NAPA KNOW HOW

AIR FILTER REPLACEMENT

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 15 minutes
How often: Every 15,000 miles

Changing the air filter should be part of any tune-up. Change it every 15,000 miles or once a year. If you live in an especially dusty or dirty area, change it more often.

Air Filter Test:
Shine a flashlight from the inside out of your air filter. If you can’t see any light or very little light, it needs to be replaced. Change the breather filter and check the PCV at the same time. On most cars, this is a fairly simple procedure.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

    • Flat-Head/Phillips screwdrivers
    • Adjustable or open-end wrench
    • Pliers
    • New air filter
    • New breather filter (if so equipped)

NAPA Filters - AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 1

Look under the hood and find the air filter housing.

It will likely be square (on fuel-injected engines) or round (on older carbureted engines) and about 12 in. (30 cm.) in diameter. On older vehicles, it will be in a large round housing on the top of the engine. On newer vehicles, it will be on the end of the large black intake hose opposite the engine mounted on one of the fender wells.

Step 2

Remove screws or clamps.

Use a screwdriver to remove the screws or clamps that hold on the top of the housing. If you have an older vehicle with the round air filter housing, remove the wing nut holding the air filter cover and any other clips.

Step 3

Remove the old air filter.

Take out the old air filter and clean any dirt and debris from the housing with a clean rag. Be careful that none falls into the carburetor or the intake. Remove the breather filter.

Step 4

Install the new air and breather filters.

Replace the air cleaner top. Reinstall the attaching hardware and air intake hose (if applicable).

Important Tips:

When the air filter is out, you should replace the PCV filter as well. It should only take 5 minutes.

Battery Service

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 10­–30 minutes
How often: Every 3–5 years

If you need to jump start your car in the morning, it might be time for a new battery.

You can bring your car to a NAPA AutoCare Center for a new battery or you can change it yourself.

Changing a car battery is a relatively easy job that can be accomplished with only a few tools. However, some vehicles’ batteries are located in tough-to-service areas such as under the front fender, under the rear seat or in the trunk. If this is the case, consider having it changed at your local NAPA AutoCare Center.

Your battery supplies the electrical current necessary to start the engine. It also provides necessary power to the electrical components and accessories even when the vehicle’s engine isn’t running. The battery also acts as voltage stabilizer for the whole electrical system.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • New battery
  • Battery terminal cleaning brush
  • Proper tools to remove the battery terminals and hold-down
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 1

Buy a replacement battery for your car.

You must know the make and model of your car to make the correct purchase. It also helps to know your battery’s BCI number. Car batteries come in different sizes, construction types, CCA (cold cranking AMPS) and ampere hour ratings. You want the replacement battery to match the original battery as closely as possible.

Step 2

Open the hood of your car, using the prop rod to hold it in place.

Locate the car battery and identify the positive and negative terminals. Positive terminals are labeled with a “+” or color-coded red. Negative terminals are labeled with a “-” or color-coded black. Loosen the bolt that holds the negative terminal and remove the negative cable first. Next, remove the positive cable.

Step 3

Unscrew the battery hold down clamp.

Lift the battery and remove it from the car. Inspect the battery terminal clamps. Clean and replace them if necessary.

Step 4

Clean the battery tray.

Use plenty of fresh water or a mixture of baking soda and water. Wait for the terminal clamps and the battery tray to dry before installing the new battery.

Step 5

Clean all corrosion from your battery.

Corrosion can be cleaned off using a stiff brush and a baking soda/water solution. After removing the corrosion, rinse off the battery with water. Clean the battery tray by wiping it out with moist paper towels and mild detergent. NAPA AUTO PARTS stores carry anti-corrosive battery spray. Use this to prevent future corrosion.

Step 6

Place the new battery into the battery tray.

Make sure the positive and negative terminals are on the correct sides, and then install the battery hold-down. Reattach and tighten the positive cable first before reattaching the negative cable.

Step 7

Start your car.

Verify that the installation is complete and the cables are securely attached to the battery posts. Release the prop rod and close the hood of your car securely.

Step 8

Dispose of the old battery properly.

Car batteries contain highly toxic material and cannot be thrown out with your garbage. You can dispose car batteries at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store or NAPA AutoCare Center.

