Not everyone is passionate about cars. In fact, most people who drive on the road just use their vehicles for transport. Ask the average person what is the difference between a diesel turbocharger and diesel injectors and see what happens. Even so, there are still a few things that everyone behind the wheel should know about their car to make sure they stay safe and don’t endanger those around them. Here is a list of 10 things that every driver should know about their own car.
1 What side the fuel door is on – This is to prevent your frustration and everyone else at the gas station. There is usually an indicator on your dash that tells you which side your fuel door is located. Make a point to memorize it to prevent unnecessary hang ups at the pump.
2 When to replace wiper blades – if your wiper blades leave big streaks on your windshield when in use, making it difficult to see, replace the blades immediately. It is easy and you can switch them out yourself. If you’re unsure of how to do this, we covered it a few posts back here.
3 What the car’s driven wheels are – this is especially important if you live in an area with seasonally icy roads. If you have a two wheel drive car, you need to know whether it is front wheel or rear wheel drive so you know what tires to put your chains on. Always put the chains on the driven wheels.
4 Where the spare tire and jack are located – you never know when you’ll get a flat tire, so it’s important to be prepared. Take a minute to locate the spare tire and jack on your car, and learn how to use them. Go through a practice run of using the jack and taking off the tire if you need to. This will greatly reduce stress if you ever need to use them.
5 What the lights and gauges mean on the dash – the indicator lights on your dash are to help you maintain your vehicle properly. If you don’t know what the check engine light is, or what the indicator lights mean on your vehicle, you can potentially cause serious and irreparable damage which is always expensive. Take a minute to look at your owner’s manual and read what the indicator lights mean, so when they come on you can address them properly and promptly.
6 How to use jumper cables – If your car won’t start, there is a good chance it is because your battery is dead. This is usually caused by leaving your interior or headlights on overnight, or something similar. In order to start your car you’ll need jumper cables, and a willing partner with a good battery. Always keep a set of jumper cables in your car if your car doesn’t come with them, and read up on how to properly use them so you’re not stuck in a parking lot somewhere.
7 When the tires are worn out – We also covered this a few posts ago, but it’s so important it’s worth mentioning again. Driving around on bald tires is extremely dangerous – you have very little traction on the road with less stopping power, and having bald tires increases your chances of an accident. If you put a penny Lincoln’s head down between the tread and it doesn’t cover his head, you need to get new tires.
8 What the tire pressure should be – driving around with deflated tires affects your fuel economy and, in extreme situations, can cause your tires to blow out on the highway. Look in your owner’s manual for the correct tire pressure, and make sure your tires are properly inflated. You can fill up your tires at the gas station – they usually have a tire pressure gauge there for you to use. If they don’t, you can pick one up at any auto parts store for a dollar and keep it in your vehicle.
9 Where the oil is and how much should be in the car - you should also check the oil level in your car once in awhile, and if it’s low, put a quart of oil in. You can find the oil dipstick and the oil reservoir using your owner’s manual.
10 When the car should be serviced – Again, check your owner’s manual for recommended servicing intervals for your vehicle and stick to them. When you get your vehicle serviced, keep track of what date you had it serviced and how many miles you car had when you did. You can put this information in a small pocket calendar and keep it in your glovebox for reference. Check on it once in awhile to keep the servicing schedule of your car and keep it running great.
Arming yourself with this information will make you much safer on the road, and keep your vehicle running at peak condition. Make sure every driver in your family also knows this info so everyone is prepared and safe while driving.