Real English Vocabulary: Taking care of your car

Hi. Welcome to engVid. I’m Adam. In today’s video, we’re going to
look at basic car maintenance. Now, some of you are thinking: “Okay, I don’t
really need to know this because I don’t have a car”, but it’s always a good idea to know
as much as you can about as much as you can, including cars. And keep in mind: It’s still English,
so it’s still a good idea to listen. And you never know when you may be able to
help a friend or family member with his or her car. Now, I’m not going to get too serious about
this; I’m just going to give you the general things you need to keep in mind when you’re
looking at your car; a little bit inside, a little bit outside, get a general idea
of how to take care of your vehicle. So, the first thing you
want to do always… Or every once in a while, depends on the situation,
depends on how old your car is: You want to check fluids. “Fluid” is basically any liquid,
anything that flows throughout your car. For example, oil. Now, how do you check your oil? Well, you have a little oil tube sticking
out of your engine, it has a dipstick – so, basically you pull it out, you clean it with
some tissue, you put it back in, and then you pull it out again and then it shows you
how much you have; what the level of the oil is. And all of these things… To check all of these things or most of them,
they each have their own little dipstick. Okay? So make sure you know where the
dipstick is to check your levels. Now, if you’re driving and you have
windshield wipers, you also make sure… You always want to make sure you
have enough windshield washer fluid. So, when you press on the
windshield washers… On the wipers, the
spray that comes out. That fills up; make
sure you have enough. Especially, for example, you live in Canada,
in the winter when the streets are full of snow and ice and salt, and they come on your
window, if you don’t have this fluid, you could be in a lot of trouble. Okay? So make sure you
always have some. Once in a while check
your transmission fluid. Now, your transmission is
what makes the engine… The power from the engine comes to the
transmission and it basically turns your tires. Now, if you have gears… Some of you… Most people, actually, these days
have an automatic transmission. You put in drive and you go; you don’t
have to think about all the gears. Some people still have manual transmission
where you put it into first gear, second gear, third gear, fourth gear, fifth gear, etc., you
have your clutch that you have to engage. Okay? So this is your transmission;
that’s what makes the wheels turn. Make sure there’s enough fluid so
you don’t kill your transmission. And, again, brake fluid. Your brakes work on
hydraulic power. Make sure there’s enough fluid in there so
the brakes engage and you can actually stop your car. Make sure there’s always enough
coolant in the radiator. The radiator is that part of the engine that
keeps it cool; it doesn’t let it get too hot. So the coolant is a special type of fluid
that flows through the radiator, it cools as it works, and it goes back into the
engine, keeps the engine nice and cool. Make sure you have gas;
no gas, no driving. Even electric cars still
use some gas, right? So… Then always make sure that your car is
fully equipped with the tools it needs. Now, you have a tire, here; imagine
that’s a tire on your car. The thing that keeps the tire connected to
the car, these things here-there’s four or five of them-these
are called lugs. Lug nuts. So make sure you
have a lug wrench. It’s usually in your trunk with
your spare tire or underneath it. Make sure you have one
that properly works. If you have a lock on these lugs, make
sure you have the lock so you can open it. A jack. A jack is the thing that you put under your
car, and you pump, pump, pump, and it raises your car so you can
take the tire off. If you have a flat tire… Basically like this… If you have a flat tire and you need to replace
it, you put your jack underneath, you pump it, raise the car; lug wrench, take
off the lugs, take off the tire. You might have to take
off a hubcap first. The hubcap is a cover; some cars
have them, some cars don’t. You take off the tire, put on the spare, put
the lugs back, tighten them, lower the jack, you’re good to go. Okay? Always make sure you
have jumper cables. Jumper cables are cables that you can connect
from your battery to another car’s battery. If your battery is dead and you can’t start your
car, you connect the jumper cables, somebody will give you a jump. A jump is sometimes
called a boost. So if your battery’s not… If your car is not turning on, you think the
battery is dead, maybe you left the lights on all night, find a stranger and ask him:
“Can you give me a jump?” or “Can you give me a boost?” They connect the cables, turn on
the engine, you’re good to go. Make sure you have a pressure gauge to check
your tires; make sure there’s enough air in the tires, and check for, again,
PSI – pounds per square inch. You should have enough. It might be written on the
tire, you can see how many… How much PSI you need. If you open your car door, on the side, it
will also say how much PSI your tires need; make sure they’re full. Now we’re going to
look under the hood. So, the front of the car, in most cars, there’s
the front of the car, you lift the hood and there’s the engine. So we’re going to look under the hood:
What are we going to see there? Again, I’m not going to get too much detail;
the things that you need to know that you can fix by yourself, without
having to go to a mechanic. Mechanics can be very expensive. Spark plugs, so these are the things that
basically blow up the gas when it comes into the engine, and move the rods and
all that; you don’t need to know. Spark plugs, they’re going
to be like two, four, six… Well, not two anymore, but four, six, eight,
whatever, however many valves you have. Pull it out, make sure it’s clean, make sure
the space between is big enough so you have a spark. A spark, gas, power,
movement, engine. Okay. Fan belt, make sure you have a fan belt; make
sure it’s not scratched, make sure it’s tight enough. It moves things in the
engine; that’s good enough. Very easy to see when
you open the hood. And the alternator is what basically goes
back and forth from the battery to make sure there’s always power. Make sure that it’s
working properly. If this goes… If you’re turning on your… Trying to turn on your car and it doesn’t
turn on, maybe the battery is dead, maybe the alternator is dead; you might have
to replace it, or the starter, etc. Air filter, this cleans the air
