How often should I change my oil?
The manufacturer of your vehicle will recommend an oil change interval. You can find it in the owner’s manual. The 3,000-mile interval that a lot of us have been taught is simply outdated these days. Many vehicles will be in the 7,000-10,000 mile range, though 5,000 is always a safe bet.
What do those oil numbers mean?
Back in the day, we had to use two different kinds of oil depending on the season: thin oil in the winter and thick oil in the summer. Oil that could work all-year round came with the addition of polymers. The lower number indicates the viscosity during colder temps and the higher number represents the viscosity during hotter temps.
Check your owner’s manual for the suggested oil viscosity grade for your particular vehicle.
What does it mean when my brakes squeal?
The braking mechanism, greatly simplified, involves brake pads applying pressure on your brake discs. Brakes pads are made to eventually wear out over time. Once your pads wear to a certain threshold, this exposes a small piece of metal in the pad. This rubs against your rotor, creating a squeal that warns you it’s time to get new pads!
There can be other causes for brake squealing, but brake pad wear is most common.
What should I do when my car overheats?
If you notice steam coming from under your hood and/or your temperature gauge rising, it is imperative that you pull over and shut your engine off as soon as possible. Overheating can seriously damage your engine.
Most often overheating is caused by a blown hose or faulty thermostat. Some people will fill their radiator with water and attempt to continue driving, at least to a service center. It’s better to simply have your vehicle towed.
What should I do if my car won’t start?
This is why it’s always a good idea to keep jumper cables in your car. When you’re in need, it makes it easy for you to get a jump. When someone else needs it, you can return the favor.
If a jump is successful, it’s best to head to a service center as soon as possible and get your battery tested. If you notice your dash lights, headlights, and other electronics going dim or your car dies, the problem is likely your alternator. If a jump is not successful, then you likely have a bad starter.