- Car Care & Maintenance
What Every Woman Motorist Should Know
♦Better prepared than sorry
Regardless of one's gender, as a motorist, one is bound to experience a vehicular break down (flat tire, stalled engine, dead battery, defective fan belt, broken alternator belt, etc.) sooner or later. An adequate response to such foreseen mechanical event depends on the depth of knowledge and level of preparation. Why the title of the article ( What every woman motorist should know)?
Because, when confronted with this eventuality, women are the most vulnerable, not for lack of brain power, but for lack of brawniness (physical strength). Armed with the pertinent and pragmatic knowledge, a woman is able to fend for herself, rise to the occasion and does not have to rely on a helping hand unless absolutely necessary. This hub is filled with practical tips, techniques and advices* to help you rise to the occasion should the need arise. Please take time out of your busy schedule to watch the videos, for they are very educative, instructive, informative and illustrative.
1.- Always carry a charged cell phone. To find out how to keep your cell phone charged at all times, read: How to charge your cell phone for free and $ave money
2.- Always carry a set of spare car keys on your person as a remedy to eventual inadvertent self lock out. Carry the key(s) in your pocket or purse (Do not part with your purse, for it can be locked in while you are out). Further more, remember Onstar and the likes cannot rescue you (unlock your car remotely) if the car's battery is dead, which takes us to number 3.
3.- Always carry a Charged Portable Jump Starter for its versatility and roadside emergencies .
♦Portable Jump Starter
A good and reliable Jump Starter has the following features:
A sealed, non-spillable battery with relatively high ampere-hour (30 or less) and LED charge level indicator
An air compressor, with pressure gauge, inflates a deflated tire, or deflates an overinflated tire.
A Charged Jump Starter, with cables and reverse polarity detection and protection, jump starts your car in the event of a dead battery, no need to wait for strangers to ask for a booster, which could jeopardize your safety, should you come across an unsavory character.
- DC power sockets/USB power source
12V DC power sockets or USB power source, with protection and circuit breaker(s), are essential for powering and charging 12V devices, such as cell phones, smart phones, iPhones, fans, iPods, iPads, radios, computers, MP3 players, etc.
An inverter, with three-pronged socket(s) and overload protection, converts DC current to AC current and is used to power on demand 120V (or 240V, if inverter is so specified) devices, such as laptops, netbooks, cell phones, television, power tools, small appliances, etc.
- AM/FM Radio
To tune in the news, music (no matter what, girls just want to have fun!), emergency and inclement weather broadcasts.
- Emergency Light
A built-in emergency light/flasher to overcome and forever vanquish the forces of darkness. Let there be light!
A Portable Jump Starter can be recharged at home (AC Power), in your car's DC socket, with a solar panel or hand crank (if portable jump starter is so equipped).
♦Very Romantic Gifts
Unlike flowers, whose freshness lasts as long as a juicy romantic kiss, the following gifts, in addition to flowers (of course), lingerie and dark chocolate (if your are not allergic to it), are practical, sustainable, durable, and- frankly- very sexy for your honey(LOL):
- AAA Membership (www.aaa.com),
- Cell Phones with home and/or car chargers, or a combination thereof,
- Jump Starters,
- Spare reading glasses (if needed), etc.
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of all VRGs (Very Romantic Gifts). Let your pragmatic imagination run wild, and your romantic instinct be your guide.
♦Extra Jumper or Booster Cables
Extra Jumper or Booster Cables are used as jump-start backup (from a good Samaritan) in the event of a discharged Portable Jump Starter (keep your Portable Jump Starter charged at all times to avoid being stranded).
There are 2 types of Jumper Cables:
- Very sexy Compact Cables
(cigarette lighter -to- cigarette lighter 12V outlet connection) with
small gauge wires (slower charge rate, longer to jump-start). Functional
cigarette lighter socket(s) with inline fuse required.
- Very macho Bulky Jumper Cables (car battery post(+ red) and ground chassis(-)[charged battery] -to- car battery posts(+red)(-black)[dead or discharged battery] connection) with large gauge wires (faster charge rate, jump-start in almost no time). My favorite.
Jumper Cables Gauges and their meaning
Booster Cables Lenght (Feet)
Crème de la crème, Top-notch
How to jump start a car
♦Hand-crank Rechargeable Flashlight
A Hand-crank Rechargeable Flashlight is a reliable backup for a completely discharged Portable Jump Starter (no light).
