This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Check a car's fluid levels.
Explain the importance of vehicle maintenance.
Locate fluid leaks.
Replace engine oil and filter.
Change automatic transmission fluid and filter.
Perform a grease job.
Inspect for general problems with hoses, belts,
and other components.
Demonstrate safe practices while working with
Correctly answer ASE certification test questions
on fluid service and vehicle maintenance.
Vehicle fluids include engine oil, coolant, brake
fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and other
liquids. All automotive technicians will, at some time,
service vehicle fluids . Service station attendants, appren
tices, and even experienced technicians must check, add,
or replace fluids.
Many technicians' first job is as a service station
attendant. They "cut their teeth" doing fluid service,
grease jobs, and light mechanical repairs. Therefore, this
chapter is extremely important. It is your chance to learn
fluid service and prepare for what may be your first job.
Study this material carefully.
The last section of the chapter discusses recycling. To
help save our environment, you should recycle as many
automotive parts and materials as possible. Plastic
batteries, tires, and used fluids can all be recy
cled into new products. Find recyclers in your area who
can take your used parts and make them into new prod
ucts. This will help prevent larger landfills. It will also
save energy because less energy is often needed to man
ufacture new products from recycled ones.
Eluid Service, and
Lubrication service is vital to keeping a vehicle in
good working order. A technician must be familiar with
all aspects of lubrication service, which include:
• Checking fluid levels and conditions.
• Adding fluids as needed.
• Changing engine oil and filter.
• Changing automatic transmission fluid.
• Lubricating (greasing) certain chassis parts.
• Locating fluid leaks and other obvious problems.
• Following state regulations for recycling and dis
posal of fluids.
Vehicle maintenance includes any operation that
will keep a vehicle in good operating condition. Without
proper care, the life of an automobile may be reduced by
thousands of miles. For example, fluids can become con
taminated and change chemically after prolonged use. This
can cause wear, corrosion, and mechanical failure of parts.
A wise saying goes, "You can pay now or you
can pay later." In the automotive field, this
means that the customers can pay a little now
for maintenance or pay much more later for
repairs. A poorly serviced vehicle will wear out
and break down sooner than a well-maintained
vehicle. In the long run, vehicle maintenance
saves the customer money.
A service manual contains detailed information on
how to check fluid levels. The manual will usually
128 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
Brake fluid washer
Figure 10-1. A service manual gives the locations of all fluid
checkpOints. This manual illustration shows engine compart
ment fluid check pOints. (VW)
• Location of fluid check points, Figure 10-l.
• Location of fluid fill points.
• Correct interval (time or mileage) between fluid
checks and changes.
• Correct type and quantity of fluid to be used.
This information varies from vehicle to vehicle. For
example, a diesel engine may require more frequent oil
changes than a gasoline engine. Automatic transmission
or transaxle fluids, differential lubricants, and other
fluids can vary in chemical content.
A car's warranty may become void if incompat
ible fluids, incorrect service procedures, or
improper intervals are used. For this reason,
refer to the manufacturer's recommendations
when servicing fluids.
Fluid capacity is the maximum amount of fluid a
reservoir or assembly will hold. The vehicle manufac
turer will list fluid capacities for the engine, transmis
sionltransaxle, and other components or systems.
Checking Engine Oil
To check engine oil, warm the engine to operating
temperature. Shut off the engine and allow it to sit for a
few minutes. Locate and remove the engine oil dipstick.
Wipe off the dipstick and replace it all the way into its
tube. Pull the dipstick back out and hold it over your shop
rag. See Figure 10-2.
Figure 10-2. Check the amount of oil in the engine using the
dipstick. A-Locate the dipstick and remove it from the engine.
B-Wipe the oil from the dipstick; then reinsert the dipstick in its
tube. C-Remove the dipstick and check the oil level. Hold the
dipstick over a shop rag to prevent oil from dripping onto the
engine or the shop floor.
Chapter 10 Vehicle Maintenance, Fluid Service, and Recycling 129
As shown in Figure 10-3, the oil level should be
between the ADD (LOW) and FULL marks on the dip
stick. Before reinstalling the dipstick, inspect the condi
tion of the oil. The oil should not be too thick or thin,
smell like gasoline, or be too dirty.
Be careful when checking or changing vehicle
fluids. At operating temperature, oil and other
fluids can be hot enough to burn your hand.
If the oil level is low, you must add the correct
amount and type of oil. If the oil level is down to the
ADD mark, typically one quart is needed. If the dipstick
reads halfway between ADD and FULL, you would need
to add only one-half quart.
Never add too much oil to an engine. Pour in only
enough oil to reach the FULL mark. Overfilling can
cause oil foaming (the oil absorbs air bubbles), which
reduces the oil's lubricating ability.
Adding engine oil
To add engine oil, obtain the right kind of oil. Look
for a lubrication sticker in the engine compartment or on
the driver's door. Use the same type of oil that was
installed during the last oil change, if possible.