Important Tips

    • Wear gloves whenever working with batteries and follow all safety precautions listed in your owner’s manual.
    • Your battery and charging system or alternator should be inspected at least once a year at your local NAPA AutoCare Center.
    • Neutralize any electrolyte spills or corrosion with a solution of baking soda and water.
    • Always remove the negative terminal first.
    • Protect your eyes with safety glasses when changing a car battery.
    • Never touch a metal tool across the battery terminal or from the positive post to any other metal on the car. Heeding this advice will help prevent large sparks and damage.
    • Extinguish all smoking materials and open flames. Be cautious about creating any electrical sparks around the battery.

BELT REPLACEMENT

Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Duration: May take several hours
How often: Every 60,000–100,000 miles, check owner’s manual

One out of every five vehicles on the road needs a new belt. Our NAPA Know How guide helps you through the steps necessary for proper diagnosis.

The introduction of the Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) belts in the late 1990’s have made wear detection harder than when the Neoprene belts were used. Still, there are indicators to look for that signal it’s time for a new belt.

Step 1

Perform preventative maintenance.

One way to make sure your belts are up to par is to schedule a belt replacement during a routine checkup. If a belt has 65,000 to 70,000 miles on it and your vehicle is already in the shop, go ahead and replace the belts. The technician should also check the condition of the automatic belt tensioner to ensure that the new belt is properly tensioned.

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 2

Look for visual signs.

Some of the visual signs that indicate it’s time for belt replacement are abrasion/misalignment, cracking, glazing or pilling.
Abrasion/misalignment: The nylon on your belt is essential. If there are any tears, they may cause misalignment and your belt won’t work properly. If the belt is misaligned and slipping, you will hear unusual noise or feel vibrations.
Cracking: With Neoprene belts, it was common to look for three cracks in three inches, as a rule that the belt’s life was over and it needed to be replaced.
The new EPDM belts are built to resist cracking, making it harder to notice wear at first glance. With EPDM belts, look for rubber loss that’s similar to how a tire wears out over time. The loss of just 5% of the belt material can cause the ribs of the belt to “bottom out” on the pulley(s). This accelerates belt wear and causes it to slip, which may affect the water pump, alternator or air conditioning compressor performance.
Glazing: The belt is hard at work bending and flexing against a pulley, producing heat that causes its rubber to harden over time. If the belt gets loose, the added friction makes it hotter. This causes glazing and makes the belt slip more.
Pilling: As your belt ages, it loses material that can build up in the belt grooves. This can contribute to a lack of tension, misalignment and worn pulleys.

Step 3

Make smart repair decisions.

If your vehicle is in the shop for another repair such as a water pump, alternator, or other belt drive accessory component, be sure to have the belt replaced. Depending on the vehicle, you can often save money, as the labor for belt replacement may be included in the labor for accessory.

Step 4

Know that two major causes of belt failure are improper tension and misalignment.

Vehicles using a single serpentine belt often use an automatic belt tensioning system. This system is designed to apply a constant force on a belt. The tensioner compensates for belt length changes due to wear or load changes within the system.
The tensioner and associated pulleys should always be checked for wear when changing the belt. Tensioners normally fail at the same rate as belts fail.
Replacing your belts

If you would like to replace your car belt or belts yourself, follow these steps:
1. Mark the rotation direction on the belt.
2. Unload the belt from the tensioner by rotating the tensioner.
3. Remove the old tensioner from the engine (if the tensioner is being replaced).
4. Install the new tensioner.
5. Torque the mounting bolts to 1/3 installation torque in a star pattern.
6. Retighten the bolts to 2/3 torque, then to full torque.
7. Install the belt in the same direction as the old belt.
8. Load the belt on the tensioner by rotating the tensioner as indicated (see rotate to load pointer).
9. Tighten the belt until the pointer falls between the two marks.
10. The gauge window, showing the maximum and minimum marks, is located on an area between the base and arm of the tensioner assembly.

Important Tips:

  • The performance of your accessories is directly affected by the condition of your belts. Just a 5% loss of material can affect component performance.
  • Never use belt dressing or any type of substance to coat the belt. Contamination from applying a substance on the belt will adversely affect belt life.
  • There are no serviceable parts inside a tensioner. The entire assembly must be replaced.
  • When re-installing a belt, clean the pulley groves. Dirt or paint on the pulleys may cause belt noise.
  • A belt failure affects the driveability of the vehicle, leaving the passengers stranded until a new belt is installed.

BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
Duration: 1 hour
How often: As needed, depending on brake wear
A well-maintained set of brakes should last you for tens of thousands of miles, but brake pads do wear down over time and will eventually need replacing. With a little patience and some elbow grease you can do the job yourself, and save some money in the process.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • New brake pads
  • C-clamp (some vehicles will require a brake caliper tool)
  • Graphite-based grease
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Wrench (a socket, open or adjustable wrench should work)
  • Disposable mechanic’s gloves
  • Dust mask and safety glasses

Before You Get Started

There are a few things you should know before changing your brake pads. First, most vehicles have a “sliding caliper” brake assembly, but some have a “fixed caliper” assembly. In this guide, we will be working with a “sliding caliper” brake assembly. Second, change the brake pads one side at a time, from start to finish. You can turn the steering wheel toward the side you are working on, to allow for better access to the brake pads and calipers.

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Check for Brake Wear

Conveniently, most brake pads have a wear indicator, which warns you when the pads have worn down. The wear indicator is a small piece of metal embedded in the brake pad that makes contact with the rotor when the pad wears down, resulting in a squealing noise as you apply the brakes. If you hear this sound, it’s time to change your brake pads.

Step 1

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel, then jack up the vehicle and place the jack stands underneath the frame.

Check your vehicle’s manual for exact positioning of the jack and jack stands. Once the jack stands are in place, lower the jack so that the vehicle is completely supported by the jack stands. Finish removing the lug nuts and remove the wheel.
Before you continue, examine the brake rotor for damage and wear. You may notice grooves in the brake rotor. If the grooves are deep, or if the rotor looks damaged, you may need to have the rotors replaced or “turned” on a brake lathe. Take the vehicle to your nearest NAPA AutoCare Center if your rotors are damaged.

Step 2

Locate the two slider bolts that hold the caliper in place. Use your wrench to loosen the lower bolt and slide it out. The bolt will be long but should slide out easily once removed. Leave the top bolt in place.

Step 3

Once you have removed the lower slider bolt, pivot the caliper off the rotor. The Caliper will still be connected to the brake line, however the line is made of flexible rubber and should allow you to pivot the caliper with no problems. Make sure the brake line is free of kinks when you pivot the caliper.

Step 4

Remove any retaining clips, pins or bolts that may be holding the brake pads in place. Then slide out the old pads. At this point, you can thoroughly examine the brake pads. If they are 1/8” thick or less, they need replacing.

Step 5

New brake pads usually come with new retaining clips. The clips may be specific to either the left or right side of the vehicle, so make sure that you are using the appropriate clip. Remove the old clips and replace them with new ones. They will easily snap into place. Applying graphite-based grease to the clips will help keep your brakes from squeaking.

Step 6

Slide the new brake pads into place. They should easily slip into the greased retaining clips. The new brake pads will have shims either riveted to the brake pad or unattached. If your brake pads have unattached shims, they will need to be held into place until you lock the pads in place.

Step 7

It is now time to lower the caliper back into position, but before you can do so, you will have to retract the caliper pistons so they will fit over the thicker, new brake pads. First, remove the brake fluid reservoir cap, to lessen the pressure of the brake fluid. Then, place the threaded end of the c-clamp against the caliper piston and tighten the c-clamp, pushing the piston back. If the c-clamp doesn’t seem to be working, don’t force it. Some vehicles require a specialty brake caliper tool to retract the pistons.

Step 8

Once the pistons have been retracted, pivot the brake caliper back into position over the rotor. If the caliper doesn’t fit over the new pads, the pistons may not have been retracted completely. Once the caliper fits back into position, insert the lower slider bolt and tighten it down. Make sure the upper slider bolt is secure, as well.

Step 9

Replace the cap on the brake fluid reservoir, straighten the steering wheel and pump the brakes a few times from inside the car until the brakes are properly seated. Next, Put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts. Lower the vehicle off the jack stand. Once the vehicle is back on the ground, finish tightening the lug nuts.
Start over from step one and repeat the process to change the brake pads on the other side of the vehicle. Once complete, take the vehicle for a test drive to make sure that your work was successful.

Important Tips:

  • Consult your owner’s manual or visit your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store to ensure you purchase the correct brake pads for your vehicle.
  • Make sure your vehicle is securely supported. You will need two jack stands to support the front of your vehicle.
  • Use mechanic’s gloves and wear a dust mask and safety glasses to protect yourself from brake dust and other debris.
  • Remember, you can always take your vehicle to a NAPA AutoCare Center and have your brakes replaced for you.

