When it comes to car maintenance, three of the simplest (but important) checks are your tire pressures, oil level, and brake fluid level. Pretty simple, right? Make sure your tires are inflated to the right pressure using a tire pressure gauge, check your oil dip stick and add more oil as necessary, and check your brake-fluid reservoir. Very simple and straightforward. Yet thanks to common car misconceptions, even these simplest of maintenance activities are sometimes done incorrectly, causing damage to the car’s tires and engine.
Your Tire Pressure Should Be the Same as Shown on the Tire Sidewall
People often inflate their tires to the pressure indicated on the sidewall of the tire. However, that pressure is the tire’s maximum pressure rating. The correct pressure is given in your user’s manual and inside your car such as in the glove box. This pressure is optimal for your car’s braking, gas mileage, traction, handling, and ride comfort.
You Need Only Worry About Having Too Little Engine Oil
Your oil dip stick has both a minimum and maximum fill level. This means it’s possible to put too much oil in your engine if you aren’t paying close attention. What happens when you pour a few extra quarts into your engine? The rotating crankshaft in some cars will aerate the oil and turn it into a foam. Oil foam has different characteristics (such as viscosity) than liquid oil which can damage your engine.
Always Keep the Brake Fluid Reservoir Topped Off
There are two ways that your brake fluid level can drop. One is through normal brake pad wear. As the pads wear, the caliper pistons extend further which increases the volume of the brake system. This increased volume gets filled by more brake fluid from the reservoir. Brake fluid leakage will also cause your brake fluid level to drop. Topping off the reservoir will hide both of these effects. When the reservoir reaches the low mark, you should have your brakes checked for either worn pads or fluid leakage.
For information on helpful auto tips, or if your car requires work, please contact us.