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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I apologize if this is in the wrong section or anything of that nature...
I just registered here because I'm picking up my new Smart today (new to me, at least). Its an '08 Passion with 58k miles on it. It was from a Ford dealership so they obviously didn't do any sort of maintenance on it except topping off the fluids.

I'm curious what all I should do to it when I receive it? I have no idea how well the previous owner kept up on his maintenance so I might as well start off on a clean slate.

- Assuming the spark plugs turn out to be old or the wrong type/brand, what is recommended that I replace them with? (preferably something I can find in an autozone or something, but if its really a big deal I'll order them)

- I plan to do an oil change, probably with Mobil 1 0W-40 synthetic unless a different kind is better for a higher mileage car

- Should I flush the coolant? What should I replace it with if I do? The radiator fan seems to be on a majority of the time even when idling, I don't think that's abnormal but my dad thinks it is

- I believe they're putting the proper air in the tires but I'll check anyway. The tires are continentals... the tread appears to be fine so maybe they were replaced once. (Recommended PSI?)

- I doubt the Ford dealer put premium fuel in it, and who knows if the last guy did, either. Should I get any sort of octane booster or fuel system cleaner of any sort (not to use repeatedly but just for the first tank)?

- Anything else I should look out or perform?
 

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If you are near (-1 hr) a smart center?
I would suggest going there and asking for a "full delivery walk around" with their most knowledgeable sales person?

There are lots of little "tricks n tips" that they can provide.

You might also ask them to do a general inspection to cover all the above issues you listed?
 

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:welcome: to SCoA! :)

If you call your smart center and give them the VIN they can tell you what's been done to the car in the smart system. Take a look at the owners manual for service specs, operations, etc.: http://owners.smartusa.com/My_Manuals.aspx Tire pressures are on a sticker on the drivers door jamb. Start using at least 91 octane top tier gas and you'll be OK. You can have the coolant checked but replacing it can't hurt.
 

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If the dealer can't give you the info as jwight suggests, Assume that the previous owner didn't do what they should have.
I would use Denso Irridium plugs. I ordered mine form smartmadness. Just go ahead and replace them, since even if they were replaced on time(30K), they are due again.
I would do the coolant flush. Smart recommends it at 40K. Make sure you do your homework as to getting the air out of the system, or have the dealer do it. An oil change with the Mobil 1 is a good idea.
I wouldn't worry about the fuel. Just start using premium at your next fill up.
Change the batteries in the remotes.
Smart recommends brake fluid flushes every 20K. Some do them, others don't. Your call.
Check the cabin air filter.
Inflate your tires to the recommended pressures in the manual. If you are going for maximum fuel economy, you can pump them to max pressure recommended on the sidewall of the tire(probably around 44PSI) The car will ride rougher if you do though.
Enjoy your smart!
:D:D
 

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I'm OK with all BB posted except inflating the tires to their MAX pressure (way above the factory recommended pressures.) There's a reason the smart has staggered tire widths and different air pressures front and back. It's your car, etc. but I'd stick with OEM tire pressures until you get a feel for the car. YMMV. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, I didn't even think about the brake fluid. What about power steering fluid?? I'm not super car savvy but my father is, who will be helping me do whatever maintenance it needs.

I'm about an hour from the nearest dealer that sells/services Smarts, but I imagine they'll charge me a fortune for things we can figure out or read on here. I'll have to order some denso's
 

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Apk07, welcome to the asylum!

By design, the smart ride is more harsh than larger vehicles with a longer wheelbase and more suspension travel. Inflating your tires to the MAX number listed on the sidewall may give you better MPG but it will certainly serve to loosen the fillings in your teeth. :wink:

The placard listing the appropriate F/R (staggered sizes) cold tire pressure is affixed to the Tridion. You can also find the recommended tire pressure and load limit for your vehicle in the vehicle owner's manual.


Because tires are designed to be used on more than one type of vehicle, tire manufacturers list the "maximum permissible inflation pressure" on the tire sidewall. This number is the greatest amount of air pressure that should ever be put in the tire under normal driving conditions.
 

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Apk07. Your car is almost due for the 60k Valve check.

Valve failure is reported often on this list. IMO not monitoring valve clearance, as recommended by the Smart Factory, puts your engine at risk.

Some ignore the factory check and get away with it. Take your choice.

I would take it into the dealer and have the whole 60 k service performed and figure the PO did nothing. Set aside $400 to $600 for the dealer bill. It may be cheap insurance on your unknown car.. A2Jack
 

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- I believe they're putting the proper air in the tires but I'll check anyway.
Some people choose to put nitrogen in the tires. I only use California air because of the large amount of particulates tends to plug any small leaks. If you're on a budget, you can use local air.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't really know what my engine is supposed to sound like. When I turn the key to the accessory position, I hear a short but distinct whine. Is that normal?

Also the car decelerates rapidly when when letting off the gas. I've never driven a manual or anything this small so I'm not sure if that's normal either. I wish I had someone else who had a Smart around me to tell me whats normal or abnormal.

The engine was also caked in a beige dust that doesn't come off with compressed air. I was wiping it down with a dry rag and that helped, but I feel like I need to clean it with some water.

I still also don't know if its normal for the cooling fan to kick on the moment the car starts and stay on permanently or not?
 

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I don't really know what my engine is supposed to sound like. When I turn the key to the accessory position, I hear a short but distinct whine. Is that normal?

Also the car decelerates rapidly when when letting off the gas. I've never driven a manual or anything this small so I'm not sure if that's normal either. I wish I had someone else who had a Smart around me to tell me whats normal or abnormal.

The engine was also caked in a beige dust that doesn't come off with compressed air. I was wiping it down with a dry rag and that helped, but I feel like I need to clean it with some water.

