Cars: they’re mysterious things, especially to the uninitiated. There are over 30,000 parts in them, and it’s hard to know where to start learning about them. However, there are a few things that are very important for everyone, especially new drivers, to know about their vehicles.
Change the spare tire
There’s nothing worse than getting a puncture. But it’s easy enough to change your spare tyre; your car should come with the necessary tools, and it’s just a case of making sure that you attach it properly. Of course, you should always make sure that your spare tire is roadworthy.
Check your oil
If your car is running out of oil, it can cause serious problems to the engine. To stop that from happening, you should know where your dipstick is, and how to check it. It’s worth making sure that you dip your oil every month or so. That way, you can avoid it getting too low, and add more if needed. Just make sure the car is on a level surface when you do. If you’re just starting driving lessons and you don’t know where everything is, check it out the next time your instructor takes you for a lesson.
Tires will lose pressure over time, so it’s best to check them regularly. The optimal tire pressures should be printed on the rubber itself, so it’s just a case of making sure that you have a pressure gauge, and something with which to inflate them. Foot pumps are cheap, and take up little space, so are a very helpful thing to keep in your boot.
What the engine is saying to you
A lot of people drive their first cars exactly as they did their instructor’s car, which isn’t always good. Cars are all built differently, so driving a 1 litre petrol car like you would a 1.6l diesel isn’t a good idea. Make sure that you’re in the right gear to keep the revs, engine wear, and fuel consumption to a minimum. If the car is struggling to accelerate properly, that is a very big hint that you’re in the wrong gear. The engine note, and the car’s performance, should tell you everything you need to know.
How to jump-start your battery
If your battery has gone flat, then it’s important to know how to get more power into it, with jump leads and someone else’s battery. Scary as it can look, it’s easy enough to jump-start a battery, as long as you follow the instructions and have the right equipment. As long as you make sure to attach the wires to the right poles, and attach the last wire to a bare metal surface on your car, it should be plain sailing to recharge your battery.
Whilst some things, like installing new clutches and changing belts, are best left to professionals, if you make sure that you know a few basic things about your car, then you can minimise the need to visit expensive mechanics.