• Pay attention only once, because I won't repeat myself - (jokingly). ***COMICAL VERSION***** All cars have different types of fluids to change, that do different things. Each one is important in some manner and the most difficult fluid to service is really not that difficult, unless you are a paraplegic. Your car - a Monte Carlo - is not unique. To begin with, I will start with the most important fluids that must be serviced and work my way down to fluids less of a priority.. Engine oil is commonly agreed to need changed every 3000 miles - give or take 500 miles. The cleanliness of your engine's oil is directly attributed to the longevity of the service life of your engine, so if you want your engine to last as long as it was designed to endure, then change it according to both the manufacturers recomendations and whenever it becomes prudent because it looks like pond scum. The first step in changing oil is to get rid of your old oil. Wait for a time when the car has sat without use for a time to ensure all the old oil has drained back into the oil pan. This would be the time right before you would normally drive it to traffic court, the liquor store, red light district, or visitation day at the penitentiary. If the car has sat for 8 hours, it has probably returned all the oil that is possible back to the oil pan. Obtain a nice catch pan to collect all the old oil. You can buy one of these from an auto parts store or find a makeshift one, but remember, it has to be able to collect all your oil without overflowing and fit underneath your car, or the EPA will find you and make you clean the spilled oil from the soil with your battery powered toothbrush. Normally, a car engine will hold 4-6 quarts of oil depending on the car - refer to your owners manual. You will also need a wrench to remove the drain plug on the oil pan. The size depends on the plug. Early Monte Carlos were 9/16" or 5/8" and late model metric designs could probably be 14 or 15 mm. If your not sure, buy a crescent wrench, which is adjustable to any size and also makes a nice weapon to beat robbers and thugs with. Remove the drain plug with the pan underneath and let the oil flow like honey. Remember, however, that unless you are as flat as a toothpick, it will be difficult to drain the oil, because the car will not hover above you. You will also need a jack, and by all means, use a jackstand to ensure your safety. Jack the car firmly under the frame or the manufacturers approved points and place a jackstand under the car to ensure nothing slips and comes crashing down on you. After the oil is drained, replace the plug back into the oil pan. Tighten it with a wrench to the point that it is tight, but you aren't just trying to build your muscles or seeing if the wrench will bend - you will break the bolt or pan threads before the wrench will. Next, you will also need to replace the oil filter. You will need to actually go to a parts store and either ask the dude working there or refer to the handy filter books they have to find the type you need for your make, model, and year of your car. You will also have to have money to buy this and also enough to spring for an oil filter wrench the size you need. Hopefully you have a benevolent family, social security income, or a job. Changing the oil filter is a snap. Apply the oil filter wrench and remove it. Remember counter-clockwise will remove it and clockwise will tighten it. This is a standard thread. Take your old filter and send it to your best friend as a paper-weight. Take your shiny new filter and fill it with new oil as much as it can hold. Take your finger and dip it in new oil and rub the oil around the rubber seal around the top of the filter. This ensures the seal will not stick to metal and require an act of God to remove it next time without having to use a lab technician with dental tools to scrape off the old rubber seal. Tighten the oil filter like a jar of peanut butter. If you find you are crushing the filter as you tighten it, you are trying to be too much like Vin Diesel. Lower your testosterone. Your final step is to refill your engine with new refined oil straight from the Middle East. Find both your filler cap (usually on the valve cover), and the oil dipstick. This is another job that requires referring to the owners manual or asking the neighbor who owes you, if you're not sure. Fill it with the recommended oil in the owners manual with about 4 quarts. Check the level on the dipstick. It will probably be low at this point. Add additional oil in increments until it reads full. The dipstick will have a low and high mark relative to one quart. Low oil bad. High oil also bad. Get it between these marks and you will do fine and sleep well. The very next best thing is changing your transmission fluid. This is not unlike changing your oil, but changing the filter is a lot more difficult, but fortunately it is not a requirement to change the filter every 3000 or so miles, nor the fluid. It varies greatly with wear and tear and the type transmission. Right now, I am referring to automatic transmissions, which use automatic transmission fluid. Automatic transmission fluids, do two things; they provide lubrication - just like motor oil - and they act as a hydraulic fluid, just like the stuff used to move backhoes and tanks. The fluid has a distinct color; a purplish red, but don't confuse it with the blood you will find on your knuckles when working on cars. The method is the same; drain the fluid using a catchpan. Transmissions have a drain plug on the lower pan just like the engine's oil pan. Replace the plug and restore the ATF fluid