How To Check Under the Hood

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 1 - Check the Anti-Freeze and Coolant

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 1

    Check the antifreeze/coolant level weekly. Some cars have transparent reservoirs with level markings. Fill to level marking with 50/50 solution of antifreeze and water. Caution: Do not remove the pressure cap when engine is hot.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 2 - Inspect Belts and Hoses

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 2

    Inspect belts and hoses monthly. Replace worn, glazed or frayed belts. Tighten them when more than 1/2" of slack can be depressed between pulleys. Vehicles with spring loaded belt tensioners require no adjustment. Replace bulging, rotten, or brittle hoses and tighten clamps. If a hose looks bad, or feels too soft or too hard, it should be replaced.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 3 - Check Transmission Fluid

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 3

    Check transmission fluid monthly with engine warm and running, and with parking brake on. Shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe dry, insert it again and remove it again. Add the approved type of fluid, if needed. Do not overfill.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 4 - Check the Oil

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 4

    Check oil every other fill up. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean. Insert it fully and remove it again. If it is low, add oil. To maintain peak performance, change oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Replace oil filter with every oil change.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 5 - Check the Air Filter

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 5

    Check the air filter every other month. Replace it when it's dirty or as part of a tune-up. It is easy to reach, right under the big metal “lid” on a carbureted engine, or in a rectangular box at the forward end of the air duct hose assembly on a fuel injected engine.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 6 - Check the Brake Fluid

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 6

    Check brake fluid monthly. First, wipe dirt from the master cylinder reservoir lid. Pry off the retainer clip and remove the lid or unscrew the plastic lid, depending on which type your vehicle has. If you need fluid, add the approved type and check for possible leaks throughout the system. Fill to mark on reservoir. Caution: Do not overfill.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 7 - Windshield Washer Fluid

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 7

    Keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir full. When topping off, use some windshield washer fluid on a rag to clean off the wiper blades. In winter months, pay attention to the freezing point of the washer fluid.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 8 - Check the Battery

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 8

    Use extreme caution when handling a battery since it can produce explosive gases. Do not smoke, create a spark or light a match near a battery and always wear protective glasses and gloves. Have it checked with every oil change. Cables should be attached securely and be free of corrosion. If the battery has filler holes, add only clear, odorless drinking water.

  • Checking Under the Hood: Step 9 - Check the Power Steering Fluid

    Checking Under the Hood: Step 9

    Check the power steering fluid once per month. Simply remove the reservoir dipstick. If the level is down, add fluid and inspect the pump and hoses for leaks.

Important note: This content is created to help you become more familiar with your vehicle. The information presented herein is generic in nature and applies to almost every vehicle on the road today. For specific information and recommendations for your particular vehicle, we recommend referring to your vehicle’s owner’s manual. If you do not have one, we recommend purchasing one for your vehicle. The owner’s manual will list the proper operating procedures, maintenance intervals and requirements and the fluid types needed to keep your vehicle in a reliable and trouble free state of operation. This in turn will deliver the best return on your investment and provide you with the optimum safety and economy in operation.