You’d think we’d have a better relationship with our cars given how much money we spend on car payments, upkeep, and repairs. But it can be overwhelming to comprehend how our cars operate, how to take care of them, and how much repairs will cost. Although cars and repair shops may seem intimidating due to all the parts, fluids, rules to abide by, and potential problems, they don’t have to be.
You ought to be familiar with some of the fundamental concepts. Here are five things you should be aware of before you get behind the wheel to boost your driving confidence:
1. Year, make and model
Your car’s manufacturing year, brand, and particular model are the first things you should be aware of. Although it might seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t know this information.
They frequently get the year or the model wrong, which can result in serious errors. Knowing the exact year, make, and model of your car is essential because it determines what fluids, parts, and accessories you need to repair and maintain it. The parts needed for your car will also change over the course of a year as design, construction, and model change.
Your car’s fingerprint is its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). It is a 17-digit number that indicates the date, location, make, model, engine size, and other details of your car’s manufacturing. Throughout the life of the vehicle, the VIN is present. You don’t have to memorize this number; you just need to know where to look for it.
To locate it, simply step outside the car on the driver’s side and look at the dashboard corner where it meets the windshield. When speaking with mechanics and insurance providers, your VIN is helpful. If you want to buy a car or parts for it, you can use your VIN to look up information.
3. Maintenance schedule
The best way to keep your car running smoothly is to adhere to the recommended maintenance schedule, for your schedule will inform you of things like when to check your fluids, when to rotate your tires, and when to change your oil.
For your car to operate at its best and last as long as possible, you should stick to the maintenance schedule it has. Your owner’s manual or the companion booklet that comes with your owner’s manual both contain your maintenance schedule. For checking and replacing those parts or fluids in your car, read it and strictly abide by the instructions provided.
4. Tire pressure
The most frequently neglected auto maintenance issue is probably maintaining proper tire pressure. Ignoring this only increases our chances of getting a flat or blowout, picking up a nail in the tire, or wearing our tires out sooner. Stop this bad habit right away because it will shorten the lifespan of our tires and necessitate more frequent tire purchases.
Although tires are expensive, with proper care, some of them can last for over 50,000 miles. On the other hand, watch out for overfilling your tires!
5. Engine light
While dashboard lights may cause us great anxiety, they are a window into the condition of our car. As dashboard lights differ between auto manufacturers, your owner’s manual will explain what they mean, but it’s possible that they don’t elaborate on how significant or unimportant specific lights are. I categorize dashboard lights into the following three groups:
- Red: Get help now! These are sometimes related to passenger safety.
- Yellow: Check this out as soon as possible!
- Green or blue: Go
Your first step to feeling in control of your car, speaking with a mechanic with confidence, and making better decisions for your car’s maintenance is understanding these essential pieces of information. Now take a look at your maintenance manual and stay updated!