Congrats, you got your first car! But, did you know cars come with a lot of responsibility too? Well, you might think “I’m a girl, I don’t need to know anything about cars!” However, as a car owner, you really should know a few basic things about your particular model, general car care and everyday driving. Here’s what they are!
How to change oil
Checking for oil is very easy, straightforward and quite important for the health of your car. Oil stops your engine from overheating and many other dangerous malfunctions. Just locate your oil dipstick, read the oil levels and act accordingly (refill or just let it be). You can buy oil next time you get your fuel refilled or visit a car part store. If you’re often running low on oil, take a look under your car and see if you notice any leaks. If you do see black spots on the pavement, make sure to bring your car to a mechanic for a checkup.
How to change a flat tire
This is one of the most important skills in life you can learn and the one that will almost certainly come in handy at one point in time. So, if you happen to get a flat tire (you’ll notice your car is steering weirdly and you’ll hear a strange flapping noise) make sure to stop and change that pancake.
Driving on an over- or under-inflated tire is also quite dangerous. With a cheap tire-pressure gauge, you can quickly check the readings and compare it to your optimal levels. Usually, every car has a list of pressure levels written inside the driver’s doors on a warning sticker. Some cars, like a Ford’s small SUV, have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System that will alert you when your tires are getting too low on air. Having well-pressurized tires will make your ride safer, make the tires last longer and even improve your fuel economy!
How to jump-start a car
Jump-starting a car is another skill that can potentially be a lifesaver (for you and for other people in traffic). Car batteries usually die if you drain them, if you have a weak battery with corroded connections or if you happen to experience very hot or cold temperatures. It might sound scary, but it’s actually quite simple to jump start a car and it requires just a set of jumper cables and another car. So if you ever get a dead battery, get your cables out and start your jump start process. There’s a strict way you attach clamps to the battery, so make sure to carry a solid manual in your glove compartment. Once your car starts, make sure to keep it running for some time to charge the battery completely and you’re good to go!
How to get unstuck
This will get super handy, especially if you live in a rural part of the country or love to have outdoor adventures. So, if you ever get stuck in snow or mud, don’t panic. Try going forwards and backwards to reach some hard soil and get traction. What you shouldn’t do is floor it! You’ll only create a deeper ditch and potentially hurt someone. Another thing you can do is put a floor mat, branches, kitty litter or cardboard under your tires to get a better grip.
How to parallel park
If the last time you parallel parked was during your driver’s education, it’s time to learn it right once and for all. Start by stopping right alongside the car parked in front of your future spot and carefully reverse backwards while turning the steering wheel to the right. Once you notice you have enough space between the car in front and the car at the back, start steering left. Once you are securely between the two cars, feel free to adjust to create an even spacing and voila!
What to keep with you
You’ll be surprised by how many people don’t know what they have to have with them in the car. You always need your insurance information, license and registration. Additionally, a flashlight, first aid kit and some tools are also a must!
These 6 tips will definitely make you a much safer, more independent and overall better driver. So, go out and try these on your car now, so you’ll be completely ready if the emergency occurs.
About the author:
Roxana is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant from Sydney and she loves to write about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family. Being a typical Aussie, she often hits the waves and loves beaches and sunshine! You can find out more about her writing following her on twitter and facebook. She is also one of the editors at Higstylife Magazine.