CHECK FLUID LEVELS

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 5-10 minutes
How often: See each case below
To keep your vehicle running smoothly, it’s important to check fluid levels regularly. It only takes a few minutes to check each one. Follow the steps below, but if you have any questions, please contact your nearest NAPA AutoCare Center.

Checking Coolant

Coolant should be changed every 30,000 miles or every two years as a general rule. Check your owner’s manual to see what is recommended for your vehicle.

Step 1

Locate the coolant reservoir under the hood of the car. See your owner’s manual for the exact location. Some cars only have an exposed cap.

Step 2

Check the fluid level. On the side of the reservoir, there are markings that show fluid levels. If the level of the liquid is low, add more of the proper coolant mix.

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Check Battery Level

Most batteries have a three-to-five-year life span, but they can last longer with maintenance, including checking their fluid level.

Step 1

Look for the battery’s condition indicator, a visible window on the top of the battery that changes color.
Green/blue: Good
Red: Add distilled water
White: Needs charge
Check your owner’s manual or label on the battery for further information. The condition indicator should not be the only test done to determine if the battery is serviceable.

Step 2

If the battery needs more fluid, pour in a little at a time until the level reaches the top of the battery grids. Do not overfill. Always use distilled water, not tap or filtered water, to avoid contamination.

Important Tips

  • Certain batteries (maintenance-free) are sealed, and it is not possible to add fluid to them.
  • Not all batteries are in the same place. Some batteries are located under the rear seat, in the trunk or in the front inner fender.
  • Any time a battery is serviced, safety gloves, eye protection and fender protection should be used to prevent injury and paint from being damaged.

Checking Oil

Under normal driving conditions, you should change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Consult your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s specific needs.

Step 1

Park your car on level ground, turn the engine off and remove the keys.

Step 2

Open the hood of your car and secure it with the prop rod. Locate the dipstick; it’s usually labeled “Oil.”

Step 3

Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Return the dipstick to the tube, then remove it again and check the level of motor oil on the stick. If the level is below the minimum indicator, you need to add oil to your car.

Step 4

Check the color of the oil on the dipstick. Motor oil is usually a light clear fluid but will darken under normal conditions. If the oil is black, it should be changed along with the oil filter. If the oil is light brown and milky, this could indicate a coolant leak into the crank case.

Step 5

Feel the oil on the dipstick. If the oil feels gritty, change the oil.

Step 6

Smell the dipstick. If the oil has an odor of gas, it could indicate that the engine, fuel system or ignition system needs to be serviced.

Checking Brake Fluid

Check your owner’s manual to determine how often you should check your brake fluid. Once a year is usually sufficient.

Step 1

Find your brake fluid reservoir. They are normally located on top of the engine and are labeled.

Step 2

Clean the area around the cap with an approved aerosol cleaner before removing the cap. Any particles of dirt that fall in the fluid may result in a costly service.

Step 3

Open the cap and check the fluid level on the dipstick that is attached to the underside of the cap. If the fluid level is low, have the car serviced at a NAPA AutoCare Center soon because it could mean a larger problem. Never used old steering or brake fluids. Once opened and exposed to air and moisture, these fluids cannot perform the required functions and can harm the system.
Note: In some older vehicles, you need to check the master cylinder to check the fluid level. The master cylinder is a small metal box with a removable lid.

Checking Transmission Fluid

Step 1

Follow these steps to check the level of your automatic transmission fluid. Pull out the transmission fluid dipstick located at the back of the engine near the firewall. Wipe it off, replace it and pull it out again. Check the level against the markings at the bottom of the dipstick. A low level should be addressed immediately with a transmission specialist.

Step 2

Check the color of the fluid; it should be clear pink. Any darkness warrants a fluid and filter change. Manual transmissions’ oil levels should be checked by a NAPA AutoCare Center when the engine oil is changed. Some vehicles no longer have a transmission dipstick and need to be checked by an automotive professional. Check your owner’s manual for details.
Caution: Always be sure you are using the correct transmission fluid. Using the wrong fluid can severely damage the unit.

Important Tips

  • Your car should be running when you check the transmission fluid level. Set the emergency brake and put the car in park when checking under the hood.
  • Never open the radiator cap on a hot engine. Allow it to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before opening.
  • Only dispose of used motor oil and filters at authorized locations.
  • If you prefer, bring your car to your local NAPA AutoCare Center and they can change your oil for you.