using the dipstick as a gauge. To replace the filter requires actually doing it before or having 7 years of training as an ASE certified mechanic. Usually, people just try it themselves without the years of schooling and get by just fine. You will still need a jack and jackstands. You will still need to ensure the car does not fall on you and make your lungs not work. The "oil pan" on an automatic transmission is usually a large flat bottomed pan about 1-foot x 1-foot square and have a series of 20 or so bolts holding it on for dear life around its perimeter. The bolt size varies, but you probably should not use the crescent wrench you purchased even though you still want to use it as a weapon against an assailant. The reason is, the bolts are obstructed a little more than the oil drain plug and a wrench or socket will prove to be a better tool. Normal GM transmission pan bolt sizes will be 1/2" or about 13mm. If neither of these fit, don't give up, just find the right size. Your auto parts supplier will be glad to sell you more tools. After removing the pan (remember to actually drain the fluid first) you will find a large flat screen covering the guts of the transmission. What is behind this is a large valve body that is like the brains of the transmission. Don't worry, it is not smarter than you because it is not flesh and bones. There should be a couple bolts holding this screen on. Simply remove this and replace it with a new one. Next, replace the pan, with a new gasket from the parts guy who loves you for your business. Torque the pan bolts to the specifications in a repair manual. You will not find the specifications in an owners manual, because normal owners do not normally replace the transmission filter. A repair manual will cost you approximately $20. Take the car back down from the jack stands and jack. Start filling the transmission through the dipstick tube using a funnel. Put in about 5-6 quarts and then check it with the dipstick. This is a preliminary fluid check. Transmission capacities varies and the owners manual is gonna be your bible. To actually check the working fluid in your transmission, it has to be running - the motor that is. The fluid in the tranny should be checked with the engine running and the car in park. Start the car and then shift the transmission through the gears with your foot on the brake. What this does is let the fluid be happy and flow through all the valves inside the transmission. This way you can check the dipstick and get the actual reading of the fluid in the pan and not all of it that is stuck inside all the valves. Keep adding fluid until the level reaches between the marks on the dipstick. The stick will have readings for cold and hot. If you just started the engine, chances are that the fluid is not hot and you fill it to the cold level. If you just finished the Indianaplois 500, refer to the high mark which reads the hot level. Manual transmissions do not use ATF fluid. Instead they use a heavier gear oil. The plus side is that manual transmissions do not have filters, because they have parts inside that do not wear away as fast as the delicate bands and clutches inside an automatic transmission. This means that a manual transmission lubricant does not get as dirty as fast as an ATF fluid. A manual tranny has a drain plug in the bottom side and has a filler plug on the top side. Simply drain the old oil, replace the plug, and fill the new oil through the top plug until it is full. They have no dipstick, but instead rely on the location of the top plug. When you fill the manual tranny fluid, when it begins to weep out the top hole; it is full. Replace the top plug and shift away. Rear differential lubricant changes are much like changing the oil in a manual transmission. In fact, they are both very simple gearboxes, thus they use the same type of oil. A rear differential is only found on a rear-wheel-drive car, so if you have a front wheel drive car, skip this paragraph. Jack up the rear of the car and place the axle housing on jackstands, ensuring your life insurance is current. Use the trusty catch pan to collect the sludge that will drain out. The differential on GM cars are always integral gearboxes, meaning they only have a cover on the backside. The gearbox is integrated into the housing. Other manufacturers, like Ford, make a differential with what is called a third-member, which means the gear box can be removed seperate from the axle housing. The cover plate on the differential has maybe 12 or more bolts, depending on the axle. Don't fret, more bolts is just a little more work. The first thing to do is go to that guy who sells you all these auto parts and buy a new gasket. Remove the cover plate bolts and drain the gearbox lubricant. Clean the differential gasket surface and the cover plate surface down to the metal and put it all back together with the same care you would take in removing burnt cheese stuck to the bottom of your favorite lasagnia dish. The differential will have a filler plug on it's topside just like a manual transmission and you should fill it until it starts to run out this hole. The cover plate bolts will be about 1/2" or 13mm also. Remove the car from the jackstands and jack and you are in business. Changing from oil to coolants, the next best thing you can do is keep your car quenched with a radiator coolant. Owner manuals recommend a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. Water will boil at 180 degrees or so, depending on air pressure. Water is a nice liquid for transferring heat, but it also boils at a point lower than cars like, and freezes at a temperature