Traditionally, women have left it to men to worry about all things “car”. But these days, more and more women are choosing to take various levels of car maintenance and repair into their own hands. Even shopping around for cheap car insurance that meets your lifestyle and financial needs is part of the whole car mainktenance package. And when you find a good bargain, you’re really sitting in the driver’s seat.
Even if you don’t feel terribly mechanical or know much about the tech side of car maintenance, there are some invaluable things to learn how to do – like how to check your tire pressure and how to check your oil. You’ll save time, money and frustration by staying on top of these necessary items.
- How to Change a Tire. Knowing how to change your own tire puts the power into your hands. Instead of waiting around for AAA or a friend to arrive, being able to locate all that you need (the spare tire, torque wrench, and jack) will not only save you time, it will give you a satisfying feeling to know that you’re not relying on others to get you to where you need to go. We always prefer you to buy quality tires from good sellers like NeoTires.
- Signs You Can’t Ignore. Along with the many lights that may appear indiscriminately on the dashboard, there are several symptoms your car can exhibit that should be addressed immediately.
- A vibrating steering wheel. One or more of the wheels is off balance. It could be snow or ice in the wheel well or something not as easy to rectify. Take it to your mechanic for evaluation.
- High-pitched squawk from under the hood. This probably means that the serpentine belt is slipping.
- Your garage smells like an IHop. If there is a definitive maple syrup smell around your car or in the garage, you have a leak in the coolant system.
- Popping the Hood. Every car is different, so if you knew how to pop the hood in your last car, don’t assume you know how to do it for your current one. Get out the owner’s manual and find out exactly what’s involved. It can be frustrating if you can’t do it in a hurry when you need to.
- Putting Air into Your Tires. Getting into the habit of accessing your tires before each trip out is ideal. When you notice that they are low (and they may get low with cooler temperatures or of course, every day wear and tear) head to the nearest air pump or invest in an air compressor. Having a tire pressure gauge on hand will help you diagnose how low the air is, and if it’s been filled up enough. For the proper tire pressure, look on the inside of the driver’s door.
- Refilling Washer Fluid. Washer fluid is terribly underrated. We take for granted that it’s there when we go to use it, but in times of need – like during the winter when the windshield is caked with salt or plastered with dead bugs in the summer – if it’s not available it can be downright dangerous. It limits visibility and can create a hazardous situation. Keep a gallon of fluid on hand and check the level often.
- Checking the Oil. It might be intimidating for some people to check the oil in their car. The truth is, it’s a pretty simple procedure. First, grab yourself a paper towel and locate the oil dipstick. Pull out the dipstick and wipe off the oil, then reinsert the dipstick. Take the stick back out to see where the oil level falls. There will be either holes or markings to indicate the proper level. If the oil looks dark and dirty, it’s best to get it changed. If the level doesn’t reach either the hole or markings, add a quart of oil or two (do this when your car is cool and you’ll need a funnel).
- Turning on the Hazard Lights. With so many buttons on the dashboard, the hazard light button can be difficult to locate. Find it and commit its location to memory. This is one of the most important things to know to bring attention to your car for various reasons.
- When pulled over to the side of the road
- If your vehicle is a hazard to others
- If traffic is suddenly slowing ahead of you – to alert drivers behind you
- When being pulled over by a policeman
- How to Check the Tire Tread. Take a penny and insert Lincoln’s head facing down. If his head disappears into the ribs (tire groove) than you have sufficient tread, if it doesn’t, it may be time to replace your tires.
- When to Refuel. It can be dangerous to run out of gas in an unfamiliar part of town. Try to keep the gas tank half full and know how many miles you have left in the tank when the gas light pops on.
- Regularly Check Headlights/Blinkers/Taillights. Enlist a friend to be certain all of your lights are working, so you are safe on the road and won’t be pulled over and given a ticket.
Knowing your vehicle is the first step in driving safely. With a little effort and commitment, it doesn’t take long to feel more confident behind the wheel.