that comes into your engine. Okay? The cleaner it is, the better the air, the
better the burning of the gas in your engine. Every once in a while, clean it;
every once in a while, replace it. Just a… It basically… Usually, like… Depends on the car, but different
sizes, it looks like paper… Like… How do I say? Like this. It has grooves, and you
can see it gets dirty. Just replace it. Of course, the whole
thing is the engine. And then you have
your carburetor. Old cars have carburetors; new
cars have fuel injection systems. These are the things that control how much
gas is burnt, and how much air mixes with the gas to get the
proper amount of burn. So you want to make sure
that this is always clean. Every once in a while you can go to the auto
shop, you can buy a fluid, a cleaner, put it into your gas tank and it will clean out the
carburetor, clean the fuel injection system, and you get proper
air and gas flow. Okay? So, basically this is
the inside of the car. We’re going to look at little bit
outside and inside the car cabin. Okay, so now we’re going to look a little
bit around the car and inside the cabin. So, you have your windscreen, that’s the glass
in front of you as you’re driving, so make sure, like, rocks don’t hit you. So that’s called your windscreen or your windshield;
depends, some people call it differently. You have wipers. Make sure that the
wipers are good. Make sure that they’re flat, make sure that
the rubber part is still good and solid, it doesn’t have cracks in it, because
it’s not going to work properly. It’s going to leave streaks if
you don’t take care of that. Streaks, basically it’s going to leave lines
all along your windshield and makes it very difficult to see,
especially on sunny days. Okay? In the front of your car,
like the front part that… If you’re going to hit something, that’s going
to be the first thing to hit, that’s called your bumper. Make sure that’s solid. The side pieces, like the… On top of the wheels and basically the doors
in the back, these are all called fenders. Now, some people think: “Okay, if I have a
scratch or if I have a ding”, basically… A ding or dent, basically if somebody took
their shopping cart and hit it, and it had like a little dent inside my fender: “Ah,
I’ll just leave it; I’ll fix it some other time.” Keep in mind, especially in a place like Canada,
in the winter we have a lot of salt on the street – when salt gets in there, it becomes
rusty very quick, so you probably want to fix that as soon as possible. Your muffler. So here’s your car… We’ll pretend that’s
a car, and… So this is your tailpipe, that’s
where the emissions come out. Okay, that’s a tailpipe. We also call it an exhaust pipe. And underneath is the… A box that makes sure that your engine doesn’t
sound like an explosion; makes all the noise very quiet. It muffles the noise. To muffle: To make
less, to make quiet. So make sure that your
muffler is solid. If there’s any hole in it, you will hear
it; your car will be very, very loud. If there’s any white smoke or black smoke
coming out of your exhaust pipe, probably means you’re burning oil or you’re burning
some other type of fluid – you might want to check where that leak is coming from; maybe
just need to replace the whole exhaust system. Okay? And shocks. So, when you’re driving
and you, like… Let’s say you’re on the road and
there’s, like, a big pothole… Again, this is something that happens in cold
countries because the ice breaks the street, and you have sometimes holes. When you go on the pothole, if your car goes
really hard down, that means your shocks are worn. Okay? So you might want to
replace the shocks. Shocks should be soft; bumps shouldn’t be
too hard, you shouldn’t feel, like, shocked by the bump. Okay? Inside or a little bit outside, you have your
side-view mirror so you can check your blind spot, you have your rear-view mirror
so you know who’s behind you. Okay? Make sure these are
good and not cracked. You have… If you have a manual transmission, then you
have your stick shift; first, second, third, fourth, etc. So we also call it a gear shift. Automatic, you have
parking, rear, neutral… Sorry. Rear, neutral, drive, etc. Manual, you have your stick,
go into all your gears. Where your feet are, automatic – gas, brake;
if you have manual transmission – clutch. If your clutch is grinding, like: “Err”, every
time you probably try to put it into a gear, like: “Err, grr”, it’s grinding, might need a
new clutch; you might need to replace that. Odometer, make sure your odometer is
working; it’s checking your distance. Every time you move, the odometer goes up
and collects the total number of kilometers or miles travelled. If you play with that, in
Canada, for example… If you try to turn it to go back to reduce
the mileage, you can go to jail for that; that’s actually a crime. A speedometer, make sure
your speedometer… Sometimes we just call it a speedo; not like
the bathing suit, just like a speedometer, but short: speedo. If your speedo is not working and you don’t
know how fast you’re driving, that could be a big issue; fix that as well. Before the winter comes, make sure your defroster
works so your windows don’t get all foggy. Make sure your heater works,
make sure your vent works. You have a… There’s basically a fan under the hood, make
sure that it’s working properly, everything’s good, you’re safe
for the winter. Now, this is all very basic. The reason you need to know this stuff
is so if you go to a mechanic and he… He probably sees you don’t know anything about
cars, he can charge you for things that you don’t know, that you don’t need. Be careful about that. Have some basic
knowledge of your car. If you’re going to
go on a road trip… And I have a very good video about getting
ready to go on a road trip – watch that. Make sure your car
is in good shape. Make sure if you’re stuck in the middle of
nowhere, you know at least a little bit of basic maintenance things that
you can do to help yourself. Now, if you want to know more about actually
driving, check out some of the other videos we have on engVid from some of the other teachers;
Alex and Emma have a video on these; very good lessons. Just put “driving” in the search box at, and you will see these. And if you have any questions, please go to, join the forum; I’ll be happy to answer your questions. There’s also a quiz where I’ll basically test
your knowledge a little bit about all this stuff. If you like the video, please subscribe to
my YouTube channel; I’d love to have you and love to be part of
your English lessons. And yeah, come back again soon,
see us, and we’ll see you then. Bye-bye.