I still also don't know if its normal for the cooling fan to kick on the moment the car starts and stay on permanently or not?
There are others on the forum from MI.

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f74/michigan-smart-sightings-24554/index3.html
 

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The cooling fan will come on if the a/c is on, the switch is just above the selector switch for the heat/ac controls.

You will hear a whine when you turn on the key, kind of like a blower motor and that is normal. Also you could hear the transmission and clutch shifting around, again normal.

The thing to remember is that your car IS a manual transmission car. It has a clutch and separate gears. It will act like a manual transmission car. It does have an automatic mode where the computer takes care of the clutch.

You may notice a 'hot engine' smell after driving. again, normal. the air intake is just behind the drivers door and that makes the smell more noticeable than on a regular front engine car.

find out when the Michigan smart group is getting together and meet up with them. They can show you the ins and outs.

Not many smarts came with power steering so you probably don't need to check the fluid level.

I have washed down my motor using an engine cleaner spray and a garden hose, works pretty good but you will want to tape off the rest of the car with plastic so you don't end up with a car full of water. I'd stay away from a pressure washer, that would be asking for trouble.
 

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As JimVW57 mentioned, the radiator cooling fan will run continuously whenever the a.c. is ON. With the a.c. off the fan turns off until the coolant temperature approaches the neighborhood of 200 degrees+ Fahrenheit.
With the A.C. on, the coolant temp on mine rises to about 190 degrees and drops back due to the fan turning on.
How do I monitor temp? Scangauge plugged into the OBDII port. There is a better gauge today with settable alarms for coolant temp. and other parameters. My memory fails me at the moment. Anyone?
 

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As JimVW57 mentioned, the radiator cooling fan will run continuously whenever the a.c. is ON. With the a.c. off the fan turns off until the coolant temperature approaches the neighborhood of 200 degrees+ Fahrenheit.
With the A.C. on, the coolant temp on mine rises to about 190 degrees and drops back due to the fan turning on.
How do I monitor temp? Scangauge plugged into the OBDII port. There is a better gauge today with settable alarms for coolant temp. and other parameters. My memory fails me at the moment. Anyone?
Ultragauge has programmable alarms.
 

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Since the smart has an electric power steering system, i don't think there is any PS fluid to check.
I know the tire pressure issue tends to generate a little bit of controversy. I can tell you this. I have run 44 PSI in both of my smarts for over 20K miles. It handles fine in both everyday and emergency maneuvers. All things equal, i pick up between 1-2 MPG by doing so. BUT, the ride DOES GET HARSHER. I have gone back and forth between recommended PSI and max PSI, and the results are consistent. Better ride but slightly reduced gas mileage. Most of the time now i run the recommended pressure, since i want the better ride and am willing to forgo a few MPG's to get it. Personal preference more than anything else. The manufacturers recommendations are generally specified to give the best balance of ride and handling. Sometimes the manufacturers recommendations aren't the best in the long run. The Ford exploder comes to mind. Ford recommended relatively low pressure specifications so that the truck based SUV would ride softer, thus reducing complaints of a harsh ride. That didn't work out so well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The smart dealership here in Michigan estimated about $380 for a typical tune-up including fluids, filters, and plugs. I'm just going to drive out there perhaps for an inspection, try driving a similar car to make sure nothing I'm feeling/hearing is abnormal, and then come home and do the tune-up myself.

I think when I hit like 65,000ish (I'm a bit over 58k now), I'm going to take it in and have the works. I'll just have to set aside a nice lump of cash just for that day :p
 

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Welcome to the forums Apk07 and congrats on getting your smart! I was were you are about 3 weeks ago... The 'Just bought it, now what do I do?' phase. The folks here have been great and I've learned quite a bit.
My smart was a hair over 61k when I bought it, so I'm in the same boat as you pretty much.
For my tires, I decided to split the difference between dealer recommend and max pressure. It does pretty good at that point.
I checked the oil and the plugs as well and they looked ok, but I have no idea when they were last put in. (Oil will be changed when I hit the next mark from when I bought it.)
I'm also going to have to save up the change and get the valves checked unless I figure out how to do it myself. I've had aircooled VWs in the past and that was part of EVERY oil change, but this is an ENTIRELY different animal.
I just finished replacing rotors and pads, but will probably rebuild the calipers next weekend when the rebuild kit comes in.
(Oh yeah, and I threw in my stereo and some new speakers, but that's a little off the topic...)
I LOVE my fortwo and have started to get used to its 'mannerisms'. Just drive it around for a while and you'll get the hang of it too. (Yeah, I know... more driving. Shucks!) :wink:
Keep us posted!
-Chance
 

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Hi, Apk07, and I too am in the same Boat with you, did you get booklets with yours? if you did, look at the Scheduled Maintenance Guide. And anything requiring a change, have it changed. that's what I'm doing, and still doing. Also there are items that need to be changed not directly listed within the guide, they are checked, such as replacing your brakes, tires, etc. those items will be your call.

Yes, it's strange driving around hearing all the strange sounds our Smarts make, and the way they drive, and having no point of reference with any other Smarts. I'm still in that boat with you. Over time you'll find you'll wear it like a badge of honor.

OK what's this 60k Valve check thing, I have not seen this before, got to do a new search on this. are we ever done?
 

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You are lucky to be able to get answers on this forum. When I got my smart, we didn't have any answers, just lots of questions. We learned the hard way.

the 60K valve check is a good idea as with smaller motors and higher outputs, things work quite a bit harder. Valves can get a bit longer and if they stay open will burn up. Thus the need to check for clearance between the valves and the rocker arms (or camshaft) There needs to be a bit to allow for heat expansion and such. It is much cheaper to have it checked than it is to replace the engine.
 
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