Car maintenance checklist

by Hector Tan (htan@sph.com.sg)
published on 11 February 2016

The amount of effort you put into caring for your car can help it be a reliable and safe ride. Mr Ho Swee Boon, a car mechanic who has been fixing cars for 16 years, said: “Parts like the headlights, windshield, cooling system and engine filter all add up to give you a functioning car and a comfortable ride.

HEADLIGHTS

Car  head lights are crucial for visibility at night. Exposure to the weather can make them turn yellow or hazy over time. Mr Ho recommends using sandpaper or  toothpaste to clean your car’s headlights. He said: “Most people use sand paper but the polishing can be a bit uneven  if they apply too much pressure. Toothpaste works very well. It is a much gentler abrasive.”After cleaning and drying your car headlights, squeeze a small amount of  toothpaste on a clothand gently polish the headlight surfaces in a circular motion until you see the headlight surface become cleaner.

THE COOLING SYSTEM

Want to prevent your engine from overheating? Mr Ho said: “Heat is a by-product of  the fuel combustion that occurs in your engine. The cooling system’s function is to remove this heat, so that your engine does not overheat and  break down. ”Apart from checking that the coolant levels are optimal, have your car’s cooling system flushed at least three times a year. Mr Ho said: “Make sure to flush the system entirely before refilling it with fresh coolant. New coolant is usually better at removing heat faster from the engine.“Check for any cracks and  leaks in your car engine’s radiator  hoses and the casing of the cooling system. Any leaks or hairline cracks are signs that your cooling system needs to be replaced immediately.

ENGINE AIR FILTERT

he engine’s air filter keeps dust and dirt from getting into the engine. Clogged filters can affect engine performance, causing  your engine to consume more fuel and have a shorter working lifespan. Try to replace the filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles, which ever comes first. Mr Ho advised: “Your car’s engine filter is due for replacement when you see that its colour looks worn out. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt and dust from the filter housing before putting in the new filter. Make sure that it fits snugly into the filter housing.”

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