There’s a lot of information in this article about how to take care of your car, and not all of it will apply to you. But as a car owner and driver, there are some things you need to know and some things you need to have with any vehicle you drive. Here are the things I, your mechanic, your emergency roadside service, your tyre dealer, and your friend who is good with cars want you to know when driving any vehicle. The rest is optional reading.
1. KNOW WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
You may have the best roadside service or automatic call-in on the planet, but it takes time for emergency and roadside help to arrive. You need to be able to secure yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle from harm.
2. UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR SAFETY SYSTEMS WORK
Car manufacturers are always improving the safety of their vehicles by adding features such as automatic braking and warning sounds to alert you if you drift out of your lane or if there is something in your blind spot. These features can be very helpful, but if you aren’t aware of them or don’t know how they work, they can cause panic or confusion when they engage. Familiarize yourself with your car’s safety features so you know what to expect.
It’s also important to know how passenger restraint systems, like seat belts and airbags, work in your particular car. Height and distance restrictions are very important, especially for children.
3. CARRY YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL
The owner’s manual contains a lot of information about your specific vehicle and what to do in emergency situations. Used cars may not always come with an owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, check with your dealer or go online and get one.
4. KNOW HOW TO INSPECT, MAINTAIN, AND CHANGE YOUR TYRES
Carry a tyre pressure gauge and inspect your tires regularly for signs of wear. Maintaining the correct air pressure will save fuel and prevent unnecessary wear. Regular inspections will alert you to any potential problems.
Even if you never have to change your own tyre, you should know how to do it correctly and have the necessary equipment in your car. You need to know where your spare is located and how to get it out. The location of the spare may make it challenging to remove, so check to see if you are capable of removing it and changing it yourself. If you buy a used car, make sure the spare is in good condition, and be sure you have a jack and jack wrench in the car.
5. KNOW HOW TO CHECK THE FLUIDS IN YOUR CAR
Most people don’t check their fluids as frequently as they should. Like checking your tires, checking your fluids can prevent problems down the road.
6. KNOW HOW TO CHECK AND REPLACE FUSES
Consult your owner’s manual so you know where to look if you have to change a fuse. Newer cars typically have two fuse boxes: one for high-power circuits and another for low-power circuits.
7. KNOW HOW TO CHECK COMPUTER CODES
Your car can tell you more about itself than I can. If your car doesn’t show you the codes on your computer display, know how to use a scanner and read the computer error codes. This way, you know if the repair guy is being honest with you, and whether or not the problem with your car is serious.
8. KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY JUMP-START YOUR VEHICLE
As with changing a tire, you may never do this, but you need to know how to do it on your car. The battery isn’t always in a convenient location, and it’s easy to damage the electrical system if the car is jump-started incorrectly.
9. KNOW HOW TO FUEL YOUR CAR
There are a lot of fuels available today: gasoline, E-85, methanol blends, biofuels, and high and low octane. Not all fuels are compatible with all vehicles. Check your owner’s manual to see what kind of fuel your car is designed to use.
10. OWN A SHOP MANUAL
For those who own an older car, plan on keeping their car for a long time, or simply can’t afford to take it to a professional, a shop manual is essential. Even if you never open it yourself, if you ask for help or advice from a friend who is good with cars, it is the first thing your helper will ask you to