Whether you grew up with a parent that taught you about cars or you had to learn from the internet, some things every car owner should know.
While you don’t need to be a mechanic, you’re not expected to change your oil or replace your wipers; you need to understand when your vehicle needs these things. Your car is a machine that requires regularly scheduled maintenance. Between the stops listed in the owner’s manual, you might need to have some additional work done. It’s good to understand how to recognize when some of these things are required.
Do You Know How to Check Your Oil?
Unless you drive an electric car or a BMW, checking your vehicle’s oil is relatively simple. Typically, when you open the engine bay, there are two items labeled as oil. One is usually a skinny handle, while the other appears to be a cap that you turn. The thin handle is the dipstick, and it’s where you check to make sure you have enough oil. With the engine cold, pull out the dipstick, wipe it off, put it back in, pull it out again, and look at the range for the oil. If the oil is in the field, you’re good; you need to add some if it’s low.
Where do You Add Oil to the Engine?
Remember that cap that says oil on it; that’s where you add oil to your engine. If you’re unsure what type of oil to add, you need to consult your owner’s manual. Sometimes it is listed on this cap. You don’t want to have too much fat. As long as it’s between the lines on the dipstick, you’re in good shape. This is undoubtedly something every car owner should know.
How do You Jump Start a Car?
You might forget to turn off your headlights or the cabin light in your car and come out to a dead battery in the morning. Do you know how to handle this problem? Without calling a tow truck or a mechanic, you should know how to do this. With a set of jumper cables and a friend with a running car, hook up the positive terminal of your dead battery to the positive terminal of their running battery. Next, do the same for the negative terminals, being careful not to touch any other part of the running car. After a few seconds, you should be able to start your vehicle.
Can you Check the Cooling System?
You don’t need to perform any maintenance during this process; simply check items to make sure they look ok. There should be coolant in the overflow reservoir, and it should not be brown. The hoses should look good and not swelled or chafed. If you see any of these warning signs, take your car to a mechanic and have your cooling system checked. This is one of those items every car owner should know about but not necessarily try and fix.
Do You Know How to Check Your Serpentine Belt?
The serpentine belt is one of the essential parts of your car. It connects many of the moving parts in the engine to make sure they continue to work together. You won’t want to tackle the job of replacing it unless you’re a mechanic, but you can check it. Do this while containing your oil. Look at the belt and make sure it doesn’t look frayed or cracked. If you see anything that doesn’t look right, you’ll want to take your car to a mechanic.
Can You Replace the Engine Air Filter?
Here’s a little secret, you should never pay a service station to replace your air filter. If they only charge you for the filter and not for the replacement, let them do it, but if not, you should do this yourself. This is something every car owner should know how to do. Typically, the engine air filter is in a box above the engine. This varies from car to car, but you open the box and replace the item.
When Should You Check Your Tire Pressure?
You’ve got to stop and fill your car up with gas regularly; make one of those stops each month when you check your tire pressure. Most stations have an air machine for you to use to put more air back in your tires. You have to remove the valve stem cap and put the gauge on end. Check the number and see if you need to add air. If so, use the machine, and then off you go.
Do You Know How to Change a Flat Tire?
Before you can change a flat tire to the donut, or small spare tire found in your car, you need to make sure you have this item and the necessary equipment to change a flat. If you have the essential equipment, you’ll find this is one of those easy items every car owner should know but never wants to have to do. Typically, there are printed instructions to jack up the car, remove the wheel, and replace it with a spare. Take your time and do the job right; you’ll have to drive down the road on that spare tire until you get a replacement.
Where Do You Add More Windshield Wiper Fluid?
The single fluid you’ll have to replace and refill the most often is your windshield wiper fluid. The liquid usually goes in a reservoir near the front on the vehicle’s passenger side. It’s likely to be marked, making it very easy to add more fluid when it gets low. Unfortunately, most of us don’t add more or check this fluid and only add it when it runs out.
Can You Replace Your Windshield Wipers?
It would help if you replaced your wipers in the spring and fall to ensure you have a fresh set for summer and winter. This is something that every car owner should know how to do, but if you’re not comfortable doing it, many service stations will handle the task. If you feel confident performing this task, there are simple clips that you release to take the old blade out and replace it with a new one. Stores that sell wiper blades typically have a book or kiosk to help you find the suitable blades for your car, making this task much easier than you might expect it to be.
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