A car is not a “buy it, use it and forget about it” type of investment. If you want your investment to last, you need to spend a little time and attention on it. Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you can’t give your car the TLC it needs. Here are several maintenance essentials that all women should know how to do on their cars.
Getting caught in a rain or snowstorm without proper windshield wipers or enough windshield wiping fluid is dangerous. However, it’s easy to take care of these maintenance tasks on your own: First, check the windshield wiper fluid reservoir every other time you fill up the car with gas, and top it off when it’s starting to get low. You can also wait for the indicator light to come on, keeping a bottle of fluid in your car to use when that happens.
Next, make sure you replace the windshield wiper blades when they start to get too old. When the wiper blades aren’t clearing the window well, it’s time to change them. Go to your auto store and ask the employee which blades you need, then follow the directions on the package to install them. It’s a pretty simple and cheap fix, and will keep your visibility clear.
- Give the Tires Some TLC
Without good tires, you aren’t going anywhere. Learn how to check the tire pressure, and consult your vehicle’s owner manual to see what the proper tire pressure is for your vehicle. Then, make sure you regularly check the pressure and get the tires pumped when needed. Proper tire inflation will make your ride more comfortable, increase your car’s fuel economy, and reduce your risk of having a flat tire.
However, a flat tire can happen to the best of us, so it’s important to learn how to change one. This is actually not all that complicated, but you should practice at home before you face a side-of-the-road emergency. Being able to stick your spare onto your vehicle when you have a flat tire will prevent the unnecessary costs of a tow truck.
- Learn How to Jumpstart a Car
Do you know how to use jumper cables? If your car won’t start and the headlights and interior lights are dim, then the culprit is probably an old battery. A jumpstart from a car with a fully charged battery will give you the chance to drive to the battery center to buy a new one. Here’s how to do it:
- Place the cars near each other and turn them completely off.
- Connect the positive terminal on the dead car to the red wire on the jumper cables. Then, do the same on the other car.
- Next, connect the black clamp to the negative terminal on the good battery.
- Attach the black clamp to a piece of grounded metal on the dead car, such as a bolt near the battery. You can connect it to the negative post, but this is riskier.
- Start the good car, then start the dead car and let them run for about five minutes.
- Know How to Check Your Oil
Don’t assume that the oil change you get every 3,000 miles is all you need to do. It’s possible for your oil to leak, and this could lead to engine problems and costly repairs if not dealt with properly. Learn how to check your oil and where to add some, if your car needs it.
To check your oil, find the oil dipstick and pull it out. Wipe it off on a clean rag, then put it back in. Pull it out a second time, and see how high the oil film reaches. It should be between the “add” and “full” lines. If it is nearing the “add” line, add some of the oil your car uses to the engine’s oil compartment. To find this, look for a screw-off cap somewhere on the largest part of the engine. It may be labeled “oil cap,” but it may not. After adding, check oil levels again, replace the dipstick and you are done!
Remember, being a woman does not mean you have to neglect car maintenance. Learn these steps, and your car will reward you with great service for many years.
Author bio: Reid Zaritsky is Senior Vice President of Capital Auto Auction, a family-run business since 1988. He has been with the company since 2009 and has a background in science and engineering. Capital Auto Auction focuses on finding the right vehicles for families of all sizes.