If you’ve just turned 16 and gotten your first car, or if you’ve left a large city and had to buy a car because you no longer have access to public transportation, you may not know exactly what to expect. It’s one thing to know how to drive a car, but it’s quite another to know all of the things that come with owning a car. Here are five things that all car owners need to know in order to handle emergencies or keep their cars running longer.
Know How to Change a Tire This one is pretty basic, but many people simply don’t know how to change a tire. Blowouts or punctures due to over- or under-inflated tires happen all the time, sometimes far from the nearest gas station or towing company. Changing a tire is fairly simple if you know how to use a jack. Find a smooth, well-lit area. Set your parking brake, and then jack up the car. You’ll need to have a lug wrench on hand to remove the nuts from the tire. Remove the tire, place the spare on the axle, and re-attach the lug nuts. Make certain they’re tight. Know How to Check Your Tire’s Air Pressure To avoid a blowout in the first place, make certain your tires are always at the optimum air pressure. You can buy a inexpensive tire pressure gauge at any auto store. Check the pressure when the tires are cool–before driving or an hour after driving. You can adjust the air pressure at most gas stations for free. Know How to Use Your Jumper Cables If your car won’t start, it may simply need to be jumped. To do so, you’ll need a set up jumper cables and another car. Jumper cables are usually color coded–one set of clamps are red, one black. Know which goes to the positive pole (the red) and which goes to the negative (the black). Also know which pole is which on your battery (they should be marked). Know How to Check Your Oil, Water, and Other Necessary Fluids There are various fluids that your car’s engine requires. You should know how to check all of them. Oil, coolant, transmission fluid, water, antifreeze…all of these can be checked pretty easily. You should know how to measure each and know when each is low. If you do see that one of your fluids is low, you’ll need to know how to refill it. You’ll need to know what oil and other fluids your car takes, too. It’s also important to carry extra water during the hot months (or every month here in the Tempe area!) since your car may run out more quickly than at other times. Know How to Get Help If you have a roadside assistance program through your insurance or a program like AAA, be sure you know how to contact them. You should have the phone number programmed into your cell phone or stored in your glove box. If you have a service such as OnStar, be sure you know how to activate it. These services do you no good if you don’t know how to use them in an emergency.
Todays’s excellent car maintenance suggestions are brought to be the good folks over at CarFax. Today they offer some great tips on how to keep your car running well. Vehicle maintenance is an ongoing endeavor and may cause you a fair amount of headaches. With all of the things going on in our lives, thinking about our car’s next oil change is the last thing we want to worry about. But to keep our cars on the road in reliable and safe driving condition…we have to take care of our cars.
There are treasure troves of automobile history and majesty located all over the US, both personal and public. One great one is the Petersen Automotive Museum Vault. Go deep inside The Vault with Car & Driver contributing editor Csaba Csere in the first of a two part series to show you some of the most important cars in automotive history. Check out the cars in today’s video: 1885 Benz (Replica) 1912 De Dion Bouton 1967 Ford GT40 MK III 1955 Ford Thunderbird 1955 Porsche (356) Continental 1967 Dodge Coronet 1967 Toyota 2000GT Foose Sniper 1925 Ford Golden Star 1952 Ferrari 212/225 Barchetta 1929 DuPont Model G 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1939 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante