By on April 15, 2013

For years, Bruce Lubin and his wife Jenny collected tips to save time and money, published  on their whoknewtips.com website and their  Who Knew? book. Here are some good ones for your car:   

  • After washing your car, give it a rinse with hair conditioner. According to the Lubins, “applying conditioner, leaving for five minutes, and then rinsing it off will give your car a just-waxed shine. As an added bonus, it will more effectively repel water!”
  • Corroded battery terminals could prevent your car from starting. Lubin’s cure: “You can pour a can of cola over the battery terminals; let it sit for a half hour, then wipe clean.” Other alternatives are applications of petroleum jelly, or “a thick paste of baking soda and water. Let it stand for 10–15 minutes before washing it off.”
  • “If your car’s floor mats need to be replaced, consider going to a carpet store and finding some samples to use instead.” Just make sure they won’t jam your gas pedal …
  • “If your windshield wipers are smearing the windshield, you don’t necessarily have to buy new ones: they might just be dirty. Wipe the blades with some rubbing alcohol.”

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100 Comments on “Got Any Good Car Maintenance Recipes To Share?...”


  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Using Rain-X on the windshield is probably one of the most effective (and easy) things I have always done. My 96 Intrepid threw a wiper arm off of the actuator during a snow storm. I had just rain-x’d the windshield and didnt even need the
    wipers, just the defroster.

    • 0 avatar
      945T

      Wxceptfv

    • 0 avatar
      1998redwagon

      doesnt anyone else find that rain-x leaves a film that increases glare during night time driving?

      i love what it does during the day but at night it is just down right annoying.

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        I have never had a problem with it. The bugs come off a lot easier too. I scrub my windshield with soft scrub prior to using it, works for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        Rain X is foggy when it goes on and you need to apply some elbow grease to clear it all, usually with a very dry clean rag.

        It’s worth it, though. Particularly at night it’s great at keeping water droplets small enough that you can see ‘around’ them. With the heater it can also keep the windshield pretty clear in snow/sleet. But only over a certain speed, about 30 mph in my experience. Otherwise it can ice up faster than the water flows away.

      • 0 avatar
        racer193

        I have found that with the washer fluid, and stopped using it because of that. I’ve never had that issue with original rain x. I use it on the outside as well as the inside (keeps it from fogging) of the winsheild of my hobbystock racecar as it does not have wipers nor a heater

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Agreed on the glare. It’s fine at night on the highway, but in the city you aren’t moving fast enough for the water beads to get blown off the windshield, and they seem to capture the glare of the street lights.

      • 0 avatar
        VelocityRed3

        Not only that, but I have found that over time, it builds up on the windscreen so much that it looks like millions of “hairline” fractures. Then when the morning or evening sun hit it, it lights up like stained glass at the Sistine Chapel. Making it just about impossible to see. What I want to know is, what can get Rain-x completely off?

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I have never had any luck with Rain-X. I find that it makes annoying tiny rain beads on the windshield during low speed driving.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        You just have to put another layer of it that’s all. I normally put one layer, let it dry for 10 minutes, buff it out, apply another layer, buff it out to a nice shine. Voila! You’re done. Before you apply Rain X, make sure the window is really clean though..not just with soap, but Windex or even better…there’s a spray that Costco and Sams sometimes sales. I forgot the name, but that’s the best for cleaning any kind of windows. It comes in a pack of 4 and it’s about 10 bucks.

      • 0 avatar
        jfbramfeld

        Anybody thinking about using RainX should just try it for themselves. There are a number of people reporting glare and crazing, but I suspect these are anomalies. I’ve been using RainX for at least ten years, and it works like a charm. It’s a little hard to say whether or not it increases glare, because once it’s on, you have nothing to compare it to. Even if it does increase glare, which I tend to doubt, it doesn’t do it enough to affect safety or even practicality.

        On rain,though,it is like a miracle. Over 45 miles per hour, give or take, it is so much better than even brand new blades, that even when you are tempted to try the blades you turn them off immediately because they make it worse.

        I have never had a problem with build-up, perhaps because I am lazy and tend to recoat only when I find myself having to use wipers again. And it is also true that bugs are a little easier to get off, especially on a newer application. As far as I am concerned, there is no downside whatsoever, unless you count the 5 minutes of tedium putting it on. The reward for that five minutes includes a really clean windshield, also.

