Keep regular maintenance of those parts before big issues pop up

12/04/2019

This article is a DIY inexpensive way of maintaining your car - for new car users especially in Nigeria.

Consistent car servicing and maintenance is a major step to enjoying the benefits of your vehicle. With the crazy topography of Nigerian roads, it's only wise that you know the wherewithal to keeping your car in good shape. This helps you drive easily as you mitigate the possibility of encountering technical faults while on the move. Asides breakdowns, constantly taking care of your automobile also limits the amount of money you pay professionals to fix a problem when it pops up.

Quick-car-maintenance-guide

Ensure you have the right tools when maintaining your vehicle

If you're a learner or just started plying Nigerian roads, here is a quick guide on how to maintain your car - all by yourself.

1. Replace your air filter

It's important that you replace your car's air filter every year or once you've covered 12,000 miles. It takes about 10 minutes to fix a new filter. Simply pop the bonnet of the car, and locate a black box with metal clips by the sides. It's rectangular in shape, and just under the bonnet of the car. You can check your car manual if you don't see yours.

Once found, open the box and keep a mental note of how the filter is placed. Remove the old one and replace. Ensure the clips are well closed when done. Also keep in mind that you can extend the lifespan of your filter by clearing every debris in it once in a while. Considering how dusty Nigerian roads are, this cannot be overemphasized. This clearing is done by passing compressed air through the filter.

The-air-filter-in-a-car

The air filter that becomes clogged will cause overheating problems

2. Change your spark plugs

Anyone who owns an electricity generating set would know what this looks like. They are also some of the cheapest car parts. It's advised that they should be changed after every 30,000 miles covered. Just like how the plugs are attached to rubber wires on your "I pass my neighbor" generator, so it is on your car. Depending on how many cylinders your vehicle carries, you'll find about 6 or more plugs.

Buy plugs that fit. Do not remove all the plugs you wish to replace at once, as there's an installment pattern the manufacturer followed - first to last. Carefully remove the thick wire for the first plug then remove the plug itself using a plug socket and extension. Then replace with the new spark plug and tighten with the plug socket or a wrench. Attach the plug wire. Carry out similar methods for the other plugs till you're done. The whole process should take about half an hour.

the-car-spark-plug

Be really careful when changing the spark plug

3. Replace your oil and oil filter

It takes about an hour to change the oil and oil filter of your car engine. Experts believe this should be done after every 3,000 miles covered, but with more reliable products you could wait till 5,000 miles.

Drive your car for a few minutes to heat up the oil and reduce its thickness. Park and wait for the engine to cool a bit before getting to work. Use a jack to lift the car a bit, go underneath to locate the car's oil pan. You can use your car manual to find it, if it seems a bit difficult. Unscrew, drain out the old oil and put back the pan.

the-oil-filter

Changing of oil filters should be every 3000 miles, experts advise

Go up to the engine, use a filter wrench to remove the oil filter carefully. It usually contains a little oil so move it diligently as not to spill fluid on yourself. Fill the new filter halfway with some new oil, and also lubricate it's rubber gasket. Fit and tighten the new filter with your hand. Then fill the engine with new oil, and check if it has reached the ideal level - using a dipstick.

You can always use the old oil (condemned oil as locals call It) for lubricating wood against termites.

4. Maintain your car battery

With just a wire brush, corrosion-removal liquid and a wrench, you can maintain your car battery and boost it's life span. Automatic transmission cars need a great battery connection to run smoothly and efficiently. Hence always carry out a visual check for white residue on the battery's terminals. Simply remove the wires on both terminals (negative first), use a corrosion-removal fluid to clean with a wire brush and further dry with a rag. In case you can't access the fluid immediately, any fizzy drinks like Coca-Cola or lacasera would do. Lack of cleaning is one of the reasons batteries die. Therefore, endeavor to carry out a visual check monthly.

female-mechanic-fixing-car

The car battery is one of the most important part in a car. Without it being fine, the engine will suffers

5. Carry out a radiator flush

Due to the Nigerian roads and climate, your radiator undergoes wear and tear. This leads to blocking of the cooling system which prevents the car from functioning effectively. With the help of your vehicle manual, locate the drain plug of the radiator, unscrew and let the old coolant pour out. Pour a radiator flush solution (which is available at shops that sell engine oil and the likes), add water till its full and cover the radiator. Put on the car and let the engine run for 10-15 minutes. You can also turn on the car heater for a while. The turn off the vehicle, let it cool before draining out the content of the radiator. Replace with fresh coolant.

Video: AutoDIY: How to flush Car Radiator - AutoBuzz.my

6. Change your brake pads

To avoid brake failure, endeavor to replace your brake pads annually or after covering at least 20,000 miles. Due to how delicate this motor part is, it's advisable you visit a professional. For those who run taxis (which involves a lot of "brake and accelerate" movement) you might need to even change the breaks a lot more frequently.

worn-out-brake-pads

The brake means a lot to the safety on the roads

Finally, you also need to change your fuel filter as well, check your tyres constantly and also your windshield wipers. These might be considered advanced maintenance that you shouldn't carry out by yourself. It's wise that you visit a skilled mechanic or electrician (as the case may be) to help ensure your car is in good hands and is well serviced.

>>> Check out more car maintenance tips right here on Naijacarnews.com!

Kennedy Ilediagu

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