Inane: Routine Checks & Maintenance

Posted: 19 April 2010 by SchwarzeMitternacht in Car Life, CarTok, Inane

Was driving the other day, when, during some ‘spirited’ cornering, the handbrake warning light flickered a few times. Since the brakes were still working fine, and the handbrake was not engaged, I suspected one thing over anything else: low brake fluid level.

So today, I did my routine checks on the car. I checked the engine oil level, gearbox oil, coolant, brake fluid, power-steering fluid, windshield washer reservoir and tyre pressures. My car battery is the ‘maintenance free’ type, so there was no need to check battery acid levels.

rover maintenance

The engine oil and gearbox levels seem fine, though the engine oil needs to be replaced in the near future. I usually change my gearbox oil yearly. These are to be rectified during the car’s next service.

My coolant level was a bit low, so I topped it up with a can of bluish-green coolant. Take note though, NEVER mix coolants of different colour. So don’t mix the bluish-green type with the pinkish-red type, unless you want a foamy mess running through your engine.

And, so the brake fluid. It was hovering on the minimum level, as expected. So I just topped it up with more DOT4 brake fluid, as per recommended on the brake reservoir label. DOT4 has higher thermal capacity than DOT3, and thus doesn’t break-down/boil-away as quickly. Heavy brakers take note.

Both my power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid levels were fine, so I quickly moved on to my tyres.

I bought my Falken Ziex Ze-912s last month, and they have performed very well, especially with the fact that they are still relatively affordable. They offer terrific value for money in my opinion, offering a good compromise of comfort, grip, handling and wet weather performance, all in an affordable package. The tyre pressures were 30 psi all round. That would be fine for normal, everyday driving. Since I cover mainly relatively high-speed highway mileage, I usually run higher pressures. So using my portable, car battery powered (via the 12V socket) air pump, I increased my tyre pressures to 35 psi.

I also took the chance to check all my lights and to see if all the car’s electrics were working. They were, so it seems like all my car’s fuses were intact and working well.

OK, I know I should really put more pics on me doing all this simple maintenance, but hey, bear with me. I don’t have a proper digital camera, only the one on the back of my Sony Ericsson P1i. I also don’t have a partner in crime to take pics of me doing all this work.

So, with all this simple maintenance work done, I was wondering. How often do you guys run checks on your cars? I can honestly say I only do it on a semi-regular basis, and mostly due to boredom as much as anything else. I usually only check things one at a time. Maybe one day I check my tyre pressures, then the next day check my coolant levels, then the next week check my engine oil. Today though, there was an opportunity to check thoroughly, so that’s what I did.

I do realise that with newer vehicles, reliability is not really an issue, so sometimes checks are redundant. All these checks are to be done during servicing by your respective preferred workshops anyway. But to me, it pays to be careful. But then, both my cars are sweet 16 years old now, so my view on this is skewed.

So, how often do you guys do these simple checks and maintenance? Do you guys even know how to carry out these checks on your own cars? Different engine bays have different layouts after all. And yes, you guys better start talking about your cars too!

– SCM

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Comments
  1. abufarhi says:

    dude, nanti th ku bawa keta ku arh mu utk cek.. hehe biasa ku suruh woksop sja mencek..
    ada lunggar bah somewhere siring battery atu, arh the big pipe.. its kinda loose and its touching against the metal side of the frame.. bebunyi lah mcm kna pikir pasang turbo bah kreta ku ah coz of the sound haha

  2. reanxyz says:

    i bawa my kereta to ur house for servicing. ahaha

  3. reanxyz says:

    yay.. sweet 16.. ur cars need a cheesecake made of petrol and engine oils.
    Give them RON102 as presents. ehe

  4. dumbfoundead says:

    bah bukanth service centre yo.hehe.kalau kawan2 no need chargelh.trus open ali cafe.while waiting matuka beservice dapat jua kopiTok.

  5. dumbfoundead says:

    aiii..tauke sorry kami nda serious..hehehe.mencek ani slalulh jua.tpi mostly for cek tayar everytimelh b4 bejalan. tyre pressure once in 2weeks refill. mun cek coolant, m-oil ani sama jualh dlm a month 2-3kli lah.

  6. bagbaga says:

    Dont have a car yet. would want to do routine checks every fortnight/month if I had one.
    skill wise – not much yet. feel like a technician. I can dismantle, reassemble and install an engine but lack full indepth understanding of parts and mechanisms of action. still got heaps to learn.

    I got a semi assembled stock ae86 engine lying around in my room. was initially planning to rebuild and install it with my bro. but got some problems with electrical wiring and some missing stuff. oh well…its been a few weeks… we’ll see how it goes.

    • SchwarzeMitternacht says:

      The fact that you work with an engine ‘hands-on’ like that means you’re way better than all of us when it comes to mechanical work. All I do is check fluids, and top them up as necessary. The only hands-on work I have with an engine is checking the dipstick and topping up the motor oil as needed. The rover doesn’t seem to use any though (same as most modern engines actually). But yeah, japanese cars (or in my case, japanese engineeered car) are very DIY friendly when it comes to simple self maintenance. Easy enough to change wipers, change fuses, broken lightbulbs etc. A screwdriver/spanner and whatever replacement part is sometimes all you need.

  7. abufarhi says:

    paip basar ah yo, atu yg lunggar..yg connecting arh main motornya ah. ku rasa angin plg ganya tu.. cooler nya kali pakah.. ya tah antak2 arh frame kreta atu.. aritu ku bagi keratas plg ganya to silence the noise, ane ada tia lgi.. tegugur kali keratas ah

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