        You will never really know if your accelerated oil change schedule, your assorted fluids through the combustion chambers or your hosing off salt in the winter work or not, but you will be able to tell with this stuff immediately.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          I always found Rain-X to work just fine. I’m wondering if the people who’ve had bad experiences applied it correctly. I don’t have it on any of my current cars, but I never had any glare issues.

    • 0 avatar
      otter

      This is sort of embarrassing, but I got by on Rain-X and for over 2 years (!) after the wiper motor broke on one of my cars. Only two situations it was not up to – warm, wet slushy snow, which would collect on the winshield because it was too heavy to get blown off; and winter days on wet roads with no snowfall, when the water spray would evaporate and leave a salt film. Otherwise, it just required keeping the windshield clean.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Don’t be embarassed. I have a buddy with a custom ’50 Chevy with no wipers (shaved the holes in the cowl along with the door handles) and he drives it all over the country rain or shine. I thought he was crazy, but it works really well.

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      Rain- X is one of the few automotive “miracle” products that I’ve actually found to work as advertised.

  • avatar
    ToxicSludge

    Don’t even think about using ‘carpet samples’ as floor mats.I tried that 40 years ago and it was a disaster then,as it would be now.Go to wally world and buy some generics,you’ll be happier.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I agree as

      1. carpet samples would look like crap

      and

      2. carpet samples wouldn’t have the rubber bottom layer to catch the moisture.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Or at least if you’re going to do it, don’t be so stupid that you don’t know how to put the transmission in neutral or turn off the engine while the car is moving.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Wash the engine bay with the engine cold to keep steam out of crucial areas.
    Nice picture.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      Water and electricity don’t play nice together. An engine compartment contains an alternator, sensors and dozens of electrical connectors. Water will corrode them creating uncorrectable problems. It can also contaminate drive belts promoting slippage and squeaks.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    -On my older cars I run a quart of diesel fuel through the engine right before every oil change. Then put a little ATF in with the oil.
    - Still, on my older cars, I run a little diesel/ATF mixture through the engine once a year

    - On our new car with direct injection, I run a can of intake cleaner through the engine with every oil change to keep the valves clean.

    - On my 06′ Jeep I get underneath it about once every two years and re-paint the underside, axles, suspension, and all. Will do the same with our 12′ Mustang when it starts showing a little surface rust.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “On my older cars I run a quart of diesel fuel through the engine right before every oil change. Then put a little ATF in with the oil.”

      I’ve used these higher detergent products, mainly ATF, in some engines to reduce or resolve lifter clatter due to carbon deposits. I don’t make a habit of it, but it works for that purpose.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    In the winter, I spray my car off in the garage after every salt exposure – all six sides, wheel wells, engine bay, and between the hood metal layers – so it doesn’t sit there all night and rust in comfort.

    It only takes a few minutes each time, but it really keeps the rust at bay over the long haul. Otherwise, you’re better off leaving the car out in the freezing weather so the salt is less active.

    BTW – I want that mechanic next time.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Alcohol can dry out and damage rubber. Ethylene Glycol’s used in some commercial wiper blade cleaners, and either anti-freeze or de-icing sprays containing it work as well.

    • 0 avatar
      readallover

      I use WD-40 on the wiper blades and it works well.

    • 0 avatar
      parabellum2000

      I use 303 aerospace Protectant. I works wonder on rubber seals too.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Nonsense – You wipe your blades with a alcohol-dampened rag for just a few seconds, until the rag swipe is mostly clean. You want something strong enough to remove the oxidized surface damage anyways, exposing the clean rubber underneath.

      I have been doing this for the past 15 years and I get 3-4 years out of each set of wiper blades.

      Try it yourself – buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol at the drugstore for $1.29.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Be resourceful. It’s amazing how many people reach straight for their wallet at the first sign of trouble.

    Got a problem? Visit an internet forum for your vehicle and search for your problem there. It’s probable that your same issue has been experienced by most others with the same car. If this doesn’t tell you how to diagnose or fix it, at least you will be well informed if you decide to take it to a shop.

    GO TO THE JUNKYARD. There is not junk there. Make a shopping list of things you need for your car. Chances are, you will find something. It might even be brand new. Don’t even think about going to the dealer for model specific parts like seats and exterior trim. Don’t know how to work on cars or just nervous? Taking apart something that is just gonna get crushed anyway is a good way to learn. Want to see if those TL seats can replace the disintegrated ones in your LS400? Here is where you can experiment. Oh look, a new radiator hose with the sticker still on it, and fresh belts. Take that stuff off and save it for later.

