Car Basics 101
BY Scion CM
While Scion Service Boost and your local Dealership Technicians are great ways to keep your car in top shape, everyone can benefit by knowing a few car basics. From maintenance to roadside emergencies and making informed repair decisions – a little knowledge can go a long way! Not to mention…your Scion moves you, don't you want to know how?!
In the first of these Car Basics articles, we'll be going over the most fundamental – what's under your hood. Everyone knows the engine is under there – but let's acquaint ourselves a little more. A segment of the 2012 iQ's Quick Reference Guide is below (all other pictures are of a tC) - If you have your Owner's Manual or Quick Reference Guide, now would be a good time to pull it out to follow along!
The most fundamental things to know on your car are how to:
- Open and hold up the hood
- Check the oil
- Add more oil
- Check and add engine coolant
To open the hood, you first need to release the latch from the inside. Walking around to the front, pull up your hood enough to slide your hand in and lift up on the latch.
Once the hood is up you can find the support rod...
...lift it up and put it in place. As simple as opening a hood is – it can take a little fumbling around before you know where the hood latch is and which way to pull it. Going through this while your car's in the garage or driveway makes it much easier for when you actually need to get your hood opened.
Once your hood is opened, you should be able to identify where the engine dipstick, oil filler cap, and engine coolant reservoir are. Take a moment to look for these in your own Scion. The engine dipstick is important because it tells you what level your oil is.
Oil is essential to your car. It lubricates the many moving metal parts within your engine. Keeping it changed at recommended service intervals ensures that your car's oil is free of excessive dirt and can lubricate parts properly. Running an engine with worn-out or not enough oil can seriously decrease the life of your engine. Because oil is such an important part of your Scion, knowing how to check the oil level in your car is a fundamental car basic.
Note: Seeing the low oil pressure warning light is serious and should be given immediate attention!
Once you've opened your hood and located the engine dipstick, oil filler cap, and engine coolant reservoir – it's time to check your oil. Its best to check your oil when your car has been sitting for a little while (giving the oil some time to drain back to it's pan.)
Pull up on the dipstick handle and you'll see a long, flat, metal piece connected to it. Continue pulling until the metal piece is all the way out.
Using a paper towel or rag, wipe the oil from the end of it. Now carefully re-insert the dipstick back where it was. After a few seconds, pull the dipstick all the way back out again. Now you'll be able to get a clear reading of where the oil level is.
There should be a low and high mark on your dipstick (sometimes this may just be two dots.) If the line of your oil is inbetween those two marks, as in this picture – you're in good shape.
If it's too low, you'll want to reference your oil filler cap for the type of oil you need. Remove the oil filler cap and, using a funnel, add oil until the level is correct – checking after adding ½ quart.
As your engine operates, it produces a lot of heat. In order to continue functioning properly, engines need cooling systems to carry all that heat away. One major part of your car's cooling system is the engine coolant. Not enough coolant in the system can lead to overheating and engine troubles.
Most cars have a coolant reservoir that you can see through to get a quick glance of whether there's enough coolant there. Just like the dipstick, this also has a low and high mark on it – anywhere in the middle of those is okay. If you see that there is too little coolant, consult your Owner's Manual for the engine coolant/radiator fluid that your car uses.
Of course, if any of this makes you uncomfortable – ask a knowledgeable friend or family member to walk you through it – or better yet, next time your car is being serviced at the dealer, ask if they can give you a quick walk through under the hood.
If you've been able to complete these things for the first time...congratulations! You're on your way to becoming even more of a Scion pro! Stay tuned for the next article in Scion Owner's Car Basics series. Until then, continue keeping with your Scion maintenance schedules!
This article is meant to be a learning guide. This is not mechanical or technical advice about your vehicle. Please refer to your Owner's Manual or a certified Scion/Toyota technician for any questions or concerns you may have.