OWNER’S MANUAL SERVES AS GUIDE TO PROPER PROTECTION
By Rachel Baker
Reprinted with permission of the SPOKESMAN-REVIEW
A vehicle has several filters. Cabin air filters help remove air pollutants from entering the cabin as it moves through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Low air flow, whistling, loud operating or odorous air are signs that it needs to be changed.
Fuel filters are round filters housed in the fuel tank or in the fuel line that protect the fuel injectors lines from dirt, debris and other contaminants. Signs it needs to be replaced include erratic and poor engine performance and fuel efficiency, hard starting, rough idle, stalling and other fuel system failures.
The engine air filter removes bugs, debris, dirt, air pollutants, water and other substances from the air that is taken in by the engine. A clean filter improves overall performance and efficiency. Inspect it if you notice lower than usual horsepower, black smoke from the exhaust pipe or a detectable gas odor when starting the engine.
The oil filter protects the car’s oil from dirt and debris. It’s generally advised to change it every time you change the oil. Overheating, decline in performance, decreased oil pressure and dirty exhaust fumes can all be signs it is overdue.
Cars typically use nine fluids. You’re familiar with gas and oil. Coolant, also called antifreeze, regulates the engine temperature. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission for smooth shifting. Power steering fluid is used to create hydraulic pressure to reduce the effort required to turn the wheel. Differential fluid lubricates the gears, allowing power to transfer from the transmission to the wheels. Brake fluid works to create hydraulic pressure and transfer and amplify braking force. And as you know, windshield wiper fluid keeps those pesky bugs and grime out of your line of sight.
As every manufacturer and mechanic will tell you, always refer to your owner’s manual and it will guide you through all the routine maintenance needed to ensure your car runs as well and as long as possible.
Checking your car’s motor oil is a relatively easy task. Traditional advice is to change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.