Sure, you can pay someone to change your oil but you should know how to check it yourself. It’s really easy. Pop open the hood of your car and locate the dipstick on your engine block. Pull it out and first wipe off the oil on the stick. Then push it all the way back in, and pull it back out. Check the level to see how far the oil is up on the stick and you will know whether or not you need an oil change.
You rarely see a standard transmission car anymore but it is good to know how to drive one just in case. What if something happens and the only mode of transportation is a stick shift? You may as well learn how to do it. You never ever know when that skill will come in handy one day.
Sure we know the usuals: insurance, registration and user manual. But you should also have all of the roadside assistance information if you have it. You should also keep a flashlight, a screwdriver and a first aid kit in there as well.
If it is raining or snowing, your brakes can lock-up and you can find yourself in a bad situation. You may start to skid and feel out of control. If this happens, lift off the brake pedal to allow the wheels to freely rotate. Then press down to slow the car and repeat this process until you come to a stop. If you have anti-lock brakes you can just stomp and stay. Stomp and stay. But don’t just panic and slam on the brakes.
If you find yourself in heavy rain or snow, it is good to know how to maintain traction. Keep a light foot and don’t be too heavy on the pedal. Sudden acceleration can cause you to lose control. If you are using a manual transmission, it’s also good to get in a higher gear.
While parallel parking may have been on your driver’s test, you may not have had to use this skill in a while. In any major city it is important that you know how to parallel park. Make sure you pull up to the rearview mirror of the car in front of the spot you want. Then slowly reverse and cut the wheel about halfway down the midsection of the other car. Keep going slowly and cut the wheel to the left once you feel like you have enough room between you and the car ahead. Then adjust and you are in! Or just buy a car with a backup camera. That works too.
If you get stuck in the snow, try driving forwards and backwards to get a snow free area under your tires. This will help you gain some traction. Do not just gun it because that will dig you in a deeper hole. If you are able to, use a rubber mat, some cardboard or kitty litter (yea, kitty litter) under the tires to help gain some traction.
You don’t have to let it sit for 10 minutes like you grandfather used to but give it a minute before you immediately take off. Your engine oil needs to get moving before you gun it. Get in the car, take a breath, let you car take a breath and go.
First off all, you should always pass on the left. That is number one rule. If you are in the left lane, you should only be in the left lane to pass other cars and then you should move back over. If people have to pass you when you are in the left lane than you are officially that guy. You don’t want to be that guy.
Cars need more than just gasoline to keep it running. Radiators need coolant, the windshield wipers need liquid, your transmission, brakes and air conditioner all need fluid to run properly. Check your manual to see where the filling locations are and make sure they that are all filled up properly.
We have all been there. You go to turn on your car and … nothing. The battery is dead. You should always have a pair of jumper cables in your trunk. Turn off both cars, then start with the dead battery. Put a red clamp on the positive and then do the same for working battery. Then put the black clamp on the negative for the working battery and attach the black clamp to the surface of the dead car’s engine block. Turn on the working car and try to start the dead car. Then you need to run the dead car for at least a half an hour to charge the battery backup. Don’t forget!
If you are old enough to be able to drive, than you are old enough to know how to change your own tire. It’s easy to do, but takes a little elbow grease. Make sure you know where the tool kit is located. Find the jack underneath and crank it up. Then you have to take the lug nuts off and then tighten them back on the new tire in a star pattern and you should be good to go.
This is another thing that is extremely easy once you know how to do it. Buy a tire-pressure gauge. Some gas stations have one but others may not, so it’s good to have your own just in case you are ever in a pinch. Quickly press it into the inflation tube and see what the pressure gauge reads. There should be a sticker on the inside of the door of your car that tells you the optimum pressure for the front and rear tires. Fill it up to the correct pressure and you are good to go!
If you have a crescent wrench, you should be able to do this on your own. Buy a new pair of headlights, even if only one headlight is out. Even if only one is out, you should replace both at the same time so they are equally as bright. Read the directions on the box, but this should only take a few minutes and it will save you some money by doing it yourself.
Before you just go into a mechanic with a blank stare and say “Bad car. Help me.” Do a little research. Come in with suggestions of what the problem may be. Give details. It will take them much longer to diagnose the problem if you give them nothing to work with. Use your words and Google is your friend!