Contrary to popular belief, guys aren’t born knowing everything there is to know about car maintenance – and that’s OK. There are some things, though, that everyone who drives a car should know. Here are a few to get you started.
Jump start your car. Jump starting your car is not that difficult. Put the positive clamp on your dead battery, usually the post. Put the other positive clamp on the good battery. To hook up the negative clamps, put one on grounded, bare metal on the car that has the dead battery. Put the other negative clamp on the good battery. Start the car with the good battery and let it run for a few minutes, then start the car with the dead battery. Unclamp it all in reverse order but never let the clamps touch each other. Do not turn off the car you just jumped. Instead, drive it around for a bit so that the alternator can charge the battery.
Change your oil. OK, this isn’t necessarily a must, but it certainly helps. Go to the wrong place can you could wind up with a messed up car. Go to the dealership and you will probably pay through the nose for it. Learn to do it yourself and you save some money while protecting your wheels – plus you learn another great skill.
- Read a dipstick. The dipstick tells you how much oil you have in your car; too much, too little, none at all, or just right. It can also clue you in to how well the car has been maintained or if there are underlying issues by the quality of the oil on the dipstick. Learn where yours is and how to read it.
Change a tire. Flats happen and usually at the most inopportune times. If you have an older car you want to have a good spare. Many of the newer cars have the run flat tires. Still, you need to know how to change a tire as well as these other skills.
- Use a jack. There is a right way to jack up your car and a way that can damage it – or inure you. A misplaced jack can puncture your oil pan or, worse, be unstable. Read your owner’s manual to find out the best places to put a jack on your particular model of car.
- Torque the lug nuts. Many people believe that when you tighten your lug nuts after putting on a tire you should tighten them as much as possible. However, you will regret that when you have to remove them. The best way to do it is to get a torque wrench and tighten every other one, across from each other in a start pattern until they are all tight. The torque wrench will ensure that you get the lugs to the range your manufacturer specifies – perfect.
Many local colleges have basic car maintenance classes and you can always study online. One website, AutoEducation, has some good information, but read the notice at the beginning of the page – and use the resources offered there.
Whether you are a total do it yourselfer or you prefer to send your car to the shop for all your maintenance needs – or if you fall somewhere in between – Woodside Credit can help you get a collector, classic, or exotic car you’ll love. Complete a Quick quote on our site and find out how easy it is to get your own car to tinker with – or leave it to the pros – your choice.