I'm no "car guy", really... up until I bought my Insight, cars were purely transportation, nothing more, and I didn't really care about maintenance except changing the oil regularly. I drove an old Toyota with a cracked CV boot and worn-out struts for years because, well, it drove, and I didn't really care
But now I care!
So my "Maint req" light is kicking on, telling me it's been 7,500 miles since the last service. Fair enough, nice to have the reminder. I have the FAQ here to thank for when I want to turn it off -- AFTER I do the service. I just bought the car at 24,800 miles a few weeks ago, and have 26,200 miles on it now (one very long trip in addition to my daily commute did that easily). I'm thinking, since the car was used and I'm not sure of what the previous owner did or didn't do, I should go ahead and do the 30,000 mile maintenance.
The dealer quoted me $230 for it. Ugh. Being recently out of the ranks of the unemployed, that's an expense I just can't handle at the moment. I have more time than money, it seems. $40-$50 in parts, and an afternoon in my garage, though, I can afford.
Most of the items, really, look like "inspect this, inspect that" items. Rotate your tires, that's no biggie, I have floor jacks. Check the parking brake... I think I can figure out where that adjusts. Seems to be working perfectly for me, though, when I pull it up it engages nicely, when I put it down it disengages, and my fuel economy is fine for a CVT, so the brakes probably aren't dragging. I can look while I'm rotating tires and check out the depth of my brake pads. I know where the air filter goes, how to change the oil, no biggies. But a few items threw me:
* Driveshaft boots -- where do these things live, and what do they look like?
* Air conditioner filter: I seem to remember reading something about how to find this on this site, but I didn't have repeated luck finding it tonight. No tougher than an engine air filter to replace, I hope.
* What's a "Tie Rod end", and how do you inspect it? I looked up some pictures on eBay, and was as mystified afterwards as before. They look like a hammer with a spring on it, or something. What are they attached to? And are you looking for cracks and worn spots in it? Any tips?
* Which valve are they talking about in "inspect valve clearance"? And what's it supposed to be clearing? I'm not hearing any unusual noises, but I've often heard my mechanic say about my van "sticky valves" and somesuch... if there's a way to prevent my Insight's valves becoming sticky and making that terrible clickety-clickety, I'm all for it!
Thanks in advance, and I apologize for being an ignorant car newbie. Heck, I even have a Chilton manual for a 1988 Toyota Tercel from the last time I tried to be a mechanic... maybe some of the lessons from that one can apply here.
Come to think of it, I think I'm gonna go look up "tie rod" in it now...