that can be bad for an engine. Water expands when it freezes, and will put enough force inside and engine block to actually crack the engine block like a pretzel. This is one of the main reasons antifreeze is added to water - to lower the freezing temperature. It also raises its boiling point, but it is not as important, in that there are design failsafes to ensure the coolant is kept below a certain level. Radiators have a coolant pressure cap and filler neck on top and a drain valve located on the bottom. Usually, coolant doesn't get dirty and need replaced entirely, but it is generally a matter of fact that some of it will evaporate through the radiator overflow and will need topping off from time to time. Some newer cars have no filler cap at all and rely on an overflow tank that you would use to add additional coolant as needed. The overflow tank will have a hot and cold mark on the side which you should add coolant to as needed. In your case, you want to know how to change out all your 50/50 mix of water/ethyleneglycol. To drain the coolant, there will be a valve towards the bottom the radiator. The radiator has two sides, called tanks. On one of these side tanks will be a drain towards the bottom. It will be a little tube sticking out with two tangs protruding. The idea is to insert your head down far enough and grab the tangs with your teeth and pivot your neck to rotate it. If this proves unsuccesful, you will probably need pliers. Remember, this drain is like a bolt, but hollow, so you can slide a piece of tubing over the end. This proves to be useful in that without it, the coolant will just drain all over the place and make a nasty mess all over the ground and not into your catch pan. Animals, especially cats, like antifreeze, because it has a sweet taste. If they discover your nasty green mess on the ground, they will be more than happy to lap it up and die from poisoning, so make sure you drain your coolant into a pan and discard it into a river or pay the EPA to take it off your hands. Otherwise, see if your local franchise auto repair or parts store has a method to rid us of a known poison. When drained, retighten the drain plug. If you have a radiator with a pressure cap, simply fill it to the top and fill it with your antifreeze/water mix. Start the engine and let it get hot. As soon as the thermostat opens, the coolant level will drop as the liquid flows into the engine. Keep adding the coolant as it refills the radiator. You will have to do this several times until the engine stays warm and as the thermostat opens the drop of fluid in the radiator remains at a nominally constant level. When it gets really hot, it will not accept any more fluid and will probably overflow out the radiator cap. At this time, you need to replace the radiator cap, and your done. Cars with no radiator cap are a bit more tricky. You have to actually fill the engine by removing one of the top hoses or thermostat housings and filling it directly into the engine as much as it will accept. The rest of the process is the same, but you will need to fill the remaining portion using the overflow container. Also on these types of motors, there is usually an allowance, especially if it was a spontaneous drunken engineering fluke, that the filling point is a little lower than the top of the engine fluid level. What they decided to do was insert a purging valve in some coolant line to allow an unwitting mechanic a way to purge air from inside the coolant chamber of the engine. This is somewhat rare, but it is a possibility. Keep in mind, only obtuse engineers who thought they knew it all actually approved of designs like this. The way to find out if you have a design like this is to have precognition or experience or talk to a qualified mechanic. In the event you have to purge air from the coolant system, you basically fill the coolant, run the engine until normal temperature and insert a toothpick or a golden scepter into the purge valve to release air until coolant seaps out, whichever you have available. No one likes to work hard. This is why mechanical engineers decided that women's arms hurt a lot when using ancient cars with no power steering. This also aplied to men as well, who enjoyed complaining. The solution was power steering. Power steering is a hydraulic assisted steering system. The engine drives a pump, which requires power steering fluid - which is a hydraulic fluid, Since we all remember that an automatic transmission also uses a fluid that has hydraulic capabilities - guess what?. ATF fluid can also be used in your power steering pump. You can buy power steering fluid, but you can also use the same ATF fluid into your power steering pump. Simply find in the owner manual the loaction of the pump and remove the cap on top. The cap has an integral dipstick built into it. Fill it to the required marks and you are set to steer your car using only two fingers. To replace all the fluid, it is simply a matter of removing one of the hoses from the power steering pump and discharging it. It is not under pressure when not in use, so you won't blow out your eye, or create a black gold gusher, but it will drain. Although not necessary, you can actually purge every ounce of fluid out by determining which hose (there are 2) on the pump is the pressure side. Remove it and let it discharge into your empty milk jug. Start the motor and let it run dry. Do not run the the engine very long after the fluid drains to a trickle as a power steering pump running dry will burn up the seals and bearings. Replace the hose to it's home and refill with power steering fluid or ATF fluid. Start