5 Thing Every Car Owner Should Know
There’s no doubt that passing your driving test and getting your first car is a rite of passage. However, many people drive a vehicle for years with little knowledge about mechanics, maintenance, or engines.
While you don’t need to be a qualified mechanic, learning more about your car and driving, in general, can improve road safety, reduce your costs and enhance the performance of your vehicle. To get started, take a look at these five things every car owner should know:
- Check Your Tire Pressure
Tires need to be inflated to an appropriate level in order to ensure they have a good grip on the surface of the road. If your tire pressure is too low or too high, it can make it harder to control your vehicle and increase the risk of accidents. In addition to this, the wrong tire pressure can affect fuel consumption, which means you’ll use more gas than you need to.
Fortunately, checking your tire pressure is easy. All car manuals or owner handbooks state what an appropriate level of tire pressure is for your vehicle, as well as variations for different loads. Most gas stations have a compressor that will allow you to check the tire pressure and add more air if required.
- You Need to Re-Register Your Car if You Relocate
When you purchase a car, you’re required to apply for a certificate of title. This essentially tells the DMV who the new owner of the vehicle is. However, if you move to another state, you’ll need to re-register your vehicle. Even if you move to a new home in state, you’ll need to update the DMV so that they have your current address.
Until a vehicle is registered, you won’t be able to affix new license plates to it. Once your registration application has been processed, the DMV will issue one or two license plates, depending on the requirements in your state. If you want to choose your own personalised plates, simply ask the DMV what’s available. Once they’re affixed to your vehicle and your registration is complete, you’re finally the official owner of the vehicle.
- Replace Windshield Wipers
Having a clear view out of the windshield is essential for safe driving, which is why every car owner should know how to change their wipers. Over time, the rubber blade on the wipers becomes degraded and less efficient at clearing your windshield. By replacing them regularly, you can enhance your visibility and reduce the risk of a subsequent collision.
It’s easy to find out exactly which wipers fit your vehicle. In fact, an online search will tell you in seconds. While your car’s manual should have instructions on how to replace the wipers, you’ll also find numerous ‘how to’ guides available online too.
- Check the Oil
Car owners should check the engine’s oil reserves at least once a month but many drivers never undertake this simple task. If the oil runs out, it could cause serious damage to your engine, so it’s worthwhile making regular checks and topping up the oil as needed. Similarly, if the oil is dirty or contaminated with debris, an oil change should be carried out.
Take a look at your owner’s manual to find out where the dipstick is located. Simply remove it from its tube and wipe it down so it’s clean. Then, reinsert the dipstick into the tube, take it back out and note where the oil reaches on the stick. There will be marks on the dipstick to indicate if the oil reserves are too low, so it’s easy to know when it needs to be topped up.
- Change a Tire
Carrying a spare tire in the trunk enables you to make a hasty repair if a tire gets punctured. However, it will be no use to you if you’re not sure how to change a tire! All you need is a jack, lug wrench, and the spare tire, so make sure these are always in your vehicle. Loosen the lug nuts, jack the car up and remove the tire before replacing it with the spare and tightening the lug nuts.
Why Car Maintenance Matters
Knowing how to keep your vehicle well-maintained doesn’t just save you money and prevent unnecessary damage to your car, it can also improve road safety. When your vehicle is properly maintained, it should be running optimally. As a result, you’ll have more control over the car and reduce the risk of accidents occurring.