Car maintenance methods can keep your vehicle run like a PRO!

You can minimize your garage visits if you use the proper car maintenance methods

Let us say during winter while going to work in the middle of traffic; your car suddenly quit. If you are one of the many who cannot afford to drive a new vehicle and don’t do PROPER car maintenance, you probably has a cell phone and could get help. And most likely, these possibilities could happen:

Case #1

You phone several tow trucks and the earliest one is 3-4 hours away
After the vehicle was taken to a garage, you are told it will take another 2-3 days before they can look at it. With this news, you are basically without a car for a week if the problem is serious.

Case #2

If you are smart and do your own car maintenance, this might happen to you instead: (this actually happened on Nov.3.07 in ATS)

Email from Mike M. to ATS:

My truck 2003 GM truck with 6.0L engine ran out of fuel and died while in drive, I coasted to the side of the road, added fuel and tried to restart. It seems to be stuck in drive, the engine will not crank over and the gear indicator bar is not there. I have disconnected the battery this did not reset anything. Do you have any idea what may have happened?

Thank you

11.04 am

ATS email after analyzing all the facts:

Have you checked all your fuses?

1:47 pm

Email from Mike M. to ATS:

Thank you for all your help. With a second check of the fuses I found the PCM (computer) B fuse in the engine compartment was blown. I replaced the 50 cent fuse and the truck started right up. I appreciate all your responses.

3:17 pm

Imagine the savings here. In the first case, you would be extremely lucky if you end up paying a couple of hundred dollars but in reality, you could have fixed it by a 50 cent fuse. Of course ATS will not promise that this is the case all the time. However after monitoring all vehicle problems over the years, ATS has concluded that the real high cost of vehicle repairs is lack of good direct information.

Also, these 2 cases above clearly show you some exciting possibilities if you do your own car maintenance. Gone are the days that you will read your service manual and follow the maintenance guidelines and in the hour of need, nobody has a clue of what to do when there is a breakdown. Knowing car maintenance tricks means knowing your car and what makes it work.


Most of our vehicles right now are very complicated. This means, car maintenance must be approached in a realistic manner. You have to be selective on what information you really have to know. If the vehicle is complex, then your resources should MATCH the complexity. This means you also have the means to access that complex information. In ATS, we only require 2 important car maintenance tricks from our members:

Wash your engine at least every month till you know it by heart.
Monitor your instrument panel so you will be familiar with it.

This is all and here are the reasons why:

Washing your engine gets you familiarized with your engine components. The parts like sensors, wires, vacuum hoses and other parts showing in your engine compartment will unravel to you their secrets. You will know their colors, connections, routings, sounds, smell, looks which are all important if there is a problem. Example, to find any component, you need to know the colors of the wires. If the engine is dirty, you will not recognize anything. If the spark plug wire starts to get weak, you will know it right away because it will misfire as soon as it contact with water.

When you drive your vehicle, you are basically just like inside the pilot’s cock pit. The dash talks to you and tells you everything it the car does. From fuel tank level, engine oil pressure and temperature including check engine light and all accessories like air bag, radio, and cruise control are displayed for you to see. Being the eye of the system, you need to know the meaning of all these lights.

Example if the engine starts to deteriorate, a blinking light will flash to you. If one of your tire pressures is low, another light will show. The most important thing is knowing when to act as soon as the light shows up. It could be important or not but ATS will advise you when to act.

So how about the regular maintenance like your oil change, belts, hoses, etc? As a member, you have the liberty to get involved and do that but if you analyze the cost, these jobs are pretty cheap compared to this knowledge that you learn.

Example, you could be doing all the oil changes every 3-4 months and save $30 on labor but are you willing to pay a garage $100 an hour later when your vehicle breaks down? Most drivers should be able to fix the UNIQUE common problems that garages are charging everyday like changing fuse, sensors, electrical parts, etc… reason? For most part; this is where most money is being made and it is about time the regular guy got to know this and let the garages do the difficult jobs like changing the engines, transmissions and other REALLY complicated jobs.

So is ATS car maintenance tricks confined only to electronics? Not at all because every vehicle is unique meaning each of them has a different way of manufacture that can cause a problem that is only common to them. Whether the components are non electrical like brakes, air bags, AC, transmission, differential or any parts as long as there is a unique pattern of making the car, it also produces a unique problem and solution.

Here are a few QUICK car maintenance methods that you can use TODAY:

engine fuse

1.) When you have a short and your engine circuit fuse blows, most of the time it can be replaced in a matter of minutes. However, make sure to find the cause of the short or that fuse will blow if the affected wiring circuits get hot. Using a wiring diagram, you can find the circuit causing the fuse to blow and track it. Sometimes touching the wires can help you find the shorted wire because it will be hot to touch (you can even smell it).

2.) When people find faults with their car they automatically take it to a professional mechanic who can often have the minor faults analyzed within minutes and still charge you an excessive amount. By having some basic knowledge of how your car works and its operating system, you can save you some money by doing the odd minor repair or modification yourself. always use a service manual when performing this on your own.

3.) Finally, in case you do not know where to start or thinking of going to a garage in which you know has had contacts previously, you can ask them for reference. You can then evaluate the recommendation according to how often your friend has been using their favorite garages. Example, if they have been using the same garage for sometime, that recommendation can weight more than another's advice who has just saw the garage once. This makes sense because the more you see a garage, you will have an idea how good they are.

4.) When faced with difficult troubleshooting problems, always surf the internet to get help which can be really useful if you live in a remote places. A lot of times, there is always an online mechanic willing to help you for a minor fee.

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