your motor and cycle the steering wheel left and right to ensure the fluid circulates throughtout the system. Check the power steering fluid level and top off. Replace the cap and count the money you saved instead of taking it to Joe the mechanic. Break fluid is our next agenda. Brake systems are designed well enough not to be replaced during the life of your car, because lets face it, if your brakes fail you will probably be replacing some of your teeth when your car hits something hard. By far, brake fluid change-outs are more difficult, because it is purely a closed hydraulic system that will not tolerate any air inside the brake lines. Hydraulic fluid, does not compress very easily. Air will. Putting brake fluid in your car is fairly straightforward by just adding more fluid up to the desired level inside the master cylinder. Replacing it is another matter, in that by purging all the fluid, you are introducing air inside every line in your car. My advice is, that it is not necessary to do unless you actually have replaced a brake component that required opening or removing a brake line or replacing something that was leaking. The method of removing air from brake lines is called "bleeding the brakes". To remove all the brake fluid, you need to use a line wrench, to unscrew the brake lines from the brake calipers on the front and/or the calipers/wheel cylinders on the back. These devices are the hydraulic cylinders that actually work the mechanism of the braking shoes or pads. You unscrew these lines and gravity will immediately start flowing the fluid out onto the ground. Place a hose over the ends of these lines and insert them into catch containers. Climb into your Monte and start pumping the brake pedal until it is soft. Repeat this process with all four wheels until you are satisfied that all the fluid is gone - no more drains out. Your master cylinder will be empty. Replace all your brake lines as they were. The next step is the "bleeding" process. Each wheel cylinder and caliper has a hollow screw called a "bleeding screw". They are basically a purging valve to purge the air from the lines. This is most easily done with two people, one inside the car pumping the brakes and one purging the screw by opening and closing it. The screw is very small, about 1/4" or so. You will need a line wrench to undo the brake line, a small wrench to open the bleed screw, a four-way or tire iron to remove your wheels, a jack and jack stand to raise your car. With the brake fluid removed, fill the master cylinder with fluid. Get inside the car and start pumping the brakes. It will be ver soft. Check the fluid level until it is empty and then refill it. Keep repeating this process until the master cylinder remains somewhat full. The pedal will still feel soft when you apply it and this is where the bleeding of air comes in. Jack up one corner of the car at a time and use an assistant to purge the valve while you pump the brake pedal. The person at the wheel opens the bleed screw and tells the helper to press the brake pedal hard to the floor. The first few times, nothing happens at the bleed screw, but air is released. The screw is then closed and the command is given to release the brake pedal. The screw is then opened again and the pedal is pressed to the floor. Again the valve flows nothing but air. This process is repeated until eventually the bleed valve begins to flow brake fluid. At first it sputters until it provides a steady stream of fluid. After this, this process is done at each wheel. Inbetween purges, it is advantagious to keep checking the fluid level in the master cylinder. Each time the pedal is pressed and fluid runs out, the cylinder is drained a little bit of fluid. Eventually as this whole thing is done, the brake pedal starts to feel harder and harder. When done, finally top off the fluid in the master cylinder. Remember, brake fluid is very caustic and can irritate your skin. It is also extremely bad for paint. Brake fluid is so terrible, that if you get it on an automotive paint, it will dissolve your paint without feeling bad about it - even before you can think about where your full coverage insurance card is. The other fluids you will need to replace is windshield washing fluid and refridgerant. Unfortunately for you, you actually have to be licensed to replace refridgerant, because of environmental guidelines. Releasing ozone depleting chemicals requires you have a vapor recovery system and a certification. You also need to have expensive refridgerant, a set of gauges costing $100-$200 dollars and an expensive vacuum pump. If you manage to get the required tools to do this and the certifications and licenses, it is a process of purging the old refridgerant using a vapor recovery system. New refridgerant is filled by attaching a vacuum pump on the air conditioning line and attaching a closed line with refridgerant. This is another fluid not necessary to replace if it is causing you any problems and more adventagious and cheaper to have a qualified technician do rather than yourself because of cost and expertise. Windshield washing fluid, on the other hand, requires a 3rd grade education. You simply buy the product and fill the holding tank of washer fluid. Nothing more is required. Hopefully this helps you in your endeavours. Sometimes car maintenance requires a little more work than just taking it to your favorite shop, but what is gained is experience, and with time the knowledge that you are satisfied with doing it yourself and knowing that it was done to your own satisfaction. Enjoy!!

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