HEADLAMP REPLACEMENT

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 15 minutes
How often: When lights dim or burn out
For maximum driving safety, it is very important to keep a close eye on how your car lights are functioning. If a light goes out, follow these steps to replace it and continue driving safely.

Before replacing it, look in your owner’s manual to identify the type of headlamp your vehicle uses. In general, there are two kinds of headlamps—sealed beam and composite. Sealed beam lights are common in older cars, while composite lights are found in newer models and contain special housing with a removable halogen or xenon bulb.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • Automotive light bulbs
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Screwdriver set(s)


Sealed Beam Headlamp Replacement

These headlamps come in a 2- or 4-light system and can be round or rectangular.

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 1

Turn the car lights on to find out which headlamp needs replacing. Once you have located the light, turn your car off completely.

Step 2

Locate and remove the protective bezel (cover) and retaining ring that is screwed in and holds your headlamp securely in place. You may need a Phillips-head screwdriver or a special Torx tool to remove them. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations. If your screws are sticky, spray them with penetrating solvent. Hold the headlamp as you remove the screws to avoid shattering.

Step 3

Pull the wiring connector off the prongs on the back of the light. Clean the connector socket with electric contact cleaner and inspect its wires for wear.

Step 4

Push the prongs onto the new headlamp and place it back into place. Make sure that the headlamp is right side up.

Step 5

Replace the retaining ring and protective bezel.

Composite Headlamp Replacement

Step 1

Turn the car lights on to find out which headlamp needs replacing. Once you have located the light, turn your car off completely.

Step 2

Locate the wiring harness attached to the back of the headlamp and remove it. Review your owner’s manual for additional assistance.

Step 3

Remove the bulb retainer by gently twisting and pulling it back.

Step 4

Pull the bulb straight out. Only handle the base of the bulb.

Step 5

Use a clean rag or wire brush to remove any corrosion in the connection area.

Step 6

Attach the new bulb and make sure the tabs are lining up properly. Reattach the retainer and confirm everything is locked in place.

Step 7

Reattach the wiring harness and test your headlamp to make sure it is working properly. If the light does not come on, double-check the wiring harness to ensure that it’s fully seated. If it’s still not working, there may be a fuse or electrical problem and you should contact your local NAPA AutoCare Center.

Taillight Replacement

Step 1

Turn the car lights on to find out which taillight needs replacing. Once you have located the light, turn your car off completely.

Step 2

Check your owner’s manual to determine whether the lens can be accessed from the outside (screws will be visible) or the inside (remove the plastic cover to get to the bulb).

Step 3

Remove the bulb by gently twisting and pulling it back.

Step 4

Use a clean rag or wire brush to remove any corrosion in the connection area.

Step 5

Attach the new bulb by gently pushing in and turning it at the same time. Make sure the tabs are lining up properly.

Step 6

Replace the lens or plastic cover and test the bulb to make sure it is working. Have someone watch the bulb as you step on the brakes and turn on the lights. If there is no illumination, this may be a wiring or electrical problem and you should contact your local auto mechanic for assistance.

Important Tips

  • Do not confuse the retaining screws with the headlamp’s aiming screws. The aiming screws ensure proper headlamp movement and beam adjustment.
  • Use gloves when handling the new light to prevent oils from your hands potentially affecting the life of your new bulb.
  • Bring your old headlamp into your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store to ensure the exact replacement.

Oil Change

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 30 minutes
How often: Every 3,000 – 5,000 miles or every 3 months

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

    • Oil filter wrench set*
    • Oil catch/recycle container
    • Funnel
    • New NAPA GOLD oil filter
    • 4-5 qt. new oil**
    • Clean rags
    • Car jack
    • Jack stands
    • Safety glasses
    • Mechanics work gloves
    • Hand cleaner

*If you plan to change your oil regularly, consider investing in a small tool set, an oil filter wrench set and a quality floor jack and stands.
**Always check your owner’s manual. Some vehicles take up to 15 quarts!

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 1

Park your car on a level surface and apply parking brake.

Run your engine for 5 minutes before draining oil, as warm oil drains faster than cold. Do NOT drain oil that is at full operating temperature. It will be way too hot! Remove your keys from the ignition, as some hybrid models can auto-start. To be safe, always check your owner’s manual before working on a specialty vehicle.