To add oil to the engine, remove the oil cap, which is
usually on the valve cover. Install a small , clean funnel
into the engine opening. Without spiUing, pour the oil
slowly into the funnel and engine filler tube or opening.
Changing Engine Oil and Filter
When changing engine oil, make sure the engine is
warm and the vehicle is sitting level. This will ensure that
more of the oil contaminants are suspended in the oil and
are drained out of the engine. If the oil is cold, the oil will
drain more slowly and debris will settle to the bottom of
the oil pan.
Figure 10-3. Oil should be between the ADD and FULL marks.
Be sure to check the condition of the oil before reinserting the
To change the engine oil:
1. Warm up the engine.
2. Raise the car on a lift or place it on jack
stands in a level position.
3. Place a catch pan under the oil drain plug.
4. Unscrew the plug and allow enough time
for the oil to drain completely. See
5. Reinstall the drain plug. Be careful. The
threads in the pan and on the plug can strip
easily. Apply only enough torque to draw
the plug tight and prevent leakage. A
stripped oil drain plug can damage the oil
6. Position your catch pan under the oil
7. Using an oil filter wrench, as in Figure 10-5,
unscrew the filter.
An oil pan drain
plug will strip
easily. Looking at
,it from the front,
tum the plug
L o o s e ~ ~
Be careful , at first
the hot oil will pour
out to one side of
Oil catch -------..
Figure 10-4. To drain the engine oil, remove the oil pan drain
plug. Allow the oil to pour into a catch pan. Be careful not to
overtighten the drain plug. Its threads will strip out easily.
130 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
B filter c O-ring
Figure 10-5. Changing the engine oil filter. A-An oil filter
wrench is needed to unscrew the oil filter. B-Turn in a coun
terclockwise direction. C-When installing a new filter, coat the
O-ring seal with clean oil and only hand tighten the filter. (Lisle)
8. Obtain the correct replacement filter. Com
pare the old and new filters. Make sure the
rubber O-ring on the new filter has the same
diameter as the O-ring on the old filter.
9. Wipe some clean oil on the O-ring and
install the new filter.
W. Tighten the filter by hand only, not with
the filter wrench. Overtightening will
smash the O-ring and cause leakage.
11 . Lower the car to the ground and add the
correct amount and type of oil.
12. Start the engine and make sure the oil pres
sure light goes out.
13. Let the engine run while checking for leaks
under the engine.
14. Shut off the engine and check the oil level
Automatic TransmissionlTransaxle Fluid
and Filter Service
Like engine oil, automatic transmission and transaxle
fluid should be checked and changed at specified intervals.
The fluid can become contaminated (filled) with metal,
dirt, moisture, and friction material (nonmetallic, heat
resistant fibrou s substance) from internal parts. This can
cause rapid part wear and premature transmission failure.
To check the fluid in an automatic transmission or
transaxle, warm up the engine and move the gear selector
through all positions. Apply the parking brake. Place the
transmission in park and block the wheels.
With the engine still running, locate the transmission
dipstick. See Figure 10-6. It is normally behind the
engine, near the front of the transmission.
Don' t "go crazy" looking for the transmission
dipstick on some new cars and trucks. You may
not find one. Some transmissions and transaxles
are sealed at the factory. They are designed to
not require fluid changes and periodic checking
of fluid level.
Figure 10-6. An automatic transmission fluid dipstick is nor
mally behind engine, on the side. Check it with the engine run
ning and the transmission in park. If needed, add the correct
Pull out the dipstick. Wipe it off and reinsert it into
the tube. Remove the dipstick again and hold it over a
shop rag. The fluid should read between the ADD and
FULL marks. Also, inspect the fluid for discoloration and
odor. If it smells burned or looks dirty, the fluid should be
It is very easy to overfill an automatic transmission.
Seldom do you have to add a full quart. Normally, if the
dipstick reads ADD, only a fraction of a quart is needed
to fill the transmission. Sometimes, instructions are
written on the dipstick. If in doubt, check a shop
Chapter lO Vehicle Maintenance, Fluid Service, and Recycling 131
To change the fluid and filter in an automatic
transmission or transaxle:
1. Warm the engine and transmission or
2. Raise the vehicle.
3. Remove all but one of the bolts securing
the transmission pan, Figure 10-7. Be
careful not to spill the hot transmission
fluid. It can cause painful burns!
4. Loosen but do not remove the last pan bolt
while holding the pan in place with a
5. Allow the pan to drop and let the fluid
pour into a catch pan.
