Tech Tips

Below are a few tips to help keep your car on the road and operating optimally.


Did you know your tires affect your fuel mileage? Sure, you knew that those big mud tires wouldn't get as good of mileage as your usual 'street' tires, but did you realize your tire pressure will affect it as well? Check your tire pressure periodically to be sure they are inflated properly. There is a sticker located just inside the driver's door on most cars that lists the suggested pressure for tires for your particular vehicle. If your sticker is missing, most tires have suggested pressure stamped on them. Also, and this is important as well, be sure to check the tread on your tires, once they get down to the "wear bars" it is time to replace them.

Check Your Oil

It's easy and a quick thing you can do to keep yourself involved with your car's maintenance. If it's too high or too low, it can cause trouble for your vehicle. To check your oil, park on level ground and wait until your car has cooled down after driving. Find your engine's dip stick, pull it out and wipe it on a clean towel. Put it back into it's slot and pull it out again. Check the level of the oil at the end of the dip stick. It should be in the area between the two small holes.

Engine Coolant

This is something else that is easy to do and another thing your engine can't do without. The coolant reservoir is usually bolted to one side of the engine compartment or other. It is a white semi-transparent plastic container. On the side, you will see "high" and "low" marks. When your engine is cool, take a look at it. The coolant should be somewhere between the "high" and "low" mark on the reservoir. NOTE: DO NOT TAKE THE RADIATOR CAP OFF TO CHECK COOLANT LEVELS. WHILE THE ENGINE IS STILL HOT THE COOLANT IS UNDER PRESSURE AND THE PRESSURE RELEASE COULD BURN YOU.

Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)

There is a dipstick under the hood that looks a lot like the one for your oil. In many models, it will say "transmission" right on the dipstick. It is sometimes difficult to check the proper level of this fluid, as some cars need to be running (sometimes in a certain gear) while others should be turned off. But you can check the color. Transmission fluid should be easy to see through and a slightly reddish color. If it is dark brown or black and/or smells burnt, you should bring it into the shop right away for servicing. A hundred or two dollars for a good transmission flush and filter change is a LOT less expensive than replacing a transmission. Check your car's maintenance schedule for when your vehicle is due (usually after so many miles) for a transmission filter change and flush.

Brake Fluid

There is a reservoir on your brake's master cylinder with a lid on it. Most lids will specify what type of brake fluid your vehicle needs (Usually DOT 3 or DOT 4). Take off the lid and check the color of the fluid. Brake fluid should be a see-through pale amber color. If it has become dark, your vehicle needs a brake flush service. We will always check your fluid level and condition when we inspect your brakes, or when completing a brake job on your vehicle.

Maddie's Garage

Mon-Fri: 7am-6pm
Or by appointment
Phone: 503-844-2700

Maddie's Garage on Facebook

Auto Mechanic

ASE CertifiedOur mechanics are ASE certified ensuring that you get quality service every time.