Step 2

Jack your car up and place it on jack stands.

A jack alone will not safely support the full weight of your car. Consult your manual for the proper jacking points. The placement of a jack stand is just as important as the jack placement. The wrong placement can damage your car’s suspension or body parts.

Step 3

Locate the oil drain plug and place the drain pan below.

The oil drain plug is usually near the front center of the engine, but some vehicles have more than one plug. Check your manual for the exact location. Then, loosen the plug with a socket wrench. Make sure that the drain pan is large enough to hold 4-5 quarts of oil or more. The oil drains at an angle, so position your pan to catch it.

Step 4

Unscrew the plug by hand.

Remove the plug by hand. While unscrewing the plug, push it back towards the pan. This prevents oil from rushing out until you are ready to remove the plug from the hole.

Step 5

Drain all oil.

To speed up the draining process, remove the filter cap located on the top of the engine and allow air to enter from the top. Check your owner’s manual for the exact location.

Step 6

Replace oil plug.

Tighten the oil plug by hand so it is not cross-threaded. Once the plug is tight, finish tightening with a wrench or by hand. Always use a new drain plug gasket and never over-tighten the drain plug.

Step 7

Remove existing oil filter.

Place the oil pan underneath the old filter to catch any remaining oil while unscrewing it, using an oil filter wrench. Use a rag to clean the mounting surface. Make sure that the sealing O-ring from the old filter is not stuck to the mounting surface on the engine.
Note: Some vehicles use remote mounted oil filters that may be on top or on the side of the engine.

Step 8

Lubricate new filter and screw into place by hand.

Lightly coat the rubber seal of the new filter with fresh oil. It’s usually not necessary to tighten the oil filter with the wrench. Refer to the filter’s instructions. Once the filter is installed, lower the car.

Step 9

Clean the oil filter neck and pour in the new oil using a funnel.

Typically, you will use 4 to 5 quarts of oil, but check your manual for your vehicle’s oil capacity. Fill to three-quarters of the engine’s capacity to avoid overfilling, as there is always oil that does not drain. Then replace the cap.

Step 10

Run the engine for a few minutes to make sure there are no leaks.

Check the area around the oil drain plug and the filter for any leaks. If you notice a leak, shut the engine off immediately and correct it or them. Check the dipstick afterward, and add more oil, if necessary.

Step 11

Dispose of the used oil properly.

Bring your used oil to a recycling center or a NAPA AUTO PARTS store to recycle it for you. These are the only acceptable methods for oil disposal.

Important Tips

  • Read your owner’s manual or see your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store specialists to ensure you are using the correct type of oil and oil filter.
  • You’ll need to know the year, make, model and mileage of your car when you buy supplies at a NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
  • Make sure your car is securely supported. You will need two jack stands to support the front of your car after jacking it up.
  • Record the date and mileage after you change the oil so you will know when your car is due for another oil change. It helps to put a small sticker on your windshield to remind you.
  • Handle hot motor oil with extreme caution.
  • Use mechanic’s gloves to keep your hands protected and clean.
  • Only dispose of used motor oil and filters at authorized locations.
  • You can always bring your car to your local NAPA AutoCare Center and they will change your oil for you.

Radiator Hose Change

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 10 minutes
How often: Every 60,000 miles
The radiator is important to keep your car running at its best. It’s responsible for keeping the engine from overheating. Your car produces friction and heat while operating, and the radiator, through passageways and coolant, keeps your engine at a safe temperature. The radiator hose connects the radiator to the engine. Over time, this hose needs to be replaced to keep the whole unit running smoothly.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • New radiator hose
  • Original equipment recommended coolant
  • Distilled water
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Large pan or bucket

Before you begin to replace your radiator hose, you need to make sure you can reach it easily. Depending on your car, the hose may be in a difficult location. If this is the case, take your car to your nearest NAPA AutoCare Center and have them replace it for you.

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 1

Diagnosing radiator hose problems.

If your car is over four years old or has more than 60,000 miles, it may be time to replace your hose. If you do a lot of stop-and-go driving and/or your car has a four-cylinder engine, this can accelerate the hose’s damage.

Step 2

Replacing your radiator hose.

