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Automotive Maintenance Tips

Prevent Costly Repairs with These Simple Tips

Just like you, cars don’t like to sit idle. So, while you and your vehicle are maintaining safe social distancing, check out these QUICK TIPS from Harbor Freight Tools to ensure your ride is running smooth when it’s time to get back on the road.

Auto Maintenance

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Wheel & Brake Maintenance

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Keep it Clean

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Prevent costly repairs with these simple vehicle maintenance tips


One of the best ways to ensure your engine runs smoothly is to regularly check and change your oil. Check the oil level with the engine warmed up and on a level surface (see your owner’s manual for specific details.)

For easy topping or changing use this Holt Industries Fluid Extractor or these handy Pittsburgh Automotive accessories: Oil Pan with easy pouring spout and Waste Oil Storage Container. Harbor Freight also offers 5-W30 and 10-W30 with Active Cleansing Technology from Pennzoil. Also check the power steering fluid level and the power-steering-pump which is usually attached to the fluid-reservoir cap, as well as the level in the brake-fluid reservoir. If the brake-fluid level is low, top it off and make a note to have the brake system checked for leaks.

Air Conditioning & Cooling System:

Maintaining your cooling system is essential to prolonging the life and efficiency of your engine by preventing overheating and the best way to ensure your system is working is to perform periodic flush and fill. This Maddox Cooling System Test and Refill Kit makes it easy to test and refill automotive cooling systems using air. Always make sure to use the proper mix of water and antifreeze – view your vehicle owner’s manual for details.

While it’s important to ensure your vehicle remains cool, it’s just as important to ensure you remain cool as a driver… temperature wise of course.The best way to ensure your A/C system is in shape for summer is by checking the system. This Pittsburgh Automotive A/C R134A Manifold Gauge Set is designed to test automotive air conditioning systems (using R134A refrigerant only) by comparing the “high side” and “low side” pressure readings. If your system is low and needs a refill, use Johnson’s 12 oz. R-134 refrigerant for all factory installed or retrofitted A/C systems.


If you’re already lifting your vehicle for an oil change or tinkering with the undercarriage, take the time to make under-car inspections. Check for rusted-through exhaust parts that may need to be replaced or tighten loose clamps. Shop the lowest prices for engine, transmission and exhaust tools & accessories.


Inspect your battery’s terminals and cables to ensure they are secure and free of corrosion. If your battery comes with removable caps and you live in warmer climates, check the fluid level at least once a month. If corrosion is visibly present you can easily clean connections with this Pittsburgh Automotive Battery Terminal Cleaning Brush (always make sure the ignition is off and battery is disconnected before beginning work). Give your battery the charge it needs with this Viking Fully Automatic Battery Charger/Maintainer. While you have the hood open, check for any loose caps, housings, wires or signs of distress. For those hard to see or reach areas, check out this 2.7 In. Color Compact Digital Inspection Camera to ensure there are no trouble spots hiding out of plain sight.



Achieve optimum driving performance and safety with these proper wheel, brake & advanced care tips

Inspect Tires:

If your car sits idle for too long, you may run the risk of tires deflating or getting soft spots. Pick up any number of our handy tire pressure gauges if you don’t have one already and check out our line of Rapid Pump Floor Jacks by Pittsburgh and Daytona.

Check Brakes:

If you perform your own brake work, remove all wheels and examine the brake system. Replace excessively worn pads or linings, and have damaged rotors or drums machined or replaced. Check out our full line of brake tools & accessories including this Maddox Disc Brake Pad and Caliper Service Tool Kit.

Advanced Care:

For the more advanced home garages, pick up a Zurich Code Reader. Set on the OBD2 standard and compatible with most domestic and foreign vehicles model year 1996 and newer, a code reader is the ultimate solution to diagnose your Check Engine Light including ABS light reset, SRS light reset, Battery Initialization, Steering Angle resort, Electronic Parking Brake reset and a number of other functions.



Protect your paint and parts by regularly washing your vehicle

Wash Your Car:

A clean car makes a happy owner and this can become a fun outdoor activity to get you, your kids, or any other house mate outside and working on something productive… like shining your new wheels. Prevent overheating by removing any grit or grime from your engine parts with a brush and washing the outside of the radiator with a detergent solution. Get the best deals on cleaning products and degreasers or Grant’s Microfiber Cleaning Cloths.

Polish & Wax:

Once your car is clean, take the extra steps of polishing and waxing your vehicle in order to remove mild surface paint defects and provide an extra layer of protection, not to mention some extra shine. Achieve a glasssmooth finish with this Dual Action Variable Speed Polisher by Bauer, paired with Meguiar’s Dual Action Cleaner Polisher.


For anyone parking outside, if you’re not driving regularly, consider a portable garage. Not only will this protect your vehicle from the elements but also will deter pesky critters that can damage housings, hoses, lines and wires.