6. Unscrew the last pan bolt and remove the
pan. If needed, replace or clean the trans
mission filter, Figure 10-8.
or transaxle drain plug
Figure 10-7. Usually, the transmission pan must be removed to
drain the fluid. A few pans, however, have a drain plug. Do not
spill hot fluid on yourself. (Subaru)
1 ______ ->---j
Figure 10-8. Some manufacturers recommend periodic
replacement of the automatic transmission fi'lter. It is located
inside the transmission pan. Tighten all fasteners to specs
7. Scrape the old gasket off the transmission
pan and housing.
8. Position the new pan gasket using an
approved sealer. Use the sealer sparingly.
You do not want any to squeeze out of the
gasket and into the transmission or
9. Start all the pan bolts with your fingers.
10. Tighten the pan bolts in a crisscross pattern
to their recommended torque specification.
Overtightening can split the gasket or dis
tort the transmission pan.
11. If recommended, drain the torque converter
(fluid coupling in front of the transmission).
A drain plug may be located in the con
verter. It is usually under a rock shield on
the front of the transmission housing.
12. Refill the transmission with the correct
type and amount of transmission fluid. If
required, check a service manual for
details. In most cases, you must pour fresh
fluid into the dipstick tube.
13. Start the engine and shift through the gears.
14. Check under the car for leaks and check
the fluid level.
Manual Transmission Fluid Service
To check the fluid in a manual transmission, locate and
remove the transmission fill plug, Figure 10-9. It is nor
mally on one side of the transmission. Generally, warm
fluid should be even with the fill hole. With the transmis
sion cold, the fluid can be slightly below the fill hole.
Some manufacturers suggest that manual transmis
sion fluid be changed periodically; others do not. If a fluid
Figure 10-9. A manual transmission will have a fill plug for
checking the fluid level. The fluid should be almost even with the
hole when the fluid is warm. Check the service manual for
~ - ............=-=
Differential drain hole
132 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
change is needed, remove the drain plug on the bottom of
the transmission case and allow all the fluid to pour into
your catch pan. Replace the drain plug and install the right
type and quantity of fluid . Lubricate the gear shift mech
anism and clutch release as described in a service manual.
Some new transnussions and transaxles are designed
to never need fluid replacement with normal use. They
are permanently sealed. The chemical makeup of the
fluid, improved filtering, and less part wear have allowed
this technological advance.
Differential Fluid Service
To measure the fluid level in a differential (rear axle
assembly), remove the fill plug. It will normally be on the
front, back, or side of the differential. See Figure 10-10.
The lubricant should be even with the fill hole when hot.
When cold, it should be slightly below the hole.
At the manufacturer's recommended chancre interval
remove the drain plug. It will be on the bottom of the dif
ferential. After draining, reinstall the plug and fill the dif
ferential with the proper lubricant. If a drain plug is not
provided, a special siphon (suction) gun can be used to
draw out the old fluid.
Positive-traction, or limited-slip, differentials
(both wheels turn for added traction) often
require a special lubricant. Refer to the vehicle
identification number, a service manual, and
Chapter 62, Differential and Rear-Drive Axle
Diagnosis and Repair, for details. If you install
the wrong lubricant, differential action and trac
tion can be adversely affected .
Figure 10-10. The differential fill hole allows for a check of the
lubricant level. Do not accidentally remove the drain plug.
Checking Engine Coolant
Engine coolant (mixture of water and antifreeze) is
used in an engine' s cooling system. Engine coolant must
be changed periodically. After prolonged use, the cool ant
will deteriorate. It can become very corrosive and filled
with rust. This may result in premature water pump, ther
mostat, and radiator failure.
Never remove a radiator cap while the engine or
radiator is hot. Boiling coolant can spray out of
the radiator, causing serious burns.
To check the coolant level , look at the side of the
plastic overflow tank connected to the radiator. See
Figure 10-11. The coolant should be between the hot and
cold marks on the side of the tank. When an overflow
tank is used, the radiator cap does not need to be removed
to check coolant level.
Some older cars do not use an overflow tank. In this
case, the radiator cap must be removed to check the
coolant level. The coolant should be about an inch
(25 mm) down in the radiator. Also, inspect the condition
of the coolant, Figure 10-12. If rusty, the coolant should
be drained and replaced. Watch for system leaks.
Checking Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid level should be checked regu
larly. The engine should not be running when checking
power steering fluid . If the fluid is contained in a clear
plastic reservoir, simply compare the fluid level to the
markings on the side of the reservoir. See Figure 10-13A.
Figure 10-11. Modern cooling systems have a reservoir tank.
You can check the coolant level without removing the radiator
cap. On older systems, remove the cap only after the engine
Warm engine /
Chapter 10 Vehicle Maintenance, Fluid Service, and Recycling 133
Figure 10-12. Check the condition of the coolant in the reser
voir or the radiator. If the coolant is rusty, it should be drained
In some vehicles, the level is checked by removing a dip
stick from the power steering pump, Figure 10-13B.
