ESSENTIAL CAR CARE - Classifieds is Australia's largest free online classifieds and has the most comprehensive selection of used automobiles and cars for sale n Australia and New Zealand. Just visit our free car listings--we have hundreds of great and wise buys in used cars. Should you need finance to buy your ideal car, you can go to the Classifieds of and look up the Finance section.

To keep your car looking good and performing well, OzFreeOnline offers some simple guidelines that will give you all the information you need to know. Each week we will offer you some excellent suggestions in taking optimum care of your car.

UNDER THE BONNET Do you know your way around under the hood of your car? While not as critical as it used to be, periodically checking under the hood can head off problems before they become costly. Today, with self-service gas stations everywhere, often the only way you will get it done is for you to do it yourself.

Start by reading your car owner's manual. There will always be a section on under bonnet checks. A word about safety though: read the safety warnings in your owner's manual and any safety warning stickers under the hood. Also, it's advisable that you keep a pair of old gloves and a roll of paper towels in the boot.

If the engine has been running for any length of time, there are areas under the hood that can be very hot. Except for checking transmission fluid level, all checks should be done while the engine is turned off. If the engine is running, do not put your hands near any belts or fans.

BATTERY Most batteries today are "maintenance free", which simply means that you can't check the water level. This doesn't mean however, that there is nothing to check. The main things to check are the top of the battery, which should be clean and dry, and the terminal connections, which should be clean and tight. If the top of the battery continuously becomes damp or corroded soon after cleaning, then have the charging system and battery checked by your mechanic.

Happy motoring - and remember the best source to buy a used car today is - Cars Section. To sell your car, you can use our free car listings - We promise, it'll cost you nothing.

We'll have more tips for caring for your car next week.

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