Ladies, Understand Your Cars
It is almost general knowledge and somewhat of a myth that most women do not know the full functionality of their cars, because as opposed to their male counterparts, there is carefree attitude to the way they operate their vehicles.
Even as this theory may be flawed in its actual sense, a double standard still exists as women are usually described as reckless drivers and are likely to be ripped off during a visit to their mechanic while of course the same cannot be said for her male counterpart.
Irrespective of all these, it is important to know and understand the intricate details and parts of your car, so you can better care for and drive it. Which will not only keep it running longer, but will also make dealing with mechanics and service departments easier.
As a result of this observation,below are a few know-hows that should help kick start the knowledge process of every car owner.
1. Read the Owner’s Manual
Your vehicle might probably be the most complicated machine you own, so learning the details about its parts, how it runs and when to take it in for maintenance makes you an informed owner and helps to reduce costly breakdowns. This knowledge will serve you well throughout ownership.
2. Change the Oil
Oil is usually described as the lifeblood of you car, so changing it according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule is very crucial. Luckily, some cars have an oil-life monitor that notifies the driver when the oil needs to be changed. In addition, use the type of oil the automaker suggests; this alone will increase your vehicle’s longevity.
3. Maintain Tire Air Pressure
It’s very important to check and maintain proper air pressure in your car’s tires. Under-inflated tires are the No. 1 cause of tire failure or flats. When a tire is under-inflated, it builds up heat internally, which can cause a blowout. Such tires also decrease fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. Look on the driver’s doorjamb for a label marked Tire and Loading Information for more details. It’s best to check tire pressure when the tires are cool. Finally always remember to use a quality tire-pressure gauge.
4. Pay Attention to Your Car’s Warning Lights
These days, modern vehicles can have any number of warning lights for various on board components like the anti lock braking system. Sometimes, the behavior of a given warning light — a flashing check engine light versus a steady one — may indicate two entirely different issues, so it’s important to understand each warning light’s purpose, its various modes and what to do if they illuminate. You can generally consult your owner’s manual to learn this information.
5. Check Your Vehicle’s Vital Fluids Regularly
These include your radiator coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, power-steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid. You can do this, or a mechanic can take a look during routine maintenance. Ask how to properly check these things yourself, too.
The owner’s manual provides details about fluid levels and recommended maintenance. Some tips: Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot or the car is running. Check your oil when the car is off but the engine is still warm. Lastly, check the transmission fluid with the car running but in ‘Park’.
6. Get Rubber Engine Components Inspected
Belt and hose failures are the No. 1 cause of roadside breakdowns. Rubber components under the hood are exposed to extreme heat, so they tend to wear out faster than other parts on your car. Your belts and hoses should always be inspected every six months and before long trips. It’s more cost effective to replace them before a breakdown occurs.
7. Know Your Car’s Acronyms
Many of today’s vehicles come with a healthy dose of alphabet soup: ABS, TCS, ESP, etc. These letters often designate a computer-controlled function that enhances the driving experience. An antilock braking system, or ABS, is a computerized system that prevents wheel lockup and skidding during braking. If your ABS light comes on and stays on, you should take your car to a mechanic for inspection because there could be a problem with the system.
TCS, or traction control system, helps eliminate wheel spin during acceleration. ESP could mean an electronic stability program is part of your car’s features. There are many acronyms affiliated with vehicles today, and the only way to find out what some of these things mean is to look in the owner’s manual.
8. Know Which Wheels Drive Your Car
Is it equipped with front- , rear- or all-wheel drive? A front-wheel-drive car will handle differently than one equipped with rear- or all-wheel drive, and vice versa. This is especially true when road conditions are poor.
Front-drive cars have been praised for their ability to accelerate and maneuver in wet conditions, but modern rear-wheel-drive cars equipped with traction control and an electronic stability system are a far cry from the fishtailing, rear-drive cars of the past. All-wheel-drive systems send available engine power to the wheels with the most traction and can enhance dry-road handling characteristics.
9. Keep Your Car Clean
It might seem like an easy rule but this important rule gets neglected a lot. Don’t drive around with dirty windows, and make sure your headlights are clean and properly aimed. Dirty headlamps can drastically reduce the amount of illumination provided; if you can’t see something on or alongside the road, you can’t avoid it. Additionally, an improperly aimed headlight greatly reduces its effectiveness and affects visibility for oncoming drivers. Keep your car clean, if for no other reason than safety.
Source: The road bloggers, Nigeria