Check the fluid level on the dipstick. If low, inspect for
leaks and add the correct type and amount of power
Checking Brake Fluid
The amount of brake fluid in a master cylinder should
be inspected at least twice a year. Look at Figure 10-14.
The master cylinder is normally mounted on the firewall
(body section between the engine and the passenger
When the master cylinder reservoir is clear plastic,
simpiy compare the fluid level to the markings on the
reservoir. The fluid should be between the ADD and
With many master cylinders, you must remove the
reservoir cover to check the fluid. Generally, the fluid
should be about 1/4" (about 6 mm) down from the top of
the master cylinder. Add the recommended type of brake
fluid as needed.
Never let anything (oil, grease, dirt) contami
nate the brake fluid. Oil and grease, for
example, will attack the rubber parts in the
brake system. Major repairs would be needed
and the vehicle could lose braking ability.
Checking Hydraulic Clutch Fluid
Some manual transmission clutches do not use
mechanical linkage rods or cables. Instead, they use a
Figure 10-13. Checking power steering fluid. A-Comparing
the fluid level to markings on the side of the reservoir. 8-0n
some vehicles, the power steering pump has a cap with a dip
stick. Check the fluid with the engine off. Compare the fluid level
to markings on the dipstick. (Subaru)
Figure 10-14. Check the brake fluid at the master cylinder
reservoir. The master cylinder is mounted on the firewall, in
front of the driver. The maximum fluid level is often indicated on
the side of the reservoir. If not, fluid should be slightly below the
the top of the reservoir.
134 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
hydraulic system to disengage the clutch. A clutch master
cylinder, similar to a brake master cylinder, produces
hydraulic pressure to activate the clutch release. The fluid
in the clutch master cylinder should be checked. If low,
add brake fluid to fill the reservoir almost full. Always
watch for leaks.
Checking Manual Steering Box Fluid
Manual steering box fluid is checked by removing
either a fill plug or designated bolt from the top of the
box. See Figure 10-15. The lubricant should be almost
even with the plug or bolt opening. If not, add the rec
Checking Windshield Washer Solvent
The windshield washer solution is normally visible
through the side of the plastic storage tank. Refer back to
Figure 10-1. If low, add an approved washer solution.
The solution will aid windshield cleaning and also pre
vent ice formation in cold weather.
New cars use maintenance-free batteries, which do
not require an electrolyte (acid) check. However, make
sure that the battery terminals and case top are clean. A
battery post and cable cleaning tool can be used on cor
roded connections. If the top of the battery is dirty, it can
be cleaned with a solution of baking soda and water. See
Manual steering box
Fill bolt ...
Figure 10-15. The manual steering box will have a bolt or plug
for checking the lubricant. If needed, fill with recommended type
of fluid up to the fill hole. (DaimlerChrysler)
Figure 10-16. Checking battery condition is important to
vehicle maintenance. Battery problems are the number one
cause of engine "no start" problems. A-A dirty battery top will
drain the battery. Corroded terminals prevent charging and
starting. B-A post cleaning tool will remove corrosion from the
surfaces of posts and cable ends. C-Wash the top 0f the bat
tery with baking soda and secure terminals.
Chapter 10 Vehicle Maintenance, F1uid Service, and Recycling 135
Quite often, various filters used in a vehicle are
replaced during lubrication service. Besides the engine
oil and transmission filters, the technician may need to
change or clean the air and fuel filters.
If an air filter is extremely dirty, it is normally
replaced. However, some manufacturers permit light dirt
and dust to be blown from the filter. Special foam or oil
bath (oil-filled) air filters can be cleaned as described in
a service manual.
Fuel filters can be located almost anywhere in the
fuel circuit. Modern fuel systems often use inline fuel fil
ters between the fuel tank and the engine. In older sys
tems, the fuel filter can be located at the inlet to the
throttle body injector or in the carburetor. Most fuel sys
tems also have a fuel strainer on the pickup tube in the fuel
tank. Refer to the service manual for exact filter locations.
Hold a shop rag around fuel line fittings when
loosening. This will keep fuel from spraying
out, preventing a possible explosion and fire.
Chassis lubrication generally involves greasing
high-friction points on the vehicle. It may also involve
lubricating locks, hinges, latches, and other body parts.
Chassis lubrication is often done when the engine oil and
filter are serviced.
During a grease job, you must lubricate high-friction
pivot points on the suspension, steering, and drive train
systems. Most service manuals illustrate which parts
must be lubricated, Figure 10-17.
A grease gun, Figure 10-18, is used to force lubri
cant (chassis grease) into small fittings. Inject only enough
grease to fill the cavity in the part. Overgreasing can some
times rupture the rubber boot surrounding the joint.
When performing a complete chassis lubrication job,
you should also lubricate high-friction points on the
body (hinges and latches on doors, hood, and trunk).
See Figure 10-19. This will help prevent squeaking
doors, sticking hinges, and wear problems.
