TODAY   |  November 12, 2013

Learn how to check your oil and change a tire

Auto expert Audra Fordin, founder of Women Auto Know, shows the TODAY team how to perform some basic auto maintenance tasks, including changing a tire and checking your oil.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> how many of us don't know how to check our oil? me. change a tire? me. i think i can do that. we're going to get you in with five things you need to know how to do.

>> she is here with what every driver ought to know.

>> hey there. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> cars are so complex. we just throw up our hands and say there's nothing we can do but there's things under the hood and as far as maintenance is concerned you can take care of yourself.

>> here's something on a day like today that's really important is the wiper blades. 90% of driving decisions are based on having visibility.

>> sure.

>> so being able to see, if you have squeaks, or smears coming from your windshield, well, that's an indication that they need to be changed. so the driver's side and passenger side, they're different sizes. so go to your local parts authority and pick up wiper blades. and always make sure that you have full washer fluid.

>> yeah.

>> especially this time of year.

>> especially once you get under the hood.

>> absolutely. talking about fluid, motor oil is the lifeline of your engine.

>> how do you know when you need to change the oil, then?

>> right. different kinds of oil but checking it is always the same on all the cars.

>> right.

>> it's kind of like a ring on your finger or it says motor oil on it. when you pull out the dip stick the first time, don't even look at it.

>> okay.

>> we're going to take it out. we're going to insert the dip stick back into the dip stick cube. the second time is when it counts.

>> all right. this time we're going to take a look and you'll see there's notches or a cross hatch. that indicate what is the oil level is. if the oil level is low, well, then it's time for your oil change or if it looks like chocolate syrup .

>> okay. should you check your oil when the car hasn't been started or after it's been running?

>> you want to check your oil when it's cold.

>> okay.

>> and on level ground.

>> okay. when you're done after we check it we'll put it all the way back and we're done.

>> and we're done.

>> while we're under the hood --

>> sure.

>> let's talk about a battery.

>> your battery. exactly.

>> time of year with a lot of dead batteries as well.

>> it's a common problem.

>> sure.

>> i'm always scared to do this. i'm always worried i'm going to shock myself or something. is that a worry?

>> of course it is but i'm going to give you a tip so that you never have to worry again. i call it playing the match game . so it's like this -- do you want to help out?

>> sure.

>> here we go.

>> so it's ready. red to red, black to black. as long as you remember that, positive to positive negative to negative like the match game you can never go wrong, you're going to put the red to red. the positive to the positive and it's indicated on the battery.

>> okay.

>> and i'll put mine on the black.

>> put yours on to the black.

>> okay.

>> there we go.

>> there you go.

>> i think it's on there sort of.

>> going to screw it tight.

>> the gloves make it slippery.

>> there you go.

>> now you're on.

>> that's it.

>> red to red, black to black.

>> and you're not going to worry about grounding or anything like that.

>> in this situation, absolutely not.

>> you want to turn everything off though when you're doing that.

>> that's a great point. in the event that, you know, you're having trouble starting, shut off the air conditioner , shut off the radio and have all the accessories off so that you're not drawing any excess power. one more thing to remember is once you have the car running , you're going to take the cables off and keep the car running for like 20 minutes to recharge the battery.

>> keeps it going.

>> the tires, you get a flat tire . i had to change my tire this summer --

>> you did it yourself?

>> i did it myself but i have to tell you, the jacks that are in the cars today, it's like you're doing -- it's a science experiment.

>> well, they do make it so that it's all compact and sometimes there are complications when it comes to that. but what's super cool about tires is tire pressure . if you have the right pressure in your tires it's going to save you like 7% on fuel economy. having the right pressure is easy to check.

>> this is an interesting gauge.

>> this is digital and you get it from your local parts authority to pick up a regular gauge and to check the pressure, you put the valve stem on to the gauge.

>> right.

>> right.

>> read your number.

>> now the tire pressure --

>> how often should you check the pressure too?

>> check it seasonally.

>> okay.

>> the tire pressure for your car is found on the sticker on the door jam .

>> thank you so much.

>> how do you make sure your lug nuts are loose enough -- should you loosen -- tighten them? when i was trying to get the tire off, that was the hardest part.

>> that is the hardest part and i like to step on it and make sure that it's on there.

>> that's what i ended up doing.

>> use all of your weight.

>> aren't your lug nuts always a little loose.

>> i set you up for that, didn't i?

>> i was holding my breath on that one.

>> better that it was you than me.