So you just got your first car and you're about to take off for college; pretty exciting! Once you leave for school, you'll have to take on plenty of responsibilities. This includes taking care of yourself, your things, and your car! One thing many college students seem to neglect is routine car maintenance. Our Orlando Toyota service department wants to share a guide to auto maintenance to help you keep it in shape while you're at school!
When your parents tell you to keep your car in shape, you should listen to them. That's because neglecting auto maintenance can severely devalue the price of your vehicle and it can eventually lead to problematic parts. You may end up without a car! Check out this guide from our auto service team and see how you can maintain your ride while you're away at school.
Your home-away guide to auto service in Orlando
- Motor oil - Your car needs a new oil change about every 5,000 miles; although this depends on the kind of oil you use and how you drive. An easy way to determine if you need new oil is by checking it yourself! Under the hood of your car, you'll find the dip stick in the engine. When the car is turned off and cooled down, pull out the dip stick and wipe it off on a clean cloth. Place the dip stick all the way back into the pipe, then pull it back out and look at where the oil is marked on the stick. If it's on the lower end, it means your oil is low! You should also look at the oil tint; if it's dark and sticky, it's old and needs to be changed.
- Spark plugs - A huge sign that you're experiencing problems with your spark plugs is if your car won't start! The spark plugs may have combusted and are now unable to get the engine going. Don't worry, it can be fixed in no time at our Toyota auto maintenance center.
- Coolant - The coolant is a fluid in your car that keeps it from overheating. That's why you should top it off regularly! An easy way to check it is by opening the cap in your radiator under the hood. There's usually a marking that states "'full". If you see that it's on the lower side, get it topped off at our auto service center.
- Transmission - If you don't want your gears to wear out, keep your transmission fluids in check! The transmission fluid helps keep the moving parts working smooth and efficiently.
- How to jump start a car - If nothing happens when you stick your key into the ignition, chances are your battery is dead! You can try to jump start it to get it going again. However, you'll need jumper cables and another vehicle parked near yours. Turn off both cars and place the red clips on the positive terminal of each battery. Attach the black clip to the negative terminal of the other car and the other black clip to an unpainted metal service on your car. Then start the vehicle with the working battery and allow it to charge for a while.
- Replace - Car batteries tend to have a life span of about two to three years. So if you need to get your battery replaced, visit our genuine Toyota parts in Orlando to find the right one for your car.
Our Orlando auto service team answers your questions on car maintenance!
- Tire pressure - The pressure of your car will change depending on weather and driving conditions. Make sure that it has the proper pressure to drive efficiently and safely. You can check your tire pressure at a gas station with a tire pump or at our service center.
- How to change a flat tire - If you're stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire, know how to put on the spare. First, pull over to a safe spot and turn on your hazards. Use a wrench to loosen the lug nuts and pull them out. Then, use a jack to raise the vehicle off the ground. Pull the flat tire straight out. Carefully slide the new tire into place and tighten the lug nuts back on. Lower the car back down and place everything in the trunk. Make your way to our Toyota service center in Orlando to get a new tire.
- Fluids - The brake fluid is what applies pressure to make your vehicle come to a complete stop. If you have a leak in the brake system or if you're low on fluid, you run the risk of experiencing brake failure. If you feel that when you step on the brake pedal the response is delayed, then you should consider stopping by!
- Pads - The brake pads apply force to the metal rotors and allow you to stop the vehicle. When you look at your wheel and see that the pad looks thin or if you hear screeching when breaking, you may need new ones!
- Fluids - Keep your fluids topped off to ensure that you have clear visibility while driving. Don't use anything other than wiper fluid!
- Blades - You should get your wiper blades replaced every six months to a year. If you notice that they're not wiping up as much water or dirt, get new wipers installed!
The good thing with newer model cars is that they're equipped with advanced technology features that warn you when something is wrong. If a light comes on your dashboard and you don't know what it means, check your car manual. However, these are some of the most common ones:
- Check engine - Most cars have a "CHECK ENGINE SOON" light that'll pop up. Before you head to get it checked out, check that your gas cap is on tight! There are times that it just needs to be placed on correctly.
- Motor oil - This usually looks like a can of oil with a drop dripping from it. This means that you need an oil change!
- Low fuel - Typically this light is red and it looks like a gas pump. This means that you're low on fuel and need to stop at the gas station ASAP!
- Battery - If you see a rectangular shape light with a "+" and "-"sign in the middle, it means your battery needs a recharge!
- Tire pressure - Typically if your tires are at a low pressure and need air added, the light that'll come on looks similar to this: "(!)"
Prep for emergencies with our Orlando auto service team
Be prepared for what may happen while you're away at school! Prior to leaving home make sure you communicate with your parents to ensure you have all the proper documentation and what should you do in case of an emergency. Some of the documents you should have with you while driving are:
- Car registration
- Driver's license
- Insurance information
- Roadside assistance contact
Make our Toyota Service Center in Orlando the spot for auto service needs!
If you're in need of auto service while away from home, visit our Toyota service center in Orlando! We have highly trained technicians, affordable deals and service specials, a genuine Toyota parts store, and you can call ahead to schedule an appointment in between classes. Call us at (866) 945-0493.