Things That Every Car Owner Should Know
Don't let your lack of knowledge impede your ability to have a great car!
The worst thing about having a car is dishing out cash on repairs. Wouldn't it be great if there was some way to keep these repairs from being so frequent and costly? There is! Knowing a handful of useful tips will keep your car running and looking fantastic. Of course, there's always going to be things that need repair on your car, but why not keep that to a minimum?
Keeping Your Car Running Efficiently
Small but useful tips to keep your car's insides working to save you money and time
- Get the oil changed every 3000-5000 miles. Check your oil regularly and if you find you are burning oil too quickly, it means you have a leak and should have it repaired immediately before it causes further damage.
- Check air pressure in tires regularly. This is best done when the tires are warm. You can find the optimum PSI located on the side of the driver's side door. Keeping adequate pressure in your tires is important for safety will actually improve your MPG.
- Check your windshield wipers for wear every season. Worn blades can pose a serious safety hazard. Don't wait to be in a blinding downpour to find out they are falling apart.
- Do not let the gas get below one quarter of a tank. I know I hate to pump gas, but this will max the life of your fuel pump. Believe me when I say that gas may be expensive, but replacing the fuel pump is going to dig into your pocket even more!
- Your brake squealers will let you know when it is time to replace pads. If you car makes a noise when you brake, it's time to replace. This is fairly inexpensive, as long as you don't let it go too long without repair. If you let the brakes squeal for longer than necessary, you will have to have the rotors replaced which is not such a cheap repair.
How well do you know your stuff?
Let's say you are driving on the freeway and suddenly brake lights are all you see. Uh-oh, traffic jam. As you slow down and realize you will not be going anywhere for a while. (You see flashing lights ahead, and you know that rubber-neckers will delay your arrival home by at least an hour.) At the mercy of gridlock, you try to calm down, scan the radio, and adjust your mirror in hopes of passing time. You scan the gauges and realize that your car's temperature is rising all too quickly! You know that your car is definitely about to over-heat. What do you do?
Mini Car Quiz
Car Quiz Answers
How'd you do?
If you picked the first option, you were about to waste a lot of time and probably a lot of money to alleviate an issue that could have been avoided with a little basic car knowledge.
If you picked the second or forth option, you should consider joining a codependency meeting group. Cars can't speak and tell you what's going wrong, so you need to learn how to listen to it's cues and react accordingly.
If you chose the third option, you are correct! When the car is idling or barely moving, the motor can overheat and turning the heater on high while you are going at a snails pace will cool it down. You don't want to wait to do this because once it gets too hot the damage is done. Believe me, I know how much this option sucks sometimes... imagine sitting in traffic with the heater on at the peak of a very humid Florida weather! Not fun at all, but at least my car is still running!
Remember this anytime you notice an unfamiliar sound get it examined. Some of those noises create more noises that are so costly you could be left waiting for the bus!
Keeping up appearances
Regardless of what year your car is, you can make it look newer longer if you devote some time and elbow grease. If it is an older make, that is no excuse to leave it dirty. A clean car seems to drive better. Really!
It is a good idea to wash your car every two weeks. Try not to depend too much on a "self-car wash", as the high-pressure sprayers will slowly damage your cars finish, and you will not notice until the damage is done and it is too late.
Use a sheepskin mitt to wash it with soap intended for cars (this formula is not the same as dish soap). Always start at the top and work your way down. Rinse your mitt often as you will scratch you paint if you have any dirt on it.
When you wash your windows, rinse promptly to avoid the ever-dreaded spots! Also, if you rinse them with a fanned spray from the side instead of from the center of the glass, you will get a clear clean window. (What you should think about is the water rinsing the windows with a sheet of water. If you are causing spots with the water while you are rinsing, the pressure is up to high and spots are inevitable.) When done dry with a chamois.
Wax it at least twice a year. I recommend Meguiars products. I love their cleaner wax! It is even good to use in the bathroom on the sink and tub to keep it cleaner a little longer.
Vacuum thoroughly and do it often. Use a small broom when you vacuum to move the dirt easier. For the particles that are under your seat and in the awkward corners that the vacuum can't quite reach, use tape to remove it. Some quality packing tape or duct tape works great. Just put the tape sticky side down and press firmly remove the tape and voila! Clean! You can use the same piece of tape to get a few areas. When it is not picking up anymore toss it and get another piece if needed.
Remember: a clean car is a happy car!
Appearances aren't everything, but a clean car never hurts your image.
Essentials for every trunk
Make sure your trunk is stocked with these items at all times!
- Good spare tire and tire jack
- Jumper cables
- Umbrella and raincoat
- Basic tool kit
Get the trunk essentials here
Essentials for every glove box
Keep these handy in your glove box!
- Insurance card and registration in envelope
- Mace or pepperspray
- Disposable camera (for capturing damage should you get in an accident for insurance purposes)
Get the glove box essentials here
Did you learn anything from this lens? Is there any additional information that you would like to see added here?