But if the oil level is low, the engine has to work harder, generating more heat. That's why it's important to make sure the oil is always at the "full" mark.
Inspecting the oil level in a vehicle engine is easy, said John Nielsen, director of AAA's nationwide Approved Auto Repair network.
Simply remove the engine's oil dipstick when the engine is off and has not been running for an extended period. Next, check to see if oil is coating the dipstick up to the "full" level. Oil needs to be added or changed if the oil coating is below this level.
Of course, it's also important to maintain the other cooling system that most vehicle owners are familiar with, Nielsen said.
Although it's known as antifreeze, the 50-50 mixture of ethylene glycol and water in the cooling system prevents corrosion that can cause radiator plugging and overheating in any type of weather.
The amount of liquid in the cooling system can be checked by inspecting the cooling system overflow bottle, Nielsen said. However, consumers who are uncomfortable or unsure about maintaining their vehicle's oil and cooling systems can seek professional assistance from a AAA-Approved Auto Repair facility.
AAA inspects thousands of vehicle-repair businesses nationwide as a service to members and the public. To win AAA approval, these shops must meet AAA requirements that include customer satisfaction, trained technicians, and proper tools and equipment.
They also must agree to provide warranties and estimates that help protect consumers from unnecessary, incomplete or poorly performed repairs. Special benefits, including free maintenance inspections when other work is performed on a vehicle, are available to AAA members.
To locate an AAA-approved repair shop, call your local AAA club or visit www.aaa.com. Approved shops are required to prominently display their affiliation with AAA on the exterior of their business and many advertise AAA's approval in their advertisements.
Media Release Date: 7/10/03