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averona

Basic Maintenence

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I have a '95 LS400 with 160,000 miles. By reading the info on this sight from all of you experts, I have been intrigued and encouraged enough to tackle some of the basic maintenance to prolong the life of the car. My father helped me change to hood struts and change the air filter, which I did again today. Today I also checked my fluids. Power steering was way low, coolant (toyota red) was a little low, and I topped off the brake fluid because the brake light kept coming on. I added distilled water to the coolant because I'm worried about mixing green and red. Should I be? I'm a little obsessed with changing the oil regularly, so I'd like to learn to do it myself. Should I, or should I just pay $30 and have a pro knock it out? If so, I think I need ramps. What type should I get? Now that I am getting familiar with these basic things, what other basic projects can I start without being paranoid about messing something up if I do it wrong?

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My sons gave me el cheapo ramps from Harbor Freight. Since they use (and lose) my tools, etc, these ramps have had about every kind of 4 wheel vehicle on them imaginable and have held up well for over 10 years. I also have a set of jack stands they have bought and used (agan from Harbor Freight). As long as you use common sense and the proper safety precautions (wheel chocks, etc) you should do fine. Even if you've got 10 thumbs, you ought to be able to do the oil and filter changes yourself.

Since the federal government ("guviment", since you also are from the South) uses all kinds of vehicles and mandates that all oils, coolants, etc be compatible, I'd choose a good quality coolant, lubricant, etc and stick with it. About the only things I suggest you do regularily at a reliable shop would be tire rotation, balance, and wheel alignment. You should be able to do almost everything else yourself. What knowledge you obtain from doing this for your Lexus will "transfer" to other vehicles. You'll also learn new ways to bust your knuckles and expand your vocabulary at the same time. Keep some bandaids and antibiotic cream available. And it wouldn't hurt to have some GO-JO and shop towels handy. Years ago I did take evening classes (for 2 years) at our local techinical institure (now a community college. SInce I was the only mechanical "novice" there, I learned from everyone. Also learned a lot of "tips and tricks' used by the pros. And also have prevented myself and family members from being sold a "left handed framitz" and other unnecessary services and parts. Most reliable service facilities parts stores appreciate a customer who is familiar with their problems and knows how to ask for advice in the proper "lingo". . And provide better care to your car.

This knowledge allowed Santa to give each of my 3 sons a "car" the Christmas after their 13th birthday along with a set of jackstands, tools, and a manual. (They were told that if they ever were caught under the car without a jackstand, that car was history. It gave them a respect and a helluva lot of experience and kept them out from under the hoods of our family cars. Together, any 2 of them can now drop a VW 1600 engine out, completely rebuild, and replace it within 3 hours if they remember to have all the parts and tools at hand. One is working now on his Phd, one is a high mogul in a fortune 500 company, and the other is high up in a multi-state filter, tank, pump, and maintainance company. All still do their own car work. And keep their kids' go-karts, motorcycles, lawnmowers, etc up.

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My sons gave me el cheapo ramps from Harbor Freight. Since they use (and lose) my tools, etc, these ramps have had about every kind of 4 wheel vehicle on them imaginable and have held up well for over 10 years. I also have a set of jack stands they have bought and used (agan from Harbor Freight). As long as you use common sense and the proper safety precautions (wheel chocks, etc) you should do fine. Even if you've got 10 thumbs, you ought to be able to do the oil and filter changes yourself.

Since the federal government ("guviment", since you also are from the South) uses all kinds of vehicles and mandates that all oils, coolants, etc be compatible, I'd choose a good quality coolant, lubricant, etc and stick with it. About the only things I suggest you do regularily at a reliable shop would be tire rotation, balance, and wheel alignment. You should be able to do almost everything else yourself. What knowledge you obtain from doing this for your Lexus will "transfer" to other vehicles. You'll also learn new ways to bust your knuckles and expand your vocabulary at the same time. Keep some bandaids and antibiotic cream available. And it wouldn't hurt to have some GO-JO and shop towels handy. Years ago I did take evening classes (for 2 years) at our local techinical institure (now a community college. SInce I was the only mechanical "novice" there, I learned from everyone. Also learned a lot of "tips and tricks' used by the pros. And also have prevented myself and family members from being sold a "left handed framitz" and other unnecessary services and parts. Most reliable service facilities parts stores appreciate a customer who is familiar with their problems and knows how to ask for advice in the proper "lingo". . And provide better care to your car.

This knowledge allowed Santa to give each of my 3 sons a "car" the Christmas after their 13th birthday along with a set of jackstands, tools, and a manual. (They were told that if they ever were caught under the car without a jackstand, that car was history. It gave them a respect and a helluva lot of experience and kept them out from under the hoods of our family cars. Together, any 2 of them can now drop a VW 1600 engine out, completely rebuild, and replace it within 3 hours if they remember to have all the parts and tools at hand. One is working now on his Phd, one is a high mogul in a fortune 500 company, and the other is high up in a multi-state filter, tank, pump, and maintainance company. All still do their own car work. And keep their kids' go-karts, motorcycles, lawnmowers, etc up.

I agree...a good tire rotation/balance & alignment if ur noticing any unusual high speed steering wheel vibration. (had this done this weekend & what a difference)

Pick up some ramps & do the oil changes ur self save some money. Walmart always has good pricing for both dino & synthetic oils.

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