Basic Guide to Car Maintenance

Basic Guide to Car Maintenance

basic car repairsRelying on your car is inevitable, as it is many people’s primary source for transportation. In order to keep it in the safest condition, there is certain standard car maintenance knowledge that is important for every individual to know. If anything should arise (i.e. weird sound, unknown warning lights lit, any type of malfunction…etc.) there could be cause for concern and it is best to address it right away. There is an abundance of qualified professionals available and able to help identify, repair, and/ or replace a problematic part in one’s car, safely. If a professional is unable to assist, he or she will likely refer an individual and his or her vehicle to a location to obtain the needed service. 

How to Find Your VIN 

VIN stands for vehicle identification number and is a unique code, a seventeen-character serial number (including letters and numbers) that is provided to every vehicle. The automotive industry relies on VIN numbers for vehicle identification purposes. There are several locations on a car that a VIN can be found. Typically, a VIN can be found in any of the following spots on a vehicle:

  • Inside the driver’s side door
  • On top of the dashboard on the driver’s side
  • On one’s registration card
  • On one’s vehicle permit
  • On one’s bill of sales

The last five characters of a VIN will always be numbers. There will likely be some letters and numbers that may look similar (i.e. U and V, S and 5, Z and 2…etc.). It is also important to bear in mind that a VIN never includes the following letters: O, Q, or I. 

Tire Pressure

The tire pressure in most passenger cars is usually between 32 psi to 35 psi. In newer vehicles there is a recommended tire pressure sticker inside the driver’s door, which should be followed. Although adhering to the recommended guidelines is always best, it is important to note, that low pressure in tires is more dangerous than high tire pressure. 

Wiper Blades 

Wiper blades should be replaced between six to twelve months, or as soon as visibility is decreased. Faulty wiper blades will no longer make proper contact with the windshield, resulting in possible streaking, skipping, chatter, squeaking and/ or smearing, minimizing adequate driving visibility. When replacing wiper blades (even if only one is warn), they should always be replaced as a pair at the same time. There are many different types of wiper blades available. If you are unsure which are best to purchase, checking with a mechanic may be helpful. Replacing wiper blades is a relatively simple process. Below are step-by-step directions:

  1. Lift the wiper, turn the blade perpendicular to the arm, and locate the release tab.
  2. Press the release tab and pull the blade down.
  3. Turn the blade parallel to the arm, and pull off the blade.
  4. Repeat the above steps to remove both blades
  5. To install the new blade, simply repeat the above steps in reverse order. 

Again, there is no shame in obtaining professional help, if you are more comfortable having a mechanic replace your wiper blades. 

Changing Air Filter 

An air filter in a vehicle should generally be replaced between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. In some cases, it may need to be changed more frequently (i.e. driving on unpaved roads), and in other cases less frequently (i.e. minimal driving). A vehicle owner’s manual will also provide information regarding when is best to change the air filter in your particular model.  If you would like to change your air filter yourself, this is how:

  1. Buy a new air filter.
  2. Locate the air filter box under the hood of your car.
  3. Open the air filter box.
  4. Remove the dirty air filter.
  5. Put in the new air filter.
  6. Close the top of the air filter box, making sure the clips snap shut.
  7. Close the hood of your car.

While changing the air filter can be done without the help of a mechanic, a mechanic can also easily do it for you. If you wish to stay out of the process, feel free to bring your car to a mechanic and they will gladly change your air filter. 

Further Information

As an automotive parts and supply shop with decades of experience we have access to extensive inventory. Northstar Automotive is staffed with incredibly knowledgeable professionals, dedicated to provide topnotch service to all its customers. Let us help you make sure you are equipped with everything you need to ensure all of your vehicles are in excellent shape. Please feel free to contact one of our sales associates for more information. 



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