A good Hand-crank Rechargeable Flashlight sports the following features:
- Hand-crank (obviously) and lifetime rechargeable battery; can be recharged at home, in your car, with a solar panel or hand-crank (obviously. Again!).
- Flashing Emergency LED lights (LED: Light Emitting Diodes).
- AM/FM scanning radio and siren, and
- Cell Phone Charger (Cell Phone Adapters needed and may be sold separately).
♦Chain or Rope
- A chain or rope
is needed to tow away or pull a stalled or stuck vehicle due to
inclement weather (snow, ice, rain or sleet) or treacherous road conditions,
potholes, mud, etc. By carrying a rope or chain on board, you make easier for
a good Samaritan to help you. Please read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to safely tow a car with a rope or chain.
- Tire Chains.- If
you drive a FWD (Front Wheel Drive) , RWD (Rear Wheel Drive) or even a
4WD (4 Wheel Drive) or AWD (All Wheel Drive) vehicle, depending on the
severity of the inclement weather (snowstorm, blizzard, etc.), Tire Chains
may be necessary for maximum traction and minimal break distance and
skidding. Buy easy to install and uninstall
tire chains with carrying case. Please read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
How to install and uninstall cable tire chains
- Tires should have the right amount of tread for traction and be properly inflated for safety, handling, durability, a smooth and stable ride, and to save money on fuel. Tire pressure should be checked every month.
- To inflate or deflate a tire, use your Jump Starter's compressor (or the tip of a pen to deflate). If you want to carry and extra mechanical or digital tire gauge in your car, that's fine; but bear in mind that the compressor has already a built-in tire gauge. Tires should be inflated according to manufacturer's specifications with respect to PSI (Pound per Square Inch). The specifications are on the tire's sidewall and the car's door pillar (driver's side). As for tire PSI, please abide by the car manufacturer's recommendations on the door jam or pillar (driver's side) or owner's manual. Please read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
In the event of a flat tire, a Lug Wrench is a necessary and indispensable tool to loosen and remove lug nuts (tire removal), to screw and tighten lug nuts (after tire replacement). There are 3 types of Lug Wrenches:
- 4-Way Lug Wrench (of varying length) with double handles for maximum torque application to stubborn lug nuts, with metric (17, 19, 21and 22mm) and standard sockets to fit most metric and standard (3/4, 13/16 and 7/8in) lug nuts
- The traditional L-shaped or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Wheel Lug Wrench, which, at times, falls short of expectation because of its relative short length, and the
- Extendable Lug Wrench.- Sometimes an overtightened lug nut will not easily succumb or yield to the maximum applied torque (ft/lbs) of a 4-Way Lug Wrench or the traditional OEM Wheel Lug Wrench, at which point it is time to rally the "troops" (I mean the "tools". Let's not go to war over a stubborn lug nut [LOL!].) and bring in the big gun (leverage) to loosen that stubborn lug nut and get the job done: The Heavy Duty Telescopic Power Lug Wrench.
♦Wheel and Tire Chocks
When a flat tire is experienced and needs to be replaced, or if a car must be jacked up for any reason, it is always recommended, for safety sake, to apply good and sound mechanical practices. Before a car is jacked up, it must be:
- Brought to a level street, field or surface;
- Emergency brakes applied, and last but not least,
- Wheel chokes placed under the front or rear wheels or tires, to prevent the vehicle from rolling.
How to check tire pressure and inflate tires
How to change a tire
How to change a flat tire- Step by step process
How to prepare for a road trip
A car, without a jack when a flat tire is experienced and must be replaced, is like a disabled deprived of crutches when they are needed most. Jacks come in a variety of sizes, shapes and tonnages, but for the purpose of this article, the scope and variety of jacks is limited to: Scissor, Hydraulic (bottle and floor jacks) and Electric.
While Scissor and Hydraulic Jacks require the manipulation of handles to raise and lower the car, Electric Jacks use the car's cigarette lighter or battery to do the same. It is, therefore, my favorite for female motorist. Watch the video.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have not used the Electric Jack before and cannot, therefore, vouch for its performance and reliability. If anyone has, please leave some feedback. To err on the side of safety, please carry the car's original jack along with the Electric Jack.
