Getting familiar under the Hood

It is extremely important to know what are the key things under the hood. First thing to find out will be how to pop the hood open. The hood latch is usually near the driver side ,near the leg spaces.  It is a repair shop secret that , they try to get the maximum out of your wallet, if you dont pass the hood 'test'.  If you confidently open the hood of your car , the repair shops will get the message that you are 'car aware' .  So what are the important things under the hood , that we would require for maintainance ?

1.) Oil Dip stick :-  This is a 'stick' you can pull out to check that the oil is with in the suggested marks. You can also see the color of oil. A black or near black color means it is ready for an oil change. If you dont know where it is , Google your model or see youtube video for under the hood identification. Note :- Some cars do not have a dip stick, in that case you can view the oil level in the dash board that is displayed by the dash computer.

2.) Brake Fluid Reservior :- This is storage container for the brake fluid , make sure you know where it is. This container also has marking on the min and max level. You can visually inspect and make sure the fluid level is ok. It is usually towards the firewall on the driver side for most cars.

3.) Power Steering Fluid Reservior - Similar to 2. It is usually located to one of the sides

4.) Coolant Reservior :-  This is the tank where the raidator sends and receives excess coolant..  It is usually towards one side of the radiator, behind the front grille of the car. Make sure to note the color of the coolant - Is it red /orange or green blue in color ?

5.) Transmission Oil Dip stick :- Similar to the oil dip stick , this dip stick will be towards the side of the engine , and you can clearly see this coming out the transmission (tranny) attached to the engine. Like with Engine oil dipstick , some cars dont have this dipstick.

6.) Windshield washer fluid Reservior

Also become familar with other items of interest under the hood.  The best place to start is the side of the engine where the belt rotates a set of pulleys.  Each pulley have a specific function . Try to locate the Alternator, water pump, power steering pump and Air Conditioning units and their pulleys.  Now is also a good time to spot any unusual leaks or drippings from any of the parts mentioned above.

Once this is out of the way try to see if you can spot the exhaust system and the Fuel intake and ignition system. Last  but not the least , spot the inside of the headlights , see how they are connected. Then the car battery and its terminals. If you walk through the list above , you will have a good understanding of where what is.