Whether you've been driving for 2 months or 20 years, there are a few good things you should know about your car. It's not just for show, sometimes the difference between a well-maintained car and a poorly maintained one is an accident. Better upkeep, better performance. Question now is, do you know how to do all of these car things?
How to check tyre pressure
First, you should know what the optimum pressure for your front and rear tyres are. Some cars have a warning on the driver side door, others in the manual. It may not seem like a big deal but driving with under or over inflated tyres puts you in unnecessary danger. If you don't trust that you have a feel for it yet, get a tyre pressure gauge and press onto the inflation nipple. Make sure the pressure is within the suggested pressure range to help save you on the frequent need of tyre changes and optimise fuel economy.
How to change a tyre
No matter how careful you are, this is inevitable. It may sound like a load of hard work at first but it is quite easy to fix once you get the hang of it. Make sure to always bring a tool kit and a spare. Find the jack point underneath, lift your baby up, start twisting those nuts off, and replace your flat with a spare tyre. Tighten the lug nuts on and you're good.
How to check all your fluid levels
Learning how to change your car oil or radiator fluid, takes patience, practice, and skill. However, learning how to check for these are fairly simple and are a MUST-KNOW so you know when to bring your vehicle to the auto shop. Remember that everything from your motor to transmission to your brakes, to your radiator, as most of your engine needs fluids. Here's a quick guide to help you figure out how to check the fluids in your car.
How to jump-start your car battery
Apart from the usual wrenches in your toolkit, you should also keep a pair of jumper cables in your trunk. Whether it's for you or to help someone in need somewhere along the way, you never really know when it'll come in handy. Start with turning off both cars. Attach each of the red clamps to the positive (+) terminals and the black clamps to the negative (-) terminals of the dead battery and live battery. Attach the final black clamp to an unpainted metal surface on the dead car's engine block, away from the battery. Turn on the live car, then try to start the dead car. If it works, remember to keep the dead car running for at least half an hour to charge the battery back up.
Keep a maintenance log
"Did I change my motor oil last year?" is not a question you'd want to ever ask yourself. Writing down what's been done to your car takes less than five minutes. Tape a piece of duct tape somewhere in the engine bay so you know when fluid checks have been made. If you're really organised, create a pretty logbook for every time you or your mechanic performs maintenance on your car. This way, you can keep track of maintenance things that still need to get done and troubleshoot your car better.
Whether it's the first car you ever bought or the third one you got on car finance, maintaining your vehicle shouldn't mean being in the repair shop every week. Remember that basic car skills can save you loads of money, keep you from being ripped off, and help you keep your vehicle in pristine condition.
This is part one of the article series. You can check out Part 2 here: Car Things You Should Know By Now Part 2.