Basic Motor Mechanics
Whether you’ve bought a brand new car or one with hundreds of thousands of kilometres on the odometer, it is a simple fact of life that you are going to need to make some repairs at one point or another. While modern cars are more complicated than ever and often require the assistance of a trained mechanic, there are still plenty of basic car problems you can either fix or at least diagnose on your own. This article will serve as an introduction to basic motor mechanics that you may be able to handle without calling for external assistance.
Many of the most common reasons for contacting a mechanic involve a car that won’t start, and it is worth reviewing techniques you can use to diagnose and fix basic starting issues. If you turn the key and the engine starts turning slowly but doesn’t fully start, and your lights are either dim or won’t turn on at all, this is a common and easy to solve problem: your car battery is either weak or completely flat.
A car with a manual gearbox can be push started or jump leads can be used to get it started on a temporary basis, but for a long term solution you will need to recharge the battery. If the battery is not completely flat, you can often get away with simply jumping it to the point where it starts and then allowing it to run for a few minutes so the alternator can charge it back to normal levels.
Another common issue that car owners will eventually have to deal with is a low oil light. The oil light comes on when the levels of engine oil within the engine are low enough to put the engine at risk of eventual damage if the oil levels are not replenished. Engine oil is responsible for keeping the engine lubricated; without it, an engine can become damaged to the point of no repair within as little as a few kilometres, so it is worth paying attention to the light when it turns on.
Opening the bonnet and pouring a litre or two of oil into the engine will usually be enough to get the light to turn off. However, you should always check the oil levels with the dipstick before and after you add oil to make sure that you have added the proper amount. Adding too much oil to an engine can cause issues and damage, although it is always better to have a little too much oil added than not enough.
The ability to change one’s tyres is another skill that one should have, as it can be a life saver when stranded kilometres away from help out in the country or on the motorway at night. Even if you don’t find yourself in a situation where being able to change a tyre helps keep you safe, it is still a good technique to have the hang of, if only to be able to help others in need or to save yourself the costs of calling a mechanic.
The basics of changing a tyre are simple: activate the parking brake, turn the car off and place it in the parking gear. Check the boot for a tyre jack, a wheel wrench, and the spare, and lift the car by placing the tyre beneath the car and remove and replace the flat tyre with the wheel wrench and spare.
Other Basic Motor Mechanics articles:
How to change a tyre – Economical Driving – Keeping your car roadworthy – Saving money on your Car Insurance – Preparing for Winter Driving – Prolonging the life of your car – Buying a second hand car – Towing a caravan safely – Safety tips for bikers