Most people drive a car (or truck) every single day, and have been doing so since their teenage years. Surprisingly, many still haven’t learned some basic car maintenance tasks that are crucial to keeping your vehicle running!
No matter your age or level of experience driving, you should be able to confidently do the following 6 things. If you are a parent, make sure your teenagers can too.
- Check the oil – Whether you plan on changing the oil yourself or not, you should at least know how to check the oil, read the dipstick, and determine if more oil needs to be added, or if you are due for an oil change. Time between oil changes varies depending on the year and model of your vehicle, as well as how much you drive. You may need an oil change change every 3-6 months. The engine is the heart of your vehicle, so knowing how to care for your engine is important.
- Change a flat tire – You never know when or where your tire might go flat. It might happen when nobody else is around to help, so it’s important that you know how to change a tire by yourself, and that you have the all the necessary tools. Know how to safely lift the car up using a jack, remove the flat tire, and replace it with a spare.
- Check fluids – In addition to engine oil, know how to check and refill the coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and windshield washer fluid. Each fluid has its own location beneath the hood. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to learn which is which.
- Jump start the car – Knowing how to jump a car will be helpful and maybe someone else who needs your help. If your battery is dead, retrieve the jumper cables (which you should always have in the back of your car) and hook up the cables to another vehicle. First attach the red positive clip to your battery, then the other red clip to their battery. Third, attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on their battery, and lastly clip the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery.
- Know what to do after an accident – If you experience the misfortune of being in a car accident, try to handle the situation as calmly as possible. If you are able to, move the car off the road to a safe spot. Check on the others involved. Call the police. If nobody is injured, start collecting as much information as you can (driver’s name, phone number, driver license number and license plate number). If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident scene.
- Know who to call – Last, but certainly not least, is knowing who to call when you need help. With nine locations throughout Wyoming, Plains Tire has been providing the Cowboy State with a wide variety of car maintenance services for many years, and our experienced mechanics can help with any of your car needs.