Is that a new driver’s license you’re holding? Congratulations and welcome to the club! Now that you can drive your car without committing a felony, it’s high time you learned more about it! So, before you get your motor running and heading out on the highway, read on.
We’ve got the five basics all new drivers should know about their rides. These are some of the vital things you have to check on before driving out of your garage. Make this pre-departure check a habit and your car will serve you for a long time.
If your new car is a used car, it becomes important to know it’s history. You need to check if your vehicle had a recall in order to be confident of your purchase. To check the recall status of your vehicle you need to enter your VIN number. The VIN can be founded on the vehicle’s V5 certificate and on the vehicle itself. This is an important step to prevent a bad manufactured car.
2. Vehicle Fluids
Your car’s fluids are what helps keep it running like new. Aside from knowing where your vin number is, it’s vital that you learn where your car’s fluids are. You need to check the levels of the fluid containers to make sure your vehicle has enough. Add more when needed. Make sure to check:
- Brake fluid
- Engine oil
- Radiator coolant
- Power steering fluid
- Washer fluid
- Transmission fluid
3. Tire Pressure
Make it a point to always check your tires before heading out. Do a visual inspection to see if any of your wheels look flat. Invest in a tire gauge if you want a more accurate reading. Look for the tire pressure chart sticker usually found on the door jamb or check the owner’s manual.
Your tires must have the correct pressure so you can save on fuel and make your tires last longer. An under-inflated tire causes friction and wears out your tires because more rubber meets the road. The excess friction causes the tires to overheat and may lead to tread separation.
An over-inflated tire runs the opposite. Your tires meet less road surface that can cause braking issues and a bumpy ride. You may even hydroplane if your tire has too much air if the conditions are wet and you’re going too fast.
4. Engine Oil
The engine is the heart of your vehicle, and engine oil is the blood that keeps it pumping. Using the wrong type of oil grade and viscosity can lead to inadequate lubrication, which leads to reduced engine life.
Check your engine oil to see if you have enough of it and if it’s still usable. Golden brown and clear engine oil is fine, but if it turns dark or has any sort of deposits, it’s time for an oil change. If your car’s engine doesn’t have enough oil these things will destroy it:
- Oxidation – produces varnish and sludge
- Thermal degradation – makes lacquer and carbonaceous deposits
- Compressive heating – creates soot and tar
5. Spare Tire
When you get a flat tire (and you will), your spare tire is there to pinch hit for you so you can have your main tire repaired or replaced. Spare tires are there for emergencies, so you have to make sure that the one on your car isn’t flat as well.
If your car comes equipped with run-flat tires, good for you. But if you’re like the rest of us mortals, your spare is probably located at the trunk of your car, under the solid panel. Practice how to take it out and how to use the jack. You’re going to need it.
6. Wiper Blades
To prevent accidents during bad weather, make sure your windshield wipers are flexible and smooth. Run water to check if your wipers are still good. If there are streaks on the windshield and if your blades are brittle, it’s time to replace them.
Driving can be a fantastic experience if you have the right partner to share the road with. The partner in question is your car, of course! Take care of it, and it’ll take care of you.
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