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How to Perform a Vehicle Maintenance Service

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Many people automatically think anything that deals with their vehicle maintenance needs to be dealt with by a professional. These instructions will prove otherwise. Approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles a vehicle should be serviced. To some people this just means changing the oil, but what a vehicle really needs is an overall maintenance. Here are the general steps that should be taken for a vehicle maintenance service.

Basic Services Performed:
1. Oil Change (Steps 3-6)
2. Tire Rotation (Steps 7-9)
3. Tire Pressure (Step10)
4. Check Fluid Levels (Step 11)

 
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Step 1: Purchase Oil and Filter

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Photo courtesy of acdelco.com

Look in your vehicle's manual to determine what type of oil and how much to purchase. Purchase the oil at your local auto parts store. While there, you can also ask them what type of oil filter you need for your vehicle.

Step 2: Identify Tools and Materials

Picture of Identify Tools and Materials
Locate all the tools and materials you'll need for the maintenance service and have them handy so you don't have to search for them while working. You'll need the following tools:

1. Car jack
2. Creeper
3. Basic wrench
4. Screw driver
5. Pressure gauge
6. Air nozzle
7. Filter wrench
8. Socket
9. Air impact wrench
10. Oil Filter
11. Oil
12. Rag
13. Oil pan (no pictured)
14. Funnel (optional)

Step 3: Warm up and Jack up Vehicle

Picture of Warm up and Jack up Vehicle
Materials Needed for Step: Car Jack

Start vehicle until engine temperature gauge rises about a quarter of the way. This will allow the oil to drain faster and to get a thick goop out that is bad for the engine.

Find a spot on the frame of the vehicle preferably to jack up the vehicle high enough for you to fit under it while on the creeper.

Step 4: Drain Old Oil

Picture of Drain Old Oil
Materials Needed for Step: Creeper, Wrench, Rags, Oil pan

Locate the oil plug. (Manual will describe its location)

Place pan under the plug to catch oil.

Remove oil plug with properly sized wrench.

Once oil has stopped draining, wipe surface clean and put oil plug back in.

Tighten oil plug securely.
MrPapaya1 year ago
Where are the heavy-duty jack stands? Floor jacks are only for lifting the car until you can put proper jack stands under it. Hydraulic & scissor jacks can and do fail. I've seen it happen.
BRBarry1 year ago
I am always looking for a good checklist of pre/post trip inspection or general maintenance. But I must say this instructable could give some just enough info to be dangerous. What would be helpfull is a diagram of the proper tire rotation,(if needed). The things to be looking for when the tires are off, eg. brake pads and what to be looking for on them, the rotors, calipers, shocks and springs, etc. and things to be looking for to trouble shoot. Also when the tires are off you might as well put some grease in them nipples that will be easier to get at. ha ha...nipples. I find that the oil pan plug should stay off until the old filter is removed, that way if any spills out it will still drain and not dirty the new oil as much, as well as filling the new filter with clean oil prior to install. And not to mention, you might want to wear shoes, not sandals.
This is a good general post about vehicle maintenance! Thank you!
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