Figure 10-18. This technician is using a power grease gun to
lubricate fittings on a suspension system.
Check for grease
fittings at tie-rod ends
Figure 10-17. A grease job involves lubricating the pivot points shown. Some cars have more grease fittings than others. Check
136 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
Fig. 10-19. During lubrication service, lubricate body compo
nents to prevent squeaks and wear. A-Lubricating hood and
trunk hinges. B-Using wax on door strikers. C-Place a dab of
grease on door hinges. D-The hood latch is a common rust
Be careful to always use the prescribed lubricant.
Normally, rubber and plastic Palts will deteriorate if
exposed to petroleum-based lubricants (oils and grease).
Silicone lubricant should be used on plastic and rubber
components. The most common types of body lubricants
are listed below:
• Engine oil-used on hard-to-reach high-friction
• Graphite-excellent for door and trunk locks. It
will not collect dust and dilt, which could upset
• Dry stick (wax) lubricant-desirable on door
latches and strikers (post that engages the door
latch). See Figure 10-19. It will not stain clothing.
• Chassis grease-good aU-around body lubricant.
It can be used on easy-to-reach hinges and latches.
• Silicone lubricant-often comes in a spray can.
It is especially suited for rubber door weather
stripping and windows. It is a dry lubricant that
will not soil windows and clothing.
A service interval is the amount of time (in months)
or the number of miles between recommended service
checks or maintenance operations. The factory service
manual will give exact intervals for the particular make,
model, and year of vehicle. New vehicles tend to have
longer intervals before service is required.
Figure 10-20 shows the service manual recommen
dations for chassis maintenance on one vehicle. Note the
intervals for each service operation. They are typical.
Chapter 47, Engine Tune-Up, gives general
engine maintenance intervals. Refer to this
chapter if needed.
Component Service Interval
1 . Axle differential
5000 mi (8000 km)
30,000 mi (48000 km)
30,000 mi (48 000 km)
3. Body lubrication
" GC /b
15,000 mi (24000 km)
4. Brake inspection V-
c 15,000 mi (24 000 km)
5. Clutch lever
30,000 mi (48000 km)
6. Exhaust system
inspection V- d 15,000 mi (24 000 km)
7. Manual steering
e 5000 mi (8 000 km)
8. Manual transmission V 5000 mi (8 000 km)
9. Spare tire V- I. 7500 mi (12 000 km)
10. Steering, \" 9
15,000 mi (24 000 km)
" 2£2 l
30,000 mi (48 000 km)
Figure 10-20. Study the chassis maintenance information from
a service manual. Recommendations for other parts of the car
are also given in the manual. (DaimlerChrysler)
Chapter 10 Vehicle Maintenance, Fluid Service, and Recycling 137
General Inspection and Problem
As you perform lubrication service or any kind of
auto repair, always watch for mechanical problems.
Visually inspect the vehicle for any signs of wear, deteri
oration, loose parts, or leaks. Check the condition of fan
belts, water hoses, fuel hoses, vacuum hoses, and wiring.
This can be done as you are working.
• Hose inspection includes checking for hard
ening, softening, cracking, splitting, or other
signs of impending failure. See Figure 10-21.
Squeeze all the hoses. If the hoses are deterio
rating (hard or soft), inform the customer or shop
supervisor of the problem.
• Drive belt inspection includes looking for split
ting, tears, cuts, and wear. If worn or loose, the
belt may slip and squeal. Refer to Figure 10-22.
• Wiring inspection involves looking for improper
routing, cracked or brittle insulation, or other
obvious problem signs. Make sure wires are away
from all moving or hot parts.
• Tire inspection is done by looking for excessive
wear, improper inflation, or physical damage.
This is very important from a safety standpoint.
• Steering system inspection includes checking for
excessive wear and play in moving parts. The
steering wheel should not move more than about
an inch (25 mm) without causing front wheel
movement. If it does, wear in the steering mecha
nism is indicated.
• Exhaust system illspectioll involves looking for
damaged, rusted, or leaking parts. The exhaust
system should be inspected any time a vehicle is
raised on a lift. Poisonous exhaust fumes make a
Figure 10-21. Check the condition of all hoses and belts.
Inspect belts for glazing, cracking, and fraying . Feel hoses for
hardening or softening. Look for leaks. (Gates Rubber Co.)
"\ pump belt
Figure 10-22. Belts should not be too loose or too tight. To
adjust, loosen correct mounting bolts and the adjustment bolt.
Using directions in service manual , pry the component outward
and tighten the adjusting bolt. Then, tighten the mounting bolts.
Recheck belt tightness. (Honda)
leaking exhaust system very dangerous. Look for
rust holes in the pipes, muffler, and other parts.
When working on a vehicle, be ale11 for these kinds
of problems. This will show the shop supervisor and the
customer that you are a concerned, competent technician.
