Car Preparation – Undercarriage & Engine Inspection

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 25,793
    Brian Trochelmann, Service Manager at Fairfax Motors, demonstrates how to prepare your car for a road trip including an undercarriage and engine inspection.

    Brian Trochelmann: Hi, I am Brian Trochelmann, Service Manager with Fairfax Motors and I am going to be showing you how to prepare our car for a road trip. We are going to now focus our attention to the undercarriage of the car. We are going to do a visual inspection to see if there are any visible leaks of the car, making sure that there is no debris hanging from the car. We are going to utilize our lift. At our home, we obviously would not have a lift, but in order to make this more visually acceptable we are going to utilize it. What we are going to be doing first thing is we are going to just kneel down on the ground and just take a quick scan of the bottom of our car. We are going to be focusing our attention behind the front wheel, that we can look at the brake caliper to make sure the brake caliper is not leaking any fluid. We are going to repeat this step at each of the wheels. One thing that we just want to mention is that it's important that we put our car in park and we also have the parking brake engaged. Once we have completed inspecting the brake calipers for any visible leaks, we are going to turn our attention to the front of the car. At this time, we can just kneel down and just take a visible scan of the underneath of the car, focusing our attention to the engine area. What we are going to be looking for is any leaks, that is any fluid that is forming to a drip. That is going to be engine cooling fluid, engine motor oil or our power steering fluid, transmission fluid. These fluid leaks would be centered in between the two front wheels. Once we have completed that, we are going to focus our attention to the rear of a car. We are going to again, kneel down and take a visible scan for the underneath of the car, making sure there is nothing hanging, that the exhaust is firmly mounted. Now that we have lowered the car, we are going to be turning our attention to the engine compartment. Just one mention, we want to make sure that the car is not hot because we are going to be inspecting the coolant level. Talking about the cooling system, we are going to remove the lid to inspect the coolant level. This car is equipped with a level sensor that will tell us that the coolant fluid is proper. We are going to replace the lid and make sure it's nice and tight and on this specific car, it has two arrows that we want to line up. We always want to make sure we follow the instructions. Most of the time, there are instructions printed on the lid.

    Next is going to be the power steering system. Again, here, we are going to remove the lid, we are going to utilize a rag that we had made -- mentioned to earlier and we are just going to wipe the stem and we have a level indicator on the stem. We are going to replace the lid, tighten it down, now remove it and inspect for proper level and it is halfway between the two marks which is, again, the proper level. Now when it comes to the washer level, we can either visually inspect it through a clear container or like on this car, it's not clear. We can just insert our finger down the neck to see if it gets wet. On this car, obviously it didn't get wet, so we are low in fluid, so we would want to take our washer solvent that we have talked about earlier and we are going to add it to this container .

    Some cars have very large washer fluid tanks. This one, this car here is equipped with a five liter tank, so it may take more than a gallon. We are going to fill this one up and we are going to pour into the filler, making sure that we don't spill too much. Okay, this car is going to take about a half a gallon and now we are able to see the fluid at the top of the container and so we are able to verify, it's full. We are going to replace the cap to make sure we don't introduce any dirt and we will move on to the next component .

    Okay, now we are going to just take a visual inspection of the engine coolant hoses and also the engine drive belts. We can reach and again, making sure that the car is not hot and not running and just touch the hoses making sure that they don't feel extremely soft and that we also can just see of they are leaking any fluids, turning our attention to all the hoses that are across the front of the car.

    Then we are going to turn our attention to the engine drive belts. Again, we can look down to make sure that there is no obstruction, no debris and we are also going to make sure that we cannot see any cracks. And now, last, but not the least, we are going to inspect the oil level. We are going to utilize our rag and clean it off nicely. Again, here we have a fill indicator. We would want to be somewhere in the halfway mark. We retrieve it, which here we are well within the two marks and we can reinsert it and making sure that if we spilled anywhere, we wipe it off. Next, we are going to be turning our attention to the interior of the car. We are going to be inspecting the instrumentation and checking for any warning lights.