maintenance really entail? What needs to be checked and when? Fol­lowing are some guidelines that will help you set up a good maintenance schedule for your vehicle.

Experts recommend changing the engine oil and checking the battery connections for signs of corrosion every three months. You should also check the other liquid levels at this time (brakes, transmission, power stee­ring, and windshield washer fluids).

First of all, it’s a good idea to plan a fixed schedule and to list everything that needs to be checked on a monthly, three-monthly, or biannual basis. For example, it is advisable to carry out a monthly check of tire pressure, oil and liquid coolant levels, and belts and lines. The last two things should be checked carefully to ensure that no cracks have appeared. Of course, if there are signs of wear, they must be replaced immediately.

Once every six months you should change your windshield wiper blades, check the condition of your tires, and ensure that your spare tire is adequately inflated, which is something that is often forgotten. Another often forgotten thing to do is make sure that headlights, brake lights, and signal lights are working well. A biannual check should also be made of shock ab­sorbers, muffler, and for wear in the braking system.

THE FREE PRESS Thursday, January 30, 2014

Early-bird Spring Car Care Checklist Prepare your vehicle for road conditions with service by these car care specialists. √ Air Conditioning √ Air Filter Check √ Brake Filter Check √ Oil Change √ Tire Balance & Rotation √ Fuel Injection Cleaning

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√ Engine Diagnostic Check √ Belt & Hose Check √ Coolant Fill & Flush √ Maintenance Tune-Up

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