If your radiator hose is easily accessible and you want to replace it yourself, follow these steps:

  • 1. Make sure your car has cooled down before touching or opening the radiator.
  • 2. Place a large pan under the radiator and drain it by unscrewing the drain plug. This is located at the bottom of the radiator.
  • 3. Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the hose clamps on both ends of the hose. You may have to use a utility knife to remove the hose completely. If so, remember to cut carefully so you don’t damage the radiator.
  • 4. Put the hose clamps on to the new radiator hose and put it in proper position. Tighten the hose clamps.
  • 5. Use a mixture of half parts coolant and half parts water to refill the radiator. Always use the coolant recommended by the car manufacture. Use either pure coolant mixed with distilled water or use premixed coolant.
  • 6. Leaving the radiator cap open, start your car and turn the heat to it’s maximum. Press the gas, holding down for about 10 seconds at least two or three times.
  • 7. Put the radiator cap back in place.

Important Tips

  • It is recommended that you replace your hose every four years or 60,000 miles.
  • Stop and go traffic and/or four cylinder engines may require more frequent replacement of your hose.
  • If you are going to replace your hose yourself, get the exact hose for your car from your local auto parts store. Hoses are not interchangeable and your car requires a specific size and shape.
  • If your car requires a new water pump, this is a sign that it has overheated before and hose replacement is suggested.
  • If your car requires a new radiator cap, you should check your radiator hose carefully because a faulty cap can put additional pressure and wear on the hose.

Tire Change

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 5–10 minutes
How often: Once every month plus before and after road trips
Maintaining good tires help improve your car’s gas mileage, improve tire life, and give a smoother ride. It is vital that you consistently inspect your tires to make sure that your vehicle is safe. Three key aspects to watch for are wear, inflation and pressure. This guide will help you monitor these conditions and help your vehicle operate at its best.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • Tire gauge
  • Tread depth gauge
  • Penny


Check for Tire Wear

Check your tires for wear at least once a month as well as before and after road trips. There are many factors that contribute to wear on tires. Your tires’ treads will help determine whether it is time for tire adjustments or complete replacements. The tires are the only contact that your car has with the road, so proper maintenance is key to driving safely.

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 1

Locate a tread groove toward the center of your tire. Place the metal rod of the tire depth gauge in the groove and push the casing down until it touches the tire. Check the tire reading. If it reads 2/32 or less, you should replace your tire.

Step 2

Continue checking the grooves of your tires, checking four points per tire. Compare the measurements to make sure that the tires are wearing evenly. If they are not, this may indicate a problem with your tires or suspension system.

Step 3

If you do not have a tread depth gauge, you can use a penny. Insert the penny into the groove of the tread with Lincoln’s head face down. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, you should replace your tire.

Step 4

Check your tire for punctures, nails and weathering conditions, or any unusual wear, such as cupping or uneven wear on the edges that indicate a balance or alignment issue. These conditions will have to then be diagnosed and repaired by a professional.

Check Tire Inflation and Pressure

Before you begin to assess your tires, make sure that they are cool. This ensures a more accurate reading, as warmer tires are more inflated. Tires automatically lose pressure through time and bumps and hard surfaces you encounter while driving. Each tire is different, so it is important to check your owner’s manual for the recommended tire for your vehicle.

Step 1

Make sure your tires are cool prior to inspection. Park your car on a flat surface to get the most accurate reading.

Step 2

Remove the cap from the valve of your tire. Press the tire gauge on the valve to get the proper reading. Compare this reading with the recommendation from your owner’s manual. There is also a sticker near the driver’s door on most vehicles that will give you the proper inflation pressure. You may have to press hard to ensure that you have it inserted correctly. If you hear any air escaping, the gauge is not in accurately.

Step 3

If you determine that your car needs air, insert the air pump into the valve and fill it to its recommended pressure level. If you have over-filled, don’t worry, you can release air from your tire by pushing on the metal stem in the center of the valve with a fingernail or pen tip. Most tire gauges also have a way for you to let air out of the tire.

Step 4

Once the air has been adjusted to the proper level, replace the cap and check the remaining tires in the same fashion.

