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7. Vehicle Components

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164
Safety Equipment - Auto Maintenance

Basic Auto MaintenancePeriodic lubrication and oil changes according to manufacturer's recommendations extend the life of your vehicle, allow you to avoid costly repairs, and prevent dangerous break-downs.

The weight of oil that you choose for your engine (e.g., 10w-30 or 20w-50) depends on the manufacturer's recommendations, the outside temperature, and the age of your vehicle. Make sure to choose the right weight of oil for your vehicle.

Your vehicle uses oil in more than just the engine. Your transmission, differential, and power steering (of equipped) also use fluid that must be periodically checked and changed. Make sure to use the right type of fluid for each.

Failure or degraded performance of your brakes can lead to accidents. Your brakes should be inspected and maintained according to manufacturer's specifications.

You should periodically check the level of your brake fluid and maintain a full level. Periodically change your brake fluid according to the recommendations of your vehicle's manufacturer. Only use the weight of brake fluid they recommend.

Periodic tune-ups and transmission service according to manufacturer's specifications extends the life of your vehicle, allows you to avoid costly repairs, and prevents dangerous breakdowns.

During a tune up you should have your spark plugs, spark distributor, distributor cap, and air filter changed. The timing of your vehicle should be check and adjusted, and your points should be changed (if your vehicle has them).

To avoid breakdowns, accidents, and costly repairs, you should be aware of the condition of your steering system. There should be no play in your steering wheel if you have power steering, and no more than 2 inches of play in your steering wheel if you do not have power steering. If this is not the case, you should have your vehicle checked-out by a qualified technician.

Vibrations, unusual noises from your wheels, and your vehicle pulling or swerving when you stop or turn all indicate possible problems in your suspension system, steering system, brake system, and/or wheels and tires. These problems are largely avoided by inspection and repair at regular intervals.

You should also check for fluid leaks from your shocks and/or struts. If fluid is leaking, you should have them replaced.

Breakdowns, accidents and costly repairs are avoided by keeping your cooling system in good working order. This involves maintaining the level of the coolant and changing it according to manufacturer's recommendations.

You should also check for coolant leaks, cracks and deterioration in hoses and belts, and noises and leaks from your water pump.

You should replace hoses and belts periodically (say, once every three years). Be aware of abrupt changes or trends in your engine temperature as indicated by the temperature gauge. These signal developing problems.

Breakdowns and costly repairs can be avoided by keeping your exhaust system in good working order. This includes realizing that changes in noise level, smelling an abnormal amount of fumes, and rattling underneath your vehicle signal problems with your exhaust system. The exhaust system should be inspected for leaks and secure attachment along with other regular maintenance.

It is illegal to modify your exhaust system so as to increase the noise level of your vehicle or install a by-pass devise that allows it to increase. Your exhaust system should not have leaks that increase the noise level. Leaks in your exhaust system are dangerous because they expose you to carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.

The law requires (in most cases) that you have an emission test every two years at the time of registration or at time of sale. It is a good idea to have your smog control components checked at the time of a tune-up.

The California Vehicle Code provides specifications for fenders and mudguards on your vehicle. Before modifying these features of your vehicle, you must check the requirements in the California Vehicle Code . Modifying these components could result in throwing rocks or debris at the car behind you.

The notion of preventative maintenance is that money is saved and breakdowns are avoided by having comprehensive inspections done regularly (say, twice a year). Have parts with high failure rates replaced even though they are still functioning is also a good idea.

  • Examples of preventative maintenance include:

  • tune-ups
  • replacement of hoses and belts
  • oil changes and lubrication
  • transmission service
  • alignment, wheel balance, and tire rotation

  • Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 7 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. The engine in your car is sometimes called:


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    2. The ALTERNATOR:


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    3. The minimum tread thickness for passenger car tires is:


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    4. Disc brakes work by:


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    5. This oil warning light means that:


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