221021 What every Car Owner Should Know 1 of 2 by Rachel Baker


By Rachel Baker

Reprinted with permission of the SPOKESMAN-REVIEW

Owning a car is a privilege and a large responsibility. To make sure your car is safe to operate and to avoid problems down the road, there are a few basic vehicle components and maintenance tips every car owner should know.

Car engine oil

Also called motor oil, this provides lubrication to all the moving parts of a car’s engine. As the car runs, byproducts of combustion build up in the oil, causing it to darken in color and change to a gunky texture. Knocking and rumbling in the engine, smells of oil inside the vehicle and visible exhaust smoke can all be signs that the oil is past due for changing.

The oil should have an amber hue. Periodically check the levels and top off as needed. This ensures you are aware of leaks and that your car has enough oil to operate.

Traditional advice is to change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, and while this may be best in general, innovations in synthetic oil often allow a car to run fine without an oil change for 5,000 to 10.000 miles.


A car’s suspension provides a lattice of strong parts coupled with components that can absorb shock such as dampers and coil springs. It works to absorb energy from driving over uneven surfaces and increases tire friction on the road.

It is common for various suspension components to wear out over time and cause you to feel jostled around, often side to side, when driving over uneven surfaces. Worn suspension can also sound squeaky or clunky. These parts tend to be pricey, but investing in the suspension is important to the longevity of the car.

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