Important Tips

  • Check your tires for wear at least once a month and before and after road trips.
  • When checking tire pressure, make sure tires are cool and your car is parked on a flat surface to get the most accurate reading.
  • Check your owner’s manual or ask your local mechanic for tire rotation recommendations.
  • Note: Consider inflating your tires with nitrogen. Offered in many auto care facilities, nitrogen increases your fuel economy, extends tire life and helps your vehicle ride more smoothly. Nitrogen is an inert gas with a larger molecule than oxygen. It does not come through the tires as regular air does over time. It runs cooler and does not fluctuate with temperature. Regular air changes 1psi for every 10-degree temperature change, meaning a 40-degree change from morning to afternoon will have a 4psi difference just during the day. In many cars, this will cause the Tire Pressure Monitoring System light to indicate low pressure.
  • If you have nitrogen in your tires, you will need to take it back to the place you had it put in to add air when needed, but this is very seldom. The advantages of nitrogen include a 3–5% increase in mileage in many cases, 10–15% increase in tire life, and a much smoother ride! If there is nitrogen installed in the tire a GREEN cap will then be on the valve stem, this is the indication that nitrogen is in there.

Wiper Blade Replacement

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 5 minutes
How often: Every 6–12 months
Visibility is extremely important to safe driving. If your current wipers are not wiping well or leaving streaks, change them immediately.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local NAPA AUTO PARTS Store:

  • Tape measure
  • Small pocket screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Anti-seize compound (Optional)
  • New wiper blades
  • Wiper blades are usually packaged with the rubber wiper as well as its support structure.

Step 1

Visit NAPA AUTO PARTS for the correct wiper blade replacement.

Your NAPA AUTO PARTS sales associate can help you find the correct wiper blade replacement or you can take in one of your old blades to the store. Some vehicles use different length wiper blades on the driver’s side versus the passenger’s side.
Open the package containing the new windshield wiper blade. The package should include up to three or four different styles of blade attachments that secure the new blade to the wiper arm.

AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Need Local NAPA Autocare?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Have More Questions?
AUSTEX NAPA Auto Parts - Like to Do It Yourself? Try Mitchell Direct!

Step 2

Pull the wiper arm up and away from the car.

The blade and arm should now be sticking out perpendicular to the window. Some wiper arms will only come up two or three inches from the windshield. If your wiper arm only comes up a small amount, don’t force it. There should be a locking tab at the base of the wiper that will lock it in the raised position.

Step 3

Match the existing attachment to one of the attachments included with the new wiper blades.

The attachment is where the arm and blade meets. There are several styles of attachments. The three most common are the hook-slot connector, pin-type arm and straight-end connector.

Hook-slot connector: Swing the blade perpendicular to the arm so you can see the connector. You’ll find a tab at the connector that needs to be lifted or pushed to release the lock that holds the blade pivot in the hook slot. Once the tab is released, a firm shove toward the base of the arm will slide the blade right out of the hook slot.

Pin-type arm: Raise the arm and examine the locking tab that holds the blade onto the pin. You’ll either have to push the tab up from underneath the blade or lift the tab from the top with a screwdriver. Once the tab unlocks the pin, pull the blade assembly with a sideways motion away from the arm. The new unit may simply lock onto the pin. Sometimes, the box will contain an adapter that locks into the blade opening and accepts pins in different sizes.

Straight-end connector: The straight-end connector can be tricky. Sometimes you need to lift a tab on top of the existing blade with a screwdriver to clear the locking nub on the arm. You may also need to cock the old blade a few degrees out-of-parallel with the arm to slide it off the arm’s end.

Step 4

Remove the windshield wiper blade from the arm at the attachment.

There is usually a small tab you can depress with a screwdriver that allows you to pull the blade from the arm. Some attachments have a small metal bump and two tabs on either side; depress the tabs and pull hard to remove the blade. Some just snap onto the blade. Once the old blade is off, you can apply a little anti-seize compound to the arm.

Step 5

Install the correct attachment to the new blades, then install the new blades onto the windshield wiper arm.

Test by turning on the wipers. If the blades slip, turn off the wipers and seat the attachments more firmly.

Important Tips

  • It is better to replace the whole wiper blade, not just the rubber part.
  • The new wiper blades will come in a package with up to three or four attachments for each blade. One of these is the correct one for your car.
  • Changing wiper blades for the first time has been known to cause extreme frustration—contact your local NAPA AutoCare Center if you are having trouble.
  • Don’t let the windshield wiper arm snap back against the windshield when there is no blade attached; this can crack the windshield. Lay a clean rag on top of the windshield to protect the glass in case the bare-metal wiper arm suddenly snaps down on the windshield’s glass.
  • If your car has wipers that park behind the lip of the hood, turn on the ignition and the wipers and then shut off the ignition when the wipers are mid-stroke so you can access them.

DISCLAIMER