When was the last time you lubricated your door hinge? Your emergency brake cable? Your door locks? If you are like most people the answer is probably - never. Yet by regularly lubricating these and other seldom-lubricated items on your car you can prevent squeaks, malfunctions due to corrosion, and extend the whole car's useful life.

The first step is to scoot over to your local auto-parts store and get a small tube of white lithium grease, a small tube of graphite, a small can of silicone spray and a small can of rubber lubricant and preservative spray.

Take your tube of white lithium grease, squeeze out a little dab on the tip of your finger. Rub it thoroughly into the pivot points of all the hinges. Work the hinges a little bit and then rub on more grease.

When applying grease, don't operate under the assumption that if a little is good, a lot is better. Applying a lot of grease just means you'll have a lot left on the outside of the hinges where it only attracts dirt and is likely to rub off on some one's clothes. The only grease that does any good is that which you manage to get between the parts of metal that make contact with one another as they pivot.

Also, when you're greasing the hood hinges, rub some grease on the hood latch too to keep it from sticking.

Next, the emergency brake. You'll have to crawl under the car for this and you may have to elevate it. Underneath you'll see where the emergency brake cable comes out of its housing at different places. Spray the cable with CRC or WD 40 at these areas so it will slide in and out of the housing easier. Also inspect the entire length of the cable. Anywhere it rubs against anything, such as the body floor pan, spray the cable and the area it rubs against with a liberal shot. This will let the cable move a little easier and cut down on squeaks.

Also spray the moving parts of the lever or pedal used to apply the emergency brake.

Now let's give ALL to locks the once-over with your tube of graphite. The routine is the same for each. Put the tip of the graphite tube in the lock's key slot, squeeze in some graphite, and then take the key and work it in and out a few times. This not only keeps the lock working easily but in winter it helps prevent the lock from freezing.

Don't forget the windows. Roll each window down and spray each window channel with silicone spray. The window channel - that's the channel that the window glass rides up and down in.

Also spray all the weatherstripping with silicone spray. It keeps it soft and pliable and helps prevent water leaks. And don't forget the weather stripping around the trunk lid; that's where leaks tend to occur as weather stripping gets older and brittle.

And don't forget those seat tracks. Those are the tracks your seats slide forward and backward on. Put a little white grease on each track. And using WD 40 or CRC, spray the pivotal part of the arm you use to release the seats.

Last, any place there are rubber bushings, such as the stabilizer bar, shock absorber ends, at the lower control arm, and so forth - spray these with rubber lube and preservative. This will keep them soft and pliable. Don't use motor oil. It may look good when you rub it on, but it will cause the rubber to deteriorate.

Lubricate these seldom-lubed areas at each oil change. Your car will appreciate it.