Got Any Good Car Maintenance Recipes To Share?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
got any good car maintenance recipes to share

For years, Bruce Lubin and his wife Jenny collected tips to save time and money, published on their 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.”

Do you have a car maintenance tips or tricks you can share? Send a message to editors, and include your TTAC handle.

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  • Jacob Jacob on Apr 15, 2013

    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.

  • TAP TAP on Apr 15, 2013


  • AFX AFX on Apr 15, 2013

    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.

  • The Dark One The Dark One on May 09, 2013

    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.