    Filthy interior? Something like Bissell’s “Little Green Machine” works awesome. For spots that are pretty much a write-off anyway, you can try using it with a powerful degreaser like Zepride and taking a chance.

    Don’t buy those putrid tree air fresheners. Actually, don’t buy any air fresheners at the chain stores. The Japanese make the best car air fresheners. You can find them at the typical import tuner online shops. You can easily find them if you google for “Squash air freshener”.

    When changing your oil, don’t buy “The orange cans of death”.

    • 0 avatar
      jfbramfeld

      The only excuse for an air “freshener” is that you can’t get the back seat off and the squirrel is taking too long to decompose. In that case, crack the two front windows, lower the back seats to access the trunk, then crack the trunk and spray in an entire can of Febreeze or WD40, depending on which smells best to you.

      You can also do this to the air intake to get a fresher exhaust note.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      My favorite air freshener is a dryer sheet under the driver and passenger seats: cheap, effective, and not too strong of a smell.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Yes, I religiously use fabric softener sheets not just as air fresheners, but as rodent repellant in cars that spend a lot of time stored. They smell a lot better than moth balls, and seem to work well.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Hair conditioner on a car? Never heard that. I think it would be way easier to apply a spray way – how are you going to distribute the conditioner over the body?

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Not a specific tip, but there is no such thing as lifetime fill fluid, unless you define lifetime as the end of the lease.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      True. Brake fluid, transaxle/gear fluid, power steering, and coolant should all be flushed and changed every few years.

    • 0 avatar
      James Courteau

      I asked my mechanic about this. His response: “Volkswagen and Volvo ‘lifetime’ transmission fluid is going to put my kid through college”

      The problem he has is that customers refuse to listen to his advice when the owners manual says “never needs service”.

      I don’t know who all uses this lifetime BS, he just happens to specialize in German and Swedish cars.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Very true — the actual manufacturers of the transmissions that car companies claim have “lifetime” fluid usually recommend fluid changes.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Torn CV Boot Fix. Pack the torn boot with grease, wrap it with some shrink wrap (also called pallet wrap), then zip tie the ends. Stands a decent chance of outlasting the original boot.

    • 0 avatar
      James Courteau

      I’ve been guilty of using Glad trash bags.Outlasted the Chinese-made replacement boot.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Seems kinda ghetto, but would probably work as described. If I were to inspect a car with this “repair” as a prospective buyer, I would definitely question the maintenance practices of the owner.

      Much like the Grand Marquis with the tie rod end held on with electrical wiring and duct tape.

  • avatar

    We get mild winters (now) in New York thanks to Climate Change (global Warming – whatever you wanna call it).

    I’m all about prevention. I make sure I get oil changes regularly on all my cars – sometimes even a few hundred miles early.

    I use ARMOR ALL leather cleaner and ARMOR ALL wheel/Tire cleaner. The leather cleaner keeps my interior LIKE NEW – and I don’t eat, drink coffee or smoke (or allow others to do so) in my long term keeper car.
    The wheel/tire cleaner is hydrophobic and oleophobic – in Winter my wheels are bright and shiny.

    For my XJ-L I use a suede cleaner and a chrome cleaner. I never go to the car wash if I can help it. I do it all by hand. It’s fun!!!

    I use STP fuel injector cleaner for my 300 because it has the supercharger on it every time I get my synthetic oil changed. So far NO PROBLEMS whatsoever.

    Had to replace 2 Oxygen sensors when the car hit 60,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      TurboMark

      If your car has rubberized coating over the interior soft touch plastic bits, especially any VW/Audi product never use Armor All or any petroleum based protectant. The rubber used in these coatings is very sensitive to petroleum products and will soften and peel if these are used.
      If you do have a VW or Audi product with peeling trim and it happens to be black you can pop the offending piece off and attack it with a scotch brite pad and some simple green. The plain black plastic underneath looks much better than the peeling rubber coating.
      Squeaky leather interiors can be quieted with a liberal application of leather conditioner where the pieces rub together. If you have plastic panels that vibrate the easiest way to fix is to take off the panel and line the edge that overlaps the next piece with a strip of stick on felt from your local arts and crafts store.

    • 0 avatar
      scrappy17

      If you really want to keep your fuel system clean use either Chevron Techron or the Redline SL-I product which contain PEA’s. Almost everything else is snake oil

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    If the headlight lenses on your older car have started to cloud over, a cheap temporary fix is mineral oil. It also darkens and shines black cladding. Add the mineral oil as part of every wash and your car will look much better when you’re done.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’ve done the Coca-Cola on the battery terminal and the cleaning of the wiper blades (although I just wipe the surface that contacts the glass with a terry cloth) and they both work well.