2-Ton Torin Scissor Jack
2-Ton Arcan Aluminum Quick Lift Service Jack
12V Electric Car Jack operation
For safety's sake, Jack and Jack Stands go hand in hand. It is always recommended to secure a raised (jacked up) vehicle with a Jack Stand as an additional layer of safety.
♦Shovel, Snow Brush and Ice Scraper
Given the frequency of snowfalls nowadays (blame it on La Niña), failure, by any motorist, to carry a Snow Shovel to clear tire tracks and paths, would be shortsighted. Ditto for Snow Brush and Ice Scraper.
I prefer Telescopic (Collapsible) Snow Shovel and Snow Brush/Ice Scraper for their compactness and relatively small space occupancy.
Collapsible Shovel with Scraper
Nuline Telescopic Snow Brush/Ice Scraper
A fire extinguisher is an important piece of the safety puzzle. Fire Extinguishers come in different classes: A, B, C, and D. For the purpose of this article, our choice of fire extinguisher is limited to classes B and C. The former is suitable for liquids and gases fires; the ladder for energized electrical equipment, wiring, circuit breakers, outlets and appliances. Instructions (how to use) should be clearly labeled and illustrated. Buy a Fire Auto Extinguisher with easy- to-read gauge and an easy-to-pull safety pin (time is of the essence). A good fire extinguisher is compatible to both classes B and C. Read the instructions before an emergency arises, and be mindful of your safety if an imminent explosion is life-threatening. If you are not up to the task, leave it to the experts, i.e. firefighters. Do not jeopardize yourself.
It is always reassuring to carry a basic mechanic tools on board to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts, battery terminals, a loose belts, etc. Just because the tools are basic, one should not compromise on quality. It is pointless to carry poor quality tools, which prove useless when they are needed most. Buy brand name tools.
The time to fill up your tank (or charge your electric car) is not during an emergency. If you commute to work, fill up from work when it is less hectic (unless the price of fuel is cheaper on your way to than from work). Make it a point for your car to always have half to a full tank of gas. To find out where to buy cheap gas, read: "What to look for when buying or leasing a car"
In case your car runs out of gas, a portable fuel tank comes in handy. Carry one on board.
Take a First Aid class or course at your nearest Red Cross or the like. Knowing what to do and/or not to do in the event of an emergency/accident can make a difference between life and death. Have a First Aid Kit (learn how to use it first!) on board.
♦Snacks, Water, Clothing, Paper Towel and Sanitary Napkins
Snacks.- If stranded and hungry, you don't want to fall into hypoglycemia (consult your doctor) and need something to munch on. A healthy snack on board will save the day and keep the kid(s) (or the kid in you) happy.
Water.- You can live without food for a while, but can't live without water. With water you can extinguish a fire, wash your hands, quench your thirst, etc. Make it a habit to carry bottled water in your car.
Clothing.- Wear appropriate clothing (embedded reflector strips in clothes and sneakers let you be seen by oncoming traffic, in relative darkness, for your safety), especially in cold weather or when snowing, to protect yourself from frostbites and hypothermia, while waiting for help, if stranded.
Paper Towel.- For cleaning, drying hands, and wiping spills.
Sanitary Napkins.- For feminine needs.
The bottom line is to learn how to:
- Install and uninstall cable tire chains
- Inflate and deflate a tire
- Replace a flat tire
- Safely jack up a car and support it with jack stand(s)
- Jump start a car with a jump starter and/or booster cables
- Use a fire extinguiser
- Use a snow brush/ice scraper
- Shovel the snow (Consult your physician prior to shoveling the snow. Are you physically fit or not?)
- Tow a car and/or be towed with a rope or chain
- Administer first aid, and
- What to do in the event of an emergency prior to the eventual occurrence. On the job (emergency) training is not an option. Learn how to do "stuff" before the need arises.
To find out which car I think is women-friendly, stay tuned for my upcoming article: "My favorite..."
We value your opinion. Please feel free to rate (useful, funny, awesome or beautiful) the article, vote it up or up (forget about down, LOL!) and leave a comment.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
* Expert help and advice should be sought when necessary, especially if one is not handy or up to the task at hand.
* Every attempt and effort has been made to convey accurate information, to the extent possible. Under no circumstances can the author be held liable or accountable for inaccuracies, if any. Readers are advised to do their own due diligence.
Any and all cited brands, trademarks, registered trademarks or trade names are the property of their respective owners.