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The Care and Feeding of Old Betsy

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Today we are going to cover how to take care of your car using the computer. It doesn't matter whether this is a new car or an old beater, the procedures are the same. For simplification we will write as if this is that first car which is most likely very used.

A very long time ago when I bought my first car my Dad gave me a little car maintenance book that was divided into sections such as Mileage (For calculating miles per gallon), Tune-ups, Oil changes, Scheduled maintenance, Unscheduled maintenance (Ex. The alternator dying on the freeway), and so on. Each of these Headings were further sub divided into areas such as Tires, Suspension body and so on. I still sometimes see these types of little books in the auto parts stores but they are not as common as they once were. Don't worry if you can't find one you will be able to keep the same information lion your computer.

The user manual is a great source of information and it already has a complete maintenance schedule listed. What you should do now is either scan this information into the computer (Using Optical Character Scanning Software) or type the information into your word processor. If you type this information into your word processor it could take awhile but since this information could save you thousands it is well worth it. You could pay a friend or relative to type out the information if need be. Just make sure it was entered correctly. You should keep a printed copy of this information in the glove box so every time your clean the car you or do general maintenance you can mark it of. Just remember to keep the information in the computer up to date. Often older cars just do not have the manuals. Just go to the car manufacturer's website and order one. Depending o on the age of the car you may be able to get a free PDF of the manual if a printed one is not available for purchase. If you can not locate a manual try an online book finder site such as

( to locate it. You could also buy a model specific book at most auto parts stores (Haynes).

These books are a good choice even if you have the user manual just to become familiar in general terms with car maintenance procedure even if you have no intention of ever turning a wrench to cut down on the repair shop trying to rip you off. A local community college or night classes at the locale civic center is a very good choice for learning basic car maintenance. There are classes that just teach just what you need to know to keep old Betsy running care free for years to come. I have kept cars running for 400,00 miles just following these types of lists. If old Betsy is kept in good shape then replacing an engine or transmission will not only return your ride to good running condition, it is much cheaper then buying a new car. Another very good source of basic care car information is YouTube ( when you just want the basics for your general knowledge. You could either type in a specific car model and a specific problem or just enter in basic car maintenance and you will lots of informative videos.


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