  • avatar
    lon888

    I open the doors and apply a little deodorant on the latches – keeps them smelling fresh all day. Sorry for the sarcasm – I couldn’t help myself.

    No really, the 1 thing I never do is use any Armor-All products. I went a corrosion control course a number of years ago and the professor said that the really glossy surface you get after using Armor-All is from the plastizers being leached from the plastic. Plastizors are what give plastics their durability and suppleness. In a pinch if one does not have any protectants to put on the plastics, you can use Lemon Pledge. Works great and actually does an excellent job protecting the plastics.

    For virtually all of my car car detailing, I use the AutoGlym range of products.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      If you fear Armor-All (I don’t… been using it for years with excellent results) then use sunscreen – it blocks UV light and that is the root cause of faded/cracked plastic. Apply using your hand covered with an old (but clean) sock.

      Simple Green cleans everything – it cuts thru brake dust like gangbusters. A cup full in your washer tank will clean bugs and grime off your windshield.

      Want to dry your car completely really fast? Use a leaf blower.

      Old toothbrushes make excellent cleaning tools for small, tight spaces – like interior and exterior trim parts. They are especially good at removing wax from emblems.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Was a regular user of Armor-All until it turned the dashboard of my first car and our boat black.

      Wd-40 works good on vinyl, gets tar off much easier, and blackens black trim nicely. I even spray it inside the fenders.

  • avatar
    stottpie

    if you have the means, compressed air is a much better way to dry off a just-washed car than a towel.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    If your car gets stuck on snow, ice, or gravel, you want cleated metal traction aids to get you out. They’re usually stamped steel and have multiple hinges to fold into a small storage container. They dig into the ground and do not fly off when you drive over them. They work.

    Cheapo remedies like sand, ice melt, floor mats, or Tyre-Grip spray are useless because they either don’t use the weight of the car to increase traction like the traction aids do, or they fly off when the wheel spins. And good luck attaching tire chains when you’re already stuck.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Tire grip spray?

      Who sells that black magic sorcery?

      • 0 avatar
        WaftableTorque

        http://www.tyre-grip.com

        It’s a resin spray with a strong adherence to ice. I bought a can at Canadian Tire. I was underwhelmed, but if you’re caught in a blizzard before you’ve put on your winter tires, they might have some value.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Oh, I see.

          When my tires start losing the lines I usually just regroove the treads(can’t remember word) with a blade, it’s amazing the difference you can feel before and after in the rain and snow, never tried on ice, I try to stay of the road if I can, if not I take one of the old trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      In an absolute pinch, wipe the tire with bleach. Adhesion increases until you spin if off or it wears off.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Detailing clay, wet massaged onto the windows. Long straight strokes in one long gentle axis. Raindrops explode.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    How to get dust off on all those interior plastic surfaces?

    A swiffer. The little hand held ones.

    I keep one in the little door compartment.

    I am very pro Swiffer.

  • avatar

    My “miracle” is to just keep a clean microfiber towel and a mister bottle of water in the door pocket. Dampen the cloth, wipe the cruddy grime that collects on the inside of the windshield, and voila – I can see clearly again. I also keep a Shamwow in the glove compartment. Seriously, those two will solve 90% of the problems you’ll encounter from the driver’s seat on a regular basis.

  • avatar
    racer193

    a penny in the negative battery will draw corrosian to it remove whe green and fuzzy and replace.

  • avatar
    racer193

    also if your a drag racer or just a hoon and like burning the tires off your car apply vasilene to the inner fenders and fenders or quarter panels and bumper cover. allthe hot rubber that would usually stick to the paint and burn into plastic will just wipe away.

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    Pre-filling the oil filter. Less pressure drop and wear on everything needing oil at the first startup of an oil change.

  • avatar
    Windy

    When a car gets to be 30 years old or older or has spent as few as 5 years in an area of blowing sand the windshield can gather tiny pitting that causes a lot of glare when driving into a rising or setting sun or at night from oncoming headlights. I know some folks just engineer a “stone chip” or follow close behind a sanding truck and have it replaced by insurance…. But in the case of others who do not use that method is there any way of restoring a windshield in such a state?

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      Never have had much success with windshields, but the one time I had to make do, a jewelers rouge and toothpaste with LOTS of elbow grease made a 1933 Plymouth rumble seat 5 window driveable for 400 miles. Surely they have come up with some alternative since 1970, but I cannot think of one.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    A leaf blower works great for drying a car

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Puncture your old oil filter with a phillips head screwdriver and let the oil drain out before removing.

