We all have to go through a test to get our license, but how many of us have successfully passed but then gotten into the car and felt like there were some key lessons that were skipped? Here are a few things to know to help you be a better driver and car owner.
Changing a tyre
How is this not part of the test? It is understandable that it could take some time to do but almost everyone who has ever driven a car will face this problem eventually. Although every car might be different, these are the basics which can apply to most. Check your car manual for specific instructions.
- Try and move to a flat location if possible
- Locate the spare tyre, car jack and wrench (usually in the boot under the mat)
- Remove hub cap
- Loosen the lug nuts with the wrench do not fully remove)
- Place the jack under the car frame and begin lifting the vehicle
- Unscrew the lug nuts all the way and remove the flat tyre
- Place the new tyre and lug nuts, begin tightening, making sure the tyre is being evenly attached
- Lower the car and check lug nuts are properly tightened
- Replace the hub cap
Replace the tyre as soon as possible, spare tyres’ inflation is usually not as effective as a new tyre.
Checking oil and water
Checking your oil and water is important, since running out of oil would mean your engine would seize up. While garages can do this for you, here is how to be independent enough to do it yourself.
- Make sure your engine is off and the handbrake is up
- Open the bonnet, locate the oil well and pull out the dipstick
- Wipe it and put it back in the well before pulling it out.
- Check where the oil sits in relation to the maximum and minimum marks on the stick
- If it is not between then, go to your nearest garage and ask for an oil top up.
Checking tyre pressure
This one is more about remembering to do it and knowing your car’s tyre pressure. Most garages will be able to inflate your tyres for you should you ask. Asking for a re-inflation once a month is a useful way to always ensure you’re not running low.
Learning to jump start your car
This is one of the big ones, batteries often die after accidentally leaving headlights on and it can be a pain to be stuck with no idea what to do. Here is how you can jump start your car.
- Make sure you have jumper cables (best to buy and keep in your boot)
- Get another car, which has battery power to park facing yours and turn both off
- This is the crucial bit,
- Place a RED jumper cable clip to the POSITIVE (+) battery terminal
- The BLACK clip will be connected to the NEGATIVE (-) terminal
- Once secured, turn on the working vehicle and let it run for a while
- try turn on your car to see if the battery has restarted
- Disconnect the negative cables first and then the positive
- Drive you car around for about 15 minutes without turning it off to ensure it charges up a bit more
What the gauges mean
Although we all know the speedometer and petrol gauge there are a few other instruments on the vehicle that are also important to keep an eye on.
It’s important to know what to do if you are entirely stuck and can’t help yourself. Knowing what kind of car insurance you have, whether you have AA and emergency contact numbers such as the police and ambulance are helpful when you’re really stuck. In addition, keeping an emergency triangle and utility vest can add a level of comfort so you can alert other drivers if you get stuck in a dangerous part of the road with blind corners or rises and in the dark.