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Car Maintenance Quiz

Many adults will buy several cars during their lifetime. There are more than a billion cars in the world today—and by the middle of the century there could be up to four times that. Almost everyone, in every family, has a vehicle to call their own. In today’s world, our cars have become an important extension of our lives.

That is why car performance is crucial. It’s imperative to keep your car in tip-top shape so you’ll get to enjoy all the benefits that you derive from it.

Your challenge: Buckle up and turn the key on our short quiz about proper car maintenance and see how many correct answers you can achieve. Whether you’ve spent your life behind the wheel or are still aspiring to get your learner’s permit, we think everyone will learn something new.

1 How often should you change your oil and oil filter? A. Every 3,000 miles
B. Depends on your driving style and conditions (stop-and-go vs. mostly highway)
C. Depends on the car year and model
D. Both B and C
E. All of the above
2 A timing belt and a timing chain serve the same function. TRUE or FALSE
3 A weak battery can disable your air bags. TRUE or FALSE
4 You should winterize your car before cold weather arrives. TRUE or FALSE
5 Check your tires’ air inflation pressure when they are ______ for an accurate reading. A. Cold
B. Hot
C. Toasty
D. Luke warm
6 When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the __________. A. Power-steering pump
B. Front axle
C. Wheel alignment
D. Battery
7 You’ll need an engine tune-up every six months. TRUE or FALSE
8 Brake fluid lasts forever. TRUE or FALSE
9 Worn shocks can cause premature brake wear. TRUE or FALSE
10 A “check engine” light on your dashboard normally refers to a fault being reported by your car’s _____ system. A. Cooling
B. Braking
C. Transmission
D. Computer


1.D. According to AARP, your engine’s oil keeps the pistons lubricated and rids the engine of contaminants and impurities. Over time, as it gets dirty and loses volume, it needs to be replaced. Engine and oil technology have improved over the years, allowing most modern vehicles to go far beyond 3,000 miles before they need an oil change. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your mechanic about your driving habits to develop an ideal interval for your vehicle.

2.TRUE. They both “time” the crankshaft with the camshaft(s).

3.TRUE. A battery can crank the starter and still be weak enough to cause serious voltage surges in the system. It’s not unusual when testing for an air bag malfunction light to find a computer code stored for “low battery voltage.”

4. FALSE. Unless you want to put on snow tires or adjust your tire pressure, your car is already equipped for all seasons. While it used to be that cars required different grades of oil in the summer and winter, today’s car oil is designed to function well all year.

5. A. Cold (driven for less than one mile). Tires inflation should be checked cold, ideally after the vehicle sits overnight. Air expands as it heats up, increasing internal pressure in the tire and possibly causing inaccurate readings.

6. A. Power-steering pump.

7. FALSE. This was sound advice when older cars had many different components operating in a precarious balance. Nowadays, your car’s computer controls and checks all these components every time you drive it. So while it’s wise to have a mechanic look at your car every 25,000 miles or so to check the state of the spark plugs, belts, and fluids, there’s no need to schedule a tune-up by the calendar.

8. FALSE. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it has great ability to absorb water from the air. This moisture can eventually cause damage to the brake system and dangerously lower the brake fluid’s boiling point. Brake fluid should be clear and transparent. Cloudy brake fluid means it’s time for a change.

9.TRUE. If the front units are worn out, they’ll compress more easily during hard braking and allow the front of the vehicle to dive downward. If the rears are worn out, the rear of vehicle rises up and transfers weight from the rear to the front, creating more work for the front brakes since they’re trying to stop all that extra weight. Plus, worn shocks can increase the actual distance needed to stop a vehicle in the first place.

10. D. Computer. This light means that your car’s computer has detected a fault in one of the systems that are controlled by the electronic control module or ECM, which is your car’s computer brain.

Resources: Exxon Mobil Corporation, AARP®, Newcom Media Inc., Allstate Insurance Company, George Witt Service

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