    Also, using a clay bar before waxing really helps to remove rail dust and other fine particulates. Use Mequiar’s Quick Detail Spray (or something similar) as you rub the clay against the car.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Puncture your old oil filter with a phillips head screwdriver and let the oil drain out before removing.”

      And on some vehicles with baked on filters in right places where a filter wrench doesn’t fit, this is the ONLY way to get the filter off!

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      I install oil filters by hand and remove by hand with no sign of leakage 4500 miles later. ‘Been doing this for on 40 years now on many different cars and trucks.

      If I had to analyze it, I turn the filter about 1/2 to 2/3rds turn after I feel the seal has contacted the mating surface.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’ve always had some irrational fear of it coming off so I really overtorque it, always cuss myself when it comes time to change, until I found the cap wrench

      • 0 avatar
        cargogh

        I know CarPerson. I’ve been changing mine for 30 years. No leaks, take off by hand.
        Then when I change someone else’s oil, it will a total chore with thoughts of how to get a jackhammer to it and asking if they used lock-tite instead of a film of oil on the gasket.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Don’t fall for the 3000 mile oil change interval scam. Follow your owners manual. Also, stay away from any oil sold in a multilevel marketing scheme.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      While the 3000 mile interval is wastefully too frequent on most new vehicles, I feel following the modern vehicle’s owner guide isn’t necessarily the best route either if you want to take good care of a long term vehicle.

      Why? Because most automakers are in a war to advertise the lowest operating cost. Most will tell you to change it when the minder light comes on or a time period of 6 months or so. This can be 10,000 miles or more depending on the circumstances. I’ve seen with many vehicles that have gone this long between changes that are significantly low on oil.

      The owner guide does usually specify to check the oil level periodically between changes, but if we’re honest, we know 99% of owners won’t do this and expose their engine to the risk of running low or out of oil. Because of this, and the fact that changing your oil is cheap insurance, I tend to stick to a regular interval of 5-7000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Even using synthetic, I still try to stick to 3,000 it can’t hurt really, but yea I know it’s more frequent then necessary.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    My personal check list when starting on a new project car -1- Pack wheel bearings and inspect front suspension and brakes-2- Mist water through intake to de-carbon engine before changing oil-3- Always change all “lifetime” fluids-4- Treat the leather after the detail-5- Inspect and correct all bulbs on all lights and focus your headlights-6- Have alignment and tires checked -7-Install a basic toolkit and lightweight jack and coveralls. I’m probably just an old dinosaur when it comes to the wheel bearings, but I am reassured when I set the play and see the spindle with my own eyes. The tire contact patch and related controls are what keep you in your lane. Probably a last vestige of growing up with Zerk fittings.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Not questioning your practices, but I’m genuinely interested, how does the mist de-carbon your engine?

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Don’t some people use water/methanol injection to wash carbon? Does just water work too?

        • 0 avatar
          AFX

          “Don’t some people use water/methanol injection to wash carbon ?”

          Just get yourself a 1962-1963 Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire and keep the Turbo-Rocket Fluid tank filled up and you’ll have no problems.

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        Water atomizes the carbon deposits and sends them out the tailpipe. Use the brake vacuum hose and a spray bottle.Have someone keep it running by feathering the throttle. You’ll fog the neighborhood. It gives me a baseline to start with when evaluating compression and valve/ring wear. Some prefer Seafoam, but it used to be unavailable in the Northwest. I watched in amazement when my Father first did it when I was about six. Been doing it ever since on used cars. Actually works, not an urban legend. Be sure you change the oil immediately after.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well, I once used Astroglide to get a thermostat housing back into position.

  • avatar
    ern35

    Keep the heat out of the interior—i.e. a flexible windshield screen to block out the sun during the ‘dog days of summer’ is a must. Leave the windows down slightly for ventilation, even when parked inside. Keep the moisture out of the interior—prevents molds that are hazardous to health. Also, buy the best car-wash product available—have had excellent results with ‘McGuire’s Gold Glass’.
    Also—the best vinyl ‘dressing’ product ever seen—i.e. ‘Zymol Protectant’—if you can find it.
    Excellent suggestions, tips, and hints welcome and appreciated.

