For many of us, even those who are total auto-nuts, cars are one big mystery. We know roughly which components do what, and the routine things we need to avoid to keep it running. However, when it comes to any actual maintenance, things can quickly become confusing. Here, I’ve listed some of the most common questions people have about car maintenance, along with their simplified answers…

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Where’s the Fuel Filter?

You may know something about the importance of a car’s fuel filter, but be unable to find the darn thing! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The fuel filter on an engine is found in different places, depending on the make, model, and year of the car. Generally, the quickest way to find this is checking through your user’s manual. If you don’t have this, then lift the hood and check towards the back on the driver’s side. A lot of the time, it’s mounted on the firewall near the passenger’s brake booster. Another typical place is under the car, way back near the actual fuel tank. In this case, you may need to remove a wheel and jack the car up to find it. When in doubt, head to a reputable auto repair shop.

Why is my Exhaust Blue?

When you notice that your exhaust coming from your car has suddenly changed colour, then it’s obviously going to be pretty disconcerting! Although blue exhaust is a fairly rare sign of maintenance issues, it still happens, and is important to act upon. The most common cause for this issue is oil leaking into the cylinder, and then burning up. Even a couple of tiny drops can be the cause of billowing blue smoke. Typically, a simple oil change will solve the problem, but it’s important to dig a little deeper and check your engine for more serious issues. You may be driving with a leaking fuel injector, a glitchy sensor, a carburettor that’s gone out of tune, or a bad fuel pump. Before you go ahead and change your oil, be sure to check on all of these parts to pin down the root of the problem.

How Important is Fuel Quality?

It can be easy to look at the different standards of fuel quality offered at your local gas station, and think that it’s all a bit of a con. However, fuel quality is actually pretty important. You may be able to save a bit of money by filling your car up with the wrong fuel, but you’ll also risk seriously damaging the car. If your car is stock and uses unleaded, then you can pick from any of the unleaded options, and you’ll generally have nothing to worry about. However, if you’ve had any performance tuning done, you can protect your investment by going with premium or high-performance fuel. The worst mistake any motorist can make is putting diesel in an unleaded vehicle, or vice versa. If you run a car like this for even a short period of time, it can cause a fortune’s worth of engine damage!