Fluid leaks result from bad gaskets, seals, or hoses;
cracks in parts; and similar troubles. Leaks are very
common problems that should be corrected. See
Figure 10-23. To become good at leak detection and
correction, you should:
• Become familiar with the color, smell, and feel
(texture) of the different fluids. Then, you will be
able to quickly identify a fluid leak. Does the
fluid feel more like water or oil? Dab a white
paper towel into a puddle of fluid to show its
color more accurately. Oil will be slippery to the
touch and will be dark brown or black if used for
an extended period of time. If the fluid is clear or
brown and feels "squeaky" when rubbed between
your fingers, it is probably brake fluid or
hydraulic clutch fluid. Antifreeze can be green,
orange, or rust colored and will feel slick.
Automatic transmission fluid can be dark brown,
red, or dark green with some friction material feel
(gritty). Power steering fluid can be amber, red, or
clear and will feel like transmission fluid.
138 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
Figure 10-23. When working under a vehicle, always look for
signs of fluid leakage and other obvious problems. Inspect
rubber boots and hoses for signs of damage.
• Fluid leaks tend to flow downward and to the rear
of the vehicle. For this reason, look for leaks
above and in front of where you find fluid drip
ping off the vehicle.
• If multiple leaks are indicated, fix the leak located
the highest and farthest forward on the vehicle.
Then, repair other leaks.
• If the leaking part is badly soiled, clean the area
thoroughly. Then it will be easier to see fresh
fluid leaking out of the part.
• The most frequent cause of fluid leakage is broken
gaskets and worn seals. Replacement will usually
correct the problem. However, you should always
check the parts for warpage, cracks, and dents.
Some stop-leak products are designed to recondition
the leaking seal. If the seal has hardened and shrunk in
size, stop-leak chemicals can fix the leak with little time
and effort. If the seal is torn or the part is warped, stop
leak products will not work.
Other stop-leak products (for the cooling system, for
example) contain small particles (fibrous or metallic
materials) that collect at and fill the opening causing the
leak. These materials can also act as a conditioner or rust
Stop-leak products will not work on hose leaks
and large leaks from metal parts. These prod
ucts are designed to work on small seepage
problems. Refer to the manufacturer's recom
mendations on stop-leak products.
Noise Detection and Location
AbnOlmal noises are unwanted sounds that indicate
part wear or other mechanical problems. They are
common to almost all systems of a vehicle. When
inspecting a vehicle, listen for unusual sounds (knocks,
clunks, rattles, clicks, and hisses). As you work, always
listen for abnormal noises.
A stethoscope (similar to that used by a doctor to
listen to a patient's heart) is commonly used by an auto
technician. It will help the technician pinpoint the source
of internal part noises. To use the stethoscope, touch the
probe on the component near the unwanted sound,
Figure 10-24. Move the stethoscope around until the
sound is the loudest.
A long screwdriver can be used in place of a stetho
scope. Place the tip of the screwdriver on the part. Place
the handle next to your ear. Sound will travel through the
screwdriver and permit noise diagnosis. Make sure you
keep the screwdriver away from moving parts or you
could be injured.
A section of vacuum hose, Figure 10-25, is a handy
device for finding sounds not coming from internal parts.
The hose is useful for locating hissing sounds, rattles,
whines, and squeaks. Place one end of the hose to your
ear. Then, move the other end around the area of the
sound. When the noise becomes the loudest, you have
Figure 10-24. A stethoscope can be used to quickly find knocks
and ratlles inside components. Move the tip around on parts.
When noise becomes the loudest, you have found the source
of the problem.
Chapter 10 Vehicle Maintenance, Fluid Service, and Recycling 139
Figure 10-25. A piece of vacuum hose can be used like a
stethoscope to find external noises. It will find vacuum leaks,
squeaks, wind noise, and other abnormal sounds.
pinpointed the problem. Again, keep the hose away from
moving or hot parts. By removing the metal end from a
stethoscope, you can also listen for these kinds of noises.
Recycling and Disposal of Auto Shop
Recycling and the proper disposal of auto shop
wastes are needed to help save our planet's natural
resources and to reduce the amount of materials being
sent to landfills. Laws have been passed that require spe
cific procedures when handling and discarding poten
tially harmful materials. The following sections
summarize this important information.
Auto Shop Wastes
Automotive maintenance may generate hazardous
wastes that come under the requirements of the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act. This federal act covers
businesses that generate, transport, and manage haz
ardous wastes. Any business that maintains or repairs
vehicles, heavy equipment, or farm equipment is classi
fied as a vehicle maintenance facility by this act.
Vehicle maintenance fluid and solid wastes include:
• Used motor oil (combustible and may contain
• Other discarded lubricants, such as transmission
and differential fluids (like motor oil, may contain
• Used parts.
• Cleaners and degreasers that are contaminated
from parts-cleaning operations.
• Carburetor and fuel injection system cleaners
(contain flammable or combustible liquids).