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    Seafoam. I didn’t see any mention of adding seafoam to your intake to clean out deposits. Slowly feed it through the intake so not to hydrolock your engine. Let is set for about 30-minutes, then start and rev the engine. Thick smoke with pour out the back and the car will then run smoother.
    http://www.seafoamsales.com/sea-foam-motor-treatment/

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER

    NEVER have your vehicle serviced by an outfit that uses a pit instead of a dual-post side lift. NEVER! Let me repeat that: NEVER!

    Why, you may wonder.

    Well, here’s why. The technician needs full access to everything under the vehicle to properly service it. That includes the ability to spin the tires to look for embedded debris causing a slow leak, cuts, cupping, and other tire miladies, and listen for improper bearing and brake noise. You miss these critical inspections when your vehicle is serviced over a pit.

    Second, but no less important, on those vehicles that have lubricated suspension systems (pickups and vans, I’m looking at you), you MUST MUST MUST let the suspension hang down, unweighted, to get grease into the key areas to effectively lubricate them.

    Kenworth had to abandon what is arguably the best suspension ever invented for the rear of the tractor–parallel torsion bar–because truckers proved to be far too untrainable to lift the chassis to properly lubricate the front and rear suspension.

    A measurable degree of the wear and tear on our Interstate highway system is a direct result of the failure to understand the importance of lifting a vehicle off it’s suspension for routine service.

    So swear, you will NEVER have a vehicle serviced over a pit instead of a dual-post side lift.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I don’t know anything about semi-trailers, but I usually associate a pit for oil changes with cheapo Kwik-E-Lube-type places (thank you, come again).

      I don’t recommend taking any car to those kinds of places if you want to keep the car on the road. They’ll put the wrong fluids in your car (e.g. if you have Dex Cool, they will use the green stuff) and make stuff up about what you need. They also sometimes charge you for doing nothing and engage in other unscrupulous behaviors.

      One of my favorite stories that someone told on TTAC was when the Kwik-E-Lube idiot asked the commenter if their Ford Escape was AWD, and when the commenter said it was AWD, the Kwik-E-Lube idiot said his transfer case needed servicing. Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had a similar experience at stealership service departments.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    For the top of my head, first, if you do any DIY work, even the most trivial, you should buy a torque wrench and a lug nut socket. Even if you don’t DIY, you should still get a torque wrench for tightening the wheel lug nuts. I have seen some many times wheel studs broken off because of overturning, sometimes by professional shops. I am not a torque wrench brand nazi. I don’t think a casual DIYer needs the most expensive one, a $20 one from Harbor Freight tools (get a coupon) will do.

    Second, if you do any DIY work, even the most trivial brake pad change or wheel rotation, put the car on jack stands. Considering that a set of 3-ton stands costs about $20-30 on a sale, there is no reason to expose yourself to the risk of death or mutilated limbs as the car is supported by an unreliable scissor jack. A set of wheel chocks is also recommended for additional safety. A set of rhino ramps can also be handy if the only reason you get under the car is to change oil or ATF.

    Third, take a look at your car’s electrical system. It’s incredible how many problems can be caused by old rusted power and ground wires and terminals (anything from alternator noise in speakers to issues starting the car). Do the “Big 3″ upgrade that’s so popular in car audio circles, specially on older cars.

    Last, I haven’t seen a rotor that lasts well through a second set of brake pads. When you change the brake pads, it’s a good idea to change rotors too, every time. Also flush the brake fluid by bleeding it out as technically it should be changed completely 2-3 years if you want your brake lines to last a long time.

  • avatar
    TAP

    SEAFOAM IS A GREAT PRODUCT!
    I’VE ALSO USED OUTBOARD MOTOR DE-CARBON SPRAY ON AN ’84 CAMRY WITH GREAT RESULTS.

  • avatar
    AFX

    When changing a transmission filter make sure you wipe out the bottom of the pan for any metallic residue, and clean the magnets off. My dad used to use a piece of string tied across the pan to hold the new pan gasket in place when putting the pan back on. Instead of that I clean the pan flange and use a thin coating of Weldwood contact cement on the flange and the gasket to keep it in place.

    When changing the serpentine belt on a car like a Corolla/Prizm with 1.8 liter it’s actually easier and faster to change the belt from below, with the car up on ramps, than it is from up above the engine.

  • avatar
    The Dark One

    I do my own oil changes on 4 different cars. I write down how many quarts of oil each engine requires with a Sharpie or paint pen on the underside of the hood. It’s faster than looking it up in the owners manual. Add the filter number too, and you’ll never have to worry if the filter index in the store is missing and/or out of batteries; just run out to the parking lot and pop the hood.


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