Undoubtedly, regular maintenance is the key to vehicle longevity. While drivers in Rome, Utica, and Manlius can always rely on knowledgeable mechanics such as those at Nye Volkswagen to get the job done, there’s plenty you can do right from home.

DIY car work may seem daunting, but with the right information, many jobs are actually a cinch. Check out some of our most frequently asked service questions below before starting your next job.

How often should I change my oil?

The answer to this question really depends on how many miles you’re putting on your car in a month, and how hard you’re driving it. However, most mechanics recommend you should change your oil every 3,000 miles or three months.

How do I check my transmission fluid?

Checking transmission fluid is very similar to checking engine oil. Make sure that your car is on with the emergency brake engaged and the vehicle either in park or neutral. At this time, pop the hood and remove the transmission dipstick. Wipe it down with a clean rag, then dip it back in and out. You should now have a clear indication of how much fluid remains.

How do I sync Bluetooth® in my car?

As long as you have a Bluetooth®-accessible vehicle and phone, this one isn’t too hard. You can sync Bluetooth® in your car in just a few short steps...

  1. Initiate the pairing process on your car’s stereo.
  2. Head into your phone’s setup menu and select the wireless tab.
  3. Turn on Bluetooth® from the submenu.
  4. In the Bluetooth® menu, select your car’s stereo from the list.
  5. Enter your personal stereo PIN and enable media.

You should now be able to make hands-free calls and access your music library. Enjoy!

How do I change my brake pads?

Changing brake pads is one of the trickier items on this list, but it can most certainly be done from home. First, you’ll need a jack and stands, a brake tool, brake oil, a socket wrench and tire iron, and replacement brake pads.

  1. Get your car off the ground. Tires need to be removed to reach brake pads, so remove them and jack your car. During this step, it’s a good idea to have an extra set of hands helping.
  2. Remove the caliper assembly and your old brake pads. The caliper assembly is essentially a clamp holding the pads between your rotors. Take off the caliper assembly and set it aside, steering clear of the brake line. You should now be able to slide out the old pads.
  3. Replace pads. Grease up the backs of the pads first, making sure none gets on the front or the rotors. Be gentle and make sure your pads are secure before replacing the caliper assembly. You’ll need your brake tool to readjust the assembly so it fits over the new, thicker pads.
  4. Put everything back together. Once the tires are back on, you should be good to go!

How do I bleed my brakes?

If your brakes feel a little squishy or sluggish, there’s a good chance that there’s air in your brake lines. Bleeding your brakes is the process of letting this air out. To do it, you’ll need a bleeder wrench or properly sized combination wrench, brake fluid, a glass jar, and an extra set of hands.

  1. Find the brake bleeder screw located behind each brake (hint: it’s attached to the bleeder hose). Reaching it will be easier if the vehicle is jacked. Crawl underneath and loosen the screw using your bleeder wrench. Be careful not to break off the screw. If it seems stuck, spray it with WD-40.
  2. Place a small piece of hose over the end of the screw. Then, place the other end in the jar. This will collect excess brake fluid.
  3. Have a friend pump the brakes for you, alerting each time they’ve been released. If you’re under the car during this part, use caution! Make sure that the vehicle is jacked securely.
  4. Open the bleeder screw after the brakes have been pumped a few times. Fluid is going to squirt out (hopefully right into the jar). More than likely, there will be a few air bubbles in there.
  5. Tighten the screw while the brakes are pressed down. Then, tell your friend to release. Do this until the screw is perfectly tight.
  6. Open the master cylinder and add more brake fluid. Failing to do so can cause some serious damage to your brake system.

How often should I rotate my tires?

Tires should be rotated every 6,000 miles. As a rule of thumb, just schedule a rotation with every other oil change.

How do I read my tire size?

The size on your tire is made up of a seemingly nonsensical combination of number and letters. But each mark means something different. This is how they’ll appear from left to right...

  • Tire type: P = passenger car tire and LT = a light truck tire.
  • Width: The first number is the width of the tire from one sidewall to the other, measured in millimeters. In a passenger car, it may be something like 245, for example.
  • Aspect ratio: This number represents the height of the sidewall. Since it’s only a percentage of the section width, it’s going to be smaller. Maybe around 45 or so.
  • Speed rating: This is the highest speed your tire can be driven on. S = 112 MPH and T = 118 MPH. A Z-rated tire is the fastest available, and will be accompanied by a W or Y, indicating the actual MPH the tire is rated for.
  • Radial construction: Most commonly, you’re going to have a radial tire, denoted by the letter R.
  • Wheel diameter: This number comes next, and will be specified in inches. It shows the size of wheel that your tire will actually fit.
  • Load index: This is the maximum load carrying capacity of your tire. Never install a tire that doesn’t meet the manufacturer’s recommendation for your model.

Auto Repair Rome NY

While this is a great starting point for all DIY maintenance, don’t begin any job if you’re uncertain. Rome, Utica, and Manlius drivers can consult the service experts at Nye Volkswagen beforehand for more information. Contact us today!