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The Stressful Truth About Car Maintenance: 5 Things to Keep in Mind While Driving

Updated on May 26, 2012
janikon profile image

Stuart has spent three years trying to convince his boyfriend he is not hiding books under their bed and they are certainly not multiplying.

Someone in this photo is angry at another someone, and they are both driving
Someone in this photo is angry at another someone, and they are both driving | Source

I think I have always been in love with the idea of driving; the allure of taking to the open road is a hard one to turn your back on. There has always been something romanticized surrounding the idea of taking a long road-trip with friends. So, whether you have chosen to drive across North America or renting a car and driving through the European landscape, those moments are sewn together by the freedom an automobile offers.

I couldn't help but fall in love with the idea of driving through the desert after seeing Tara Maclean's, music video, 'If I Fall'. When I announced my intent to learn how to drive, my parents were thrilled, and I took it upon myself to learn whatever I thought I needed to know about cars. I read the driving manual, I skimmed both my parents automobile owners manuals and flipped through my uncle's encyclopedia of car repair. So, when it came to driving, I could not wait to start ... until I actually got behind the wheel.

It was horrible. I hated driving.

The whole affair of manning a two thousand pound death machine was far too stressful, not to mention the pyschotic pedestrians and other angry drivers. I figured out very quickly that I would rather drive in the middle of the night on an empty road, in the middle of nowhere, because it would be nice not to be flipped off by an elderly woman.

Just because I hate driving doesn't mean I can't impart some knowledge on my fellow hubbers.

This looks like the car wash by my house, but it's not.
This looks like the car wash by my house, but it's not. | Source

1. Getting Your Car Washed

Did you know nearly $24 billion a year is spent on avoiding car corrosion? Unfortunately, we, as the consumers, are the ones who end up absorbing that cost, at some point. Where we are subjected to a myriad of different commercials reminding us environmental elements are slowly sucking the youth out of our skin but there are few commercials reminding us about maintaining our automobiles. So, while we are out buying four hundred and sixteen different anti-aging cremes, our car sits in the pharmacy parking lot, rusting. Our automobiles are subjected to environmental elements, such as:

  • sun
  • acid rain
  • dead bugs
  • road grease
  • mud
  • dirt, pebbles and tiny rocks
  • salt

All of these elements slowly begin to eat away at your cars metal frame, chrome detailing and paint job, over time. I can't think of anything more depressing than seeing a dirty car driving around the city, especially when it looks like the last time it saw the inside of carwash it was still on the lot. It's almost shocking how something as simple as taking fifteen minutes to drive through a full-service carwash, or paying your teenager to wash your car on the weekend, is so frequently overlooked. Nothing depreciates the value of your car quicker than a rusting bumper and a chipped paint job.

Set aside a few dollars a month ($10 - $20) and give your car a good wash. Though, for the environmentally conscious, it would be better if you went to a professional self-serve or full-serve car wash since their drainage pipes directly to a water cleaning plants (or state-approved drainage facilities), whereas washing your car at home washes the chemicals, soaps and dirt into storm drains. It should also be noted that while you, washing your car at home, can use up to 300 gallons of water for an hour long cleaning, a professional full-service car wash only used 32 gallons.

So, while George and Martha drive around in the rust-mobile, you can feel secure in the fact your car still looks great, can be sold for market-value and you're not slowly destroying the environment by wasting water.

How to Fill Windshield Washer Fluid

2. Refill Window Washer Fluid

If I have learned one thing from being a passenger while being driven along the highway is the importance of window washer fluid. Nothing would be worse than having an accident because you're distracted by something splattered across your windshield, ie:

  • bugs
  • dirt/dust
  • sleet

I don't think anyone could live comfortably in their afterlife knowing a wayward dragonfly was the cause of their fiery death. Because if I have learned anything from movies, when perishing in a car, it's going to explode just before rescue workers arrive on scene. To avoid such a horrible tragedy you should always have your tank full of windshield washer fluid and a spare container in your trunk, for long journeys.

Not sure how? Unplug your laptop, head outside with it and follow along with this four easy steps:

  1. Open the hood of your car making sure to firmly secure it in place, this will avoid the hood falling and pinning you to the engine. This is not only comical for bystanders but dangerous for you, so safety first folks.
  2. Locate your fluid tank. It is often the smokey-white tank, about a gallon in size, with a plastic lid (sometimes it is a snap-lid). There are some which have the words 'washer fluid only' or have a picture of the actual windshield embedded on the actual tank.
  3. Pour the replacement fluid in the tank. Do not overfill the tank. If you are filling the tank in the summer than you can fill it to the top but if you are filling it in the winter, it's advised you leave a 1/4 of the tank empty to allow for expansion.
  4. Replace the cap and the close your car hood.
  5. Turn those window wipers on and experience the fruits of your labor, invite your friends over to celebrate.

3. Changing Your Windshield Wiper Blades

4. Tire Rotation or Rotating Tires

This is an important one because it ensures even tire wear, this is desirable to maintain consistent performance of your automobile and extends the life of your tires.

5. Changing the Oil

Overtime, the oil in your car undergoes a thermal breakdown (which means it gets thinner and more watery) due to high temperatures, which makes oil less effective as a lubricant. Without the lubricant the engine parts start to rub together and wear away. This can not only be dangerous but also overtime will depreciate the value of your automobile, the repairs will come with a hefty price-tag once the issue gets out of hand.

It is recommended that you replace your engine oil every three months to maintain a healthy car. Though it can be cheaper to change the oil yourself it is always recommended you have a professional do it for you, to avoid oil burns.

So, whether or not I actually end up enjoying driving, I can be assured I will be driving a spotlessly clean, well-oiled and beautifully maintained automobile. I'm assured that single fact will be put on my tombstone, when I die in a fiery car wreck ... caused by someone else, of course.


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    • hisandhers profile image

      hisandhers 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      I never even considered the ramifications of your first point- that washing your car at home can actually wash harmful chemicals down storm drains ill-equipped to deal with overflow from washing your car. Point taken!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      great article the little comment at the end was a nice finisher.