Car Repair Tips: How a Home Mechanic Can Learn Home Truck Maintenance

Car repair tips from MOTHER's Mechanic column includes advice from an auto mechanic on home truck maintenance, including maintaining a country truck and keep it healthy and running.

| October/November 1997

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    Diagram: Typical positive crankcase ventilation system (PCV).
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    Diagram: Typical vacuum emission control.
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    If you take a little time to learn home truck maintenance, what parts are affected by which hazard, how to minimize the damage, and when to replace key parts before they fail, your pocketbook—and the environment—will benefit.

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MOTHER's Mechanic shares hints and secrets on how a home mechanic can learn home truck maintenance to keep your country car or truck in your driveway and out of the mechanic garage. (See the truck engine diagrams in the image gallery.)

Some auto components degrade with time, others with wear, others from weather, others from poor care, and some from combinations of the four. The condition of many has an effect on the vehicle's emissions, fuel economy, and contribution to the landfill as well. If you take a little time to learn home truck maintenance, what parts are affected by which hazard, how to minimize the damage, and when to replace key parts before they fail, your pocketbook—and the environment—will benefit.

Home Study and First Steps for Home Truck Maintenance

Though it goes against the do-it-yourself inclination of Americans, as soon as you get the new hauler home, take the owner's manual out of the glove box and read it through. If you intend to work on the vehicle yourself, also obtain a copy—current for your vehicle's model and year—of the Chilton, Haynes, or other all-inclusive repair manual. They are available for under $30 at a book or auto parts store. At the same time, get a container of hard axle grease, several spray cans of light engine oil, a jar of white door-hinge lube, a tube of powdered-graphite lock lube, and a quart of good hard auto wax or one of the new fluid non-wax car polish.

Open all the doors, pop the gas-filler-door, lift rear-hatch covers, and see how things operate. Try everything that moves, cinch gas cap on tight, and fasten any loose items in the hatch area so they are stable and rattle-free. As you go, apply hard grease to spring hinges, white grease inside and all over door latches and over seat slides, plus a good shot of powdered graphite into locks. Inside such hidden spaces as the gas lid and well behind the fender, apply a thin but thorough coating of spray-oil. Let it drip and, in hidden crannies, let it accumulate road dust that will help the oil skin over and hold fast. These simple measures will stop corrosion before it can start.

The Truck Interior

Go over the inside as well. With small amounts of grease and an oily rag, coat any hinges and metal surfaces that won't soil your clothing—up under the dash, inside ash trays or metal glove box doors.

Make a note to order a set of aftermarket doorsill covers and install them after greasing their undersurfaces as well as the metal sill itself. In ten years, the sill will be strong and pristine rather than rusted.

7/28/2015 4:49:20 AM

Excellent! It is really a useful article for me. Most often I surf to find some easy car repair tips but unable to find any satisfactory result. Lucky I am that I found your article today. This article is much valuable. I can be able now to fix the minor faults of my car by my own. I think, we should make a try to fix up the minor faults but when it is something serious, we should not take a risk of trying fixing it. Repair center is the only place to go at that time. I prefer and it is a good one. Thanks for the great blog. I appreciate.

Gary Birtles
2/25/2015 9:32:46 AM

Recently I've been trying to take on more repair projects where my truck is concerned. I've been surprised with how many things I've been able to achieve just by doing a little bit of home research and learning on the subject. I agree that studying the problem is the best first step to take. It is amazing what a little time spent learning can help you accomplish and repair.

3/18/2014 7:03:11 AM

Vehicle maintenance is a most important thing for a mechanic, first the mechanic should know about the preventive and schedule maintenance of the car. As per the use of the vehicle the preventive maintenance also need, as per the service manual the service should be done. A well known mechanic have the idea to know about the fault of a vehicle and how to solve the problem, a schedule maintenance will do when a vehicle got damaged.


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