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Basic things every driver should know (or learn how to do)
As a driver, you may or may not yet have gotten into a situation where you needed to fix a tire, jumpstart your car or check your oil levels off-the-cuff. In fact, most of us can be guilty ofoverlooking issues with our car until something goes wrong.
However, there’s so much value in knowing these few essential car maintenanceknow-hows either for the upkeep of your car or for an emergency situation which requires you to act immediately.
While in some situations, going to a car mechanic or professional is preferable and safer, there are certain stepscar owners can take that aren’t too complicated and usually don’t require a mechanic.
Here are four car maintenance stepsthat are definitely worth learning.
How to change a tire
So you’ve gota flat tire. What now?
This is one of the most common situations a driver might run into while driving, as driving over potholes, glass or other materials could easily cause this – along with low air pressure.
Before you change your tire, be sure to make sure you are parked on a flat road with no incline or decline.
What you’ll need to change your tire are a jack, lug wrench and of course, a spare tire. With your lug wrench, loosen the old tire’s lug nuts and position the jack under your car. Next, start raising your car with the jack until it’s at a level high enough to remove the flat tire.
Onceyour car’s positioned securely and high enough by the jack, mount the spare tire onto the lug bolts. Lower your car using the jack and then tighten the lug nuts till the tire is secured. Be sure to check the air pressure of the new tire to ensure it’s balanced with the rest of your existing tires. And you’re all set!
How to jumpstart a car
Knowing how to jumpstart your carcan be a nifty piece of know-how when it comes to your car. If your car engine refuses to start,then jumpstarting your car maydo the trick.
For this, you’ll need to have a pair of jumper cables stored in your car at all times, since you won’t know when you’re going to need them. You’ll see twored clamps and two black clamps on the cables. The red clamps should be attached to the positive terminