What’s under the hood of your car?
Love your car and the way it makes you feel, but want to know more about what’s under the hood?
Whilst the modern vehicle is equipped with a range of high tech sensors and computer mechanisms, unless you have an electric car, you’re going to find some common things that are important for you to have a basic knowledge of. Here’s what you can to expect to find and some tips on things you can do to help keep your car happy.
Yep that’s right, the bulk of what you’re seeing under the hood is the engine. It’s the heart of the car – it keeps your wheels turning. The size and orientation of your engine may differ, and if you want to get into the specifics of your motor, talk to our friendly mechanical staff or refer to your car manual.
If your car won’t start, there’s a fair chance that you either have an issue with your alternator or the battery. Alternators and batteries work hand in hand. Your battery helps start your car, while the alternator converts your car’s mechanical energy into electrical energy. This helps to keep your battery charged and keeps the engine running. If the problem is to do with the alternator, it’s probably best to leave it to the Autoco experts to look into.
You’ll find your battery off to one side of the engine, more often on the passenger’s side, and very commonly in the boot area or sometimes under the seat. Your battery is what allows your vehicle’s electric parts like the radio, aircon, lights and power windows to function. It also stores power so your engine will start. You can do a basic check of your battery by looking at the connections to ensure they are not loose and are clean and free from corrosion – If there is a build up, use a wire brush to clean them down.
Oil fill cap and Dipstick
You should check your oil levels every few months. To check your oil level, run your engine for a couple of minutes so that your oil is warm (not hot). Once the engine is warm and shut off, pull the dipstick out of the hole and wipe it off. Stick back into the hole carefully, and slowly remove it. Observe where the engine oil falls on the measuring stick. If the oil falls below both notches on the meter, the engine needs more oil.
Locate the oil fill cap which is located on top of the engine, it is usually labelled “oil fill,” “engine oil,” or sometimes it’s just an icon of an oil can. Only ever use the oil type specified in your owners manual and be careful not to overfill.
Check our TikTok of Mille from our Phillip workshop showing how its done!
Do a visual check of the coolant level once per month or before a long journey, if you continually have to fill up the coolant on a regular basis, have it checked by an Autoco technician*. It is important to check the condition of the coolant as over time it will lose its effectiveness at protecting the engine. If the coolant is a brownish rusty colour it needs replacing. If the tank is low, it needs topping up.
Always consult your manual or talk to a friendly Autoco technician to make sure the coolant is compatible with your car and your climate.
*Changing coolant can be dangerous if the engine has not fully cooled – save yourself the worry and have one of our experts do it for you.
Windshield washer fluid
While this may not be as vital to your car’s mechanical capability as the other components mentioned, you should pay close attention to the level of liquid you have available to wash your windscreen. Dirty windshields can be hazardous, so make sure your fluid is topped up at all times.
Autoco uses and recommends Bar’s bugs windscreen cleaner as additive to your washer fluid. It ensures crystal vision under all driving conditions and keeps your blades lubricated which makes them last longer.
Autoco mechanical servicing
Keeping your car serviced is vital to its performance and the safety of everyone on the road, including yourself!
Schedule a service appointment at any of one our four local workshops – Phillip, Belconnen, Tuggeranong & Mitchell.