Let's start with the easiest thing to take care of: the charging system. This system is made up of two main parts: the alternator and the battery. The alternator initially sends out an A.C. current, but automobiles need D.C., so the current must be converted by diodes and sent back and forth from the battery. Some symptoms of a charging system illness include low battery, alternator noise, dim bulbs, and non-working accessories. Everything but the alternator noise could be a result of leaving your lights on, anything that is hooked up to the lighter, grounded wires somewhere, anything automatic in the car, like automatic windows, or even a crack in the battery. A simple check list to go through to make sure you don't have a major problem would include checking the alternator belt for wear and to make sure it's not slipping and whining; battery cables, checking to see if the are also loose, off, or grounded; also checking the terminals for corrosion. This could also mean your battery is dead. In any of these cases you may choose to take your car to an Advance Auto Parts or Auto Zone because they will help you to check, charge or change your battery for free. A battery or alternator are two thing...
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...tant to change the oil filter, too.
When the hood is open, look in the engine; there should be a metal loop sticking out of a metal cylinder, and that's your dipstick. Pull the dipstick out and with a rag or paper towel, wipe off the end with the oil on it off, put the stick back in, all the way and then pull it out and look where the oil ends on the end of the dipstick. If the oil doesn't reach the inside markings indicated on the end of the stick, you should add one to one-and-a-half quarts of oil, checking the level to be sure you haven't made it too full. If your oil is very dark, thick or chunky, then it is time to change your oil, and it is best to do when the engine is hot.
Noticing little problems like these could save you a lot of money and aggravation. They are simple problems and with a little knowledge they can be taken care of quickly and easily.
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