Do you know your way around under the hood of your car? While not as critical as it used to be, checking under the hood periodically can head off problems before they become costly. Today, with self service gas stations everywhere, often the only way you will get it done is for you to do it yourself.
Start by reading your owners manual. There will always be a section on under hood checks. Keep a pair of old gloves and a roll of paper towels in the trunk
First, a word about safety. Read the safety warnings in your owners manual and any safety warning stickers that may be under the hood.
If the engine has been running for any length of time, there are areas under the hood that can be very hot. Except for checking transmission fluid level, all checks should be done while the engine is turned off. If the engine is running, do not put your hands near any belts or fans. If you are not comfortable with touching a hot or running engine, then just do the checks that can be done with the engine cold and turned off and have someone else do the rest.
The following items should be checked periodically:
- Engine oil level
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Coolant (Antifreeze) level
- Windshield washer solvent
- Belts & Hoses
- Windshield wiper blades