• Rust removers (may contain strong acidic or alka
• Paint thinners or reducers (may be ignitable or
contain toxic additives).
• Worn out batteries (lead and toxic chemicals).
• Tires and catalytic converters.
Repair and maintenance facilities (service stations,
automotive dealerships, independent auto repair
shops, etc.) that generate 220 lb. (100 kg) of hazardous
waste monthly must file a Uniform Hazardous Waste
Manifest before removing the wastes. The manifest must
list the proper Department of Transportation (DOT)
shipping descriptions for a number of wastes. Tables
listing these descriptions are available from each state's
hazardous waste management agency or a regional
However, EPA regulations also state that no manifest
is needed for used oil or lead-acid batteries if they are
sent for recycling. In such cases, the material is not
regarded as hazardous. Your state may have its own
requirements; check with your state hazardous waste
Unless recycled for scrap metal, used oil filters are
considered hazardous waste. If not recycled, they must be
listed on the monthly manifest as hazardous. Before dis
posal, filters should be gravity drained so they do not
contain free-flowing oil. Store them uncrushed in a
closed, labeled container for pickup by a recycler.
Recycling Motor Oil
Used motor oil is considered hazardous waste unless
it is destined to be recycled. The old oil should be stored
in an approved container for recycling. One gallon of
used motor oil can be refined into two and one-half quarts
of high-quality motor oil. It takes about 40 gallons of
crude oil to produce this much motor oil. Recycling old
oil not only saves our environment from pollution, but it
also helps save our natural resources. Always send used
motor oil to a recycling center! Put the oil in an approved
container. Some recycling companies provide a pickup
service, while others require you to take the old oil to
140 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
Antifreeze has been classified as a hazardous waste
due to heavy metal and chlorinated solvents that it picks
up circulating through cooling systems. It should never
be mixed with used oil. The entire mixture would then be
classified as a hazardous waste, even though the used oil
may not be, under federal regulations.
Regulations require that spent antifreeze solutions be
collected by a registered hazardous waste hauler. Several
major companies offer pickup and recycling services.
Refrigerants, such as R-12 and R-134a, removed
from automotive air conditioning systems during ser
vicing should not be vented to the atmosphere. State reg
ulations require that refrigerants be recovered and
recycled. See Figure 10-26.
As you will learn in later chapters, systems are now
available for recovering, cleaning, and recycling air
Figure 10-26. A recovery station will pull old refrigerant out of
the air conditioning system. The machine will then treat used
refrigerant for reuse in the vehicle. (RTI)
Other Automotive Recyclables
Other recyclable materials that are commonly
removed from service during maintenance and repair of
• Catalytic converters, which contain platinum.
• Worn tires, which can be sold to a retreader (if the
carcass is sound) or to a shredder. Shredded
rubber is an ingredient in road resurfacing mate
rials and other products that give the rubber a
• Batteries can be recycled and used to make new
batteries. This saves lead, acid, and other mate
tials from adding to our waste disposal problems.
• Brake shoes can be recycled and sold as cores for
making reconditioned brake shoes.
• Many small assemblies (alternators, starters,
master cylinders, etc.) can be recycled and made
into rebuilt parts.
• Plastic bumpers and other body parts can be recy
cled into a variety of new products.
Dutyty , s GOJLoge.
Problem: Ms. Jones brought her 2005 Chevrolet
Trailblazer in for repai r because she noticed a puddle
of fl uid on her garage floor.
Diagnosis: Duff, the shop owner, questions Ms. Jones
to find out more about what is wrong with the vehicl e.
He asks her about unusual sounds and odors. He also
asks if she knows approximately where the fluid is
leaking from (front of engine, back of engine, right
side, left side, etc.). Ms. Jones says the puddl e seems
to be coming from the left front corner of the vehicle
and that she often hears a growli ng noise when driving
around corners. After listeni ng carefully to Ms. Jones,
Duff suspects that the power steering system might be
leaking and that the growling noise may be caused by
air in the power steering system. Duff then turns the
repair over to the shop's suspension and steering
technician. Duff discusses the symptoms with her and
tells her what he thinks the problem is.
The technician checks for dripping under the
engine compartment and fi nds a small fresh puddle
that looks and smells like power steering fl uid. She
then opens the hood and looks for the source of the
leak. As she feels around the power steering pump
and hoses, she finds a leak at the hose behind the
power steeri ng pump. She then starts the engine and
Chapter 10 Vehicle Maintenance, Fluid Service, and Recycling 141
uses a lighted mirror to observe the fluid dripping from
the crimped metal fitting on the hose.
Repair: The technician orders and installs a new
power steering hose. She then fills the system with
fluid, starts the engine, and rotates the steering wheel
back-and-forth between the stops to purge air from the
system. After test driving the vehicle, she lets it run for
approximately 15 minutes and then rechecks the
system for leaks. After verifying that the problem has
been corrected, the technician rechecks the power
steering fluid level and releases the vehicle to the
• Vehicle fluids include engine oil, coolant, brake
fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid,
and other liquids.
Vehicle maintenance includes any operation that
will keep a vehicle in good operating condition.
• A car's warranty can become void if improper
fluids or incorrect service procedures or intervals
• Be careful! Oil and other fluids at operating tem
perature can be hot enough to burn.
• EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) guide
lines and state regulations affect how you must
handle and dispose of used fluids, solvents, and
other shop chemicals.
• Never remove a radiator cap while the engine or
radiator is hot. Boiling coolant can spray out of
the radiator, causing serious burns.
• Hold a shop rag around fuel line fittings when
. loosening. This will keep fuel from spraying or
leaking out, preventing a possible explosion and
• During a grease job, you must lubricate high
friction pivot points on the suspension, steering,
and drive train systems.
• Wheel bearings are usually packed (filled) with
grease during lubrication service.
• As you perform a lublication job or any kind of
auto repair, always watch for mechanical prob
lems. Visually inspect the vehicle for any signs of
wear, deterioration, loose parts, or leaks.
A stethoscope (similar to that used by a doctor to
listen to a patient's heart) is commonly used by a
• A section of vacuum hose can be used as a handy
device for finding sounds not coming from inside
Vehicle fluids Silicone lubricant
Lubrication service Service interval
Vehicle maintenance Hose inspection
Oil foaming Drive belt inspection
Stripped oil drain plug Wiring inspection
Grease job Tire inspection
Grease gun Steering system
Engine oil inspection
Graphite Exhaust system
Dry stick (wax) inspection
lubricant Fluid leaks
Chassis grease Stop-leak products
Review Questions-Chapter 10
Please do not write in this text. Place your answers
on a separate sheet of paper.
1. What seven steps does lubrication service typi
2. __ includes any operation that will
keep the car in good operating condition.
3. When checking engine oil, allow the engine to
cool completely. True or False?
4. What can happen when too much oil is added in
5. Which of the following should /lot be done
when changing an engine's oil and filter?
(A) Torque the drain plug only enough to pre
vent leaking and loosening.
(B) Use an oil filter wrench to remove the old
(C) Wipe clean engine oil on the new filter
(D) Use a filter wrench to tighten the filter.
6. The automatic transmission dipstick is normally
located in front of the engine. True or False?
7. Check automatic transmission or transaxle fluid
with the engine running. Check engine oil with
the engine off. True or False?
8. Explain how to check the following:
(A) Engine coolant level and condition.
(B) Power steering fluid.
(C) Brake fluid.
(D) Manual steering fluid.
(E) Battery condition.
142 Section 1 Introduction to Automotive Technology
9. A(n) ____ involves lubricating the
steering, suspension, and drive train of a vehicle.
10. List and explain the use of five lubricants.
11. A(n) ____is the amount of time between
recommended service or maintenance opera
12. Describe six general inspection points that
should be checked during vehicle maintenance.
13. Which of the following should be done to help
with leak detection and troubleshooting skills?
(A) Become famjiiar with the color and smell
of different fluids.
(B) Trace the problem to the highest point of
wetness or leakage.
(C) Clean the area around the leak if the leak is
difficult to isolate.
(D) All of the above.
14. A(n) __ is commonly used to find the source
of noises inside parts.
15. List four automotive items that should be
ASE· Type Questions
1. During a complete lubrication service, all of the
following are done except:
(A) change engine oil.
(B) change oil jiltel:
(C) check alljluid levels.
(D) check ride height.
2. During an oil change, Technician A says to use
an oil filter wrench to remove the old oil filter.
Technician B says to apply a little oil to the seal
on the new filter to aid installation. Who is
(A) A only.
(B) B only.
(C) Both A and B.
(D) Neither A nor B.
3. When changing engine oil, Technician A says
the engine oil should be cool. Technician B says
the oil should be warm. Who is correct?
(A) A only.
(B) B only.
(C) Both A and B.
(D) Neither A nor B.
4. When checking automatic transmission fluid,
the following should be done.
(A) Engine off, transmission in park.
(B) Engine running, transmission in park.
(C) Engine off, transmission in neutral.
(D) Engine on, transmission ill neutral.
5. Engine coolant consists of:
(A) water and antifreeze.
(B) oil and antifreeze.
(C) water and stop leak.
(D) water only.
1. On a vehicle chosen by your instructor, deter
mine the capacity of the cooling system. Then
determine the amounts of water and antifreeze
needed to produce a salsa mixture.
2. Survey the motor oils offered for sale at a local
outlet. Determine the cost to change the motor
oil in a vehicle named by your instructor. Add
labor cost at $36/hour.
3. Change the oil and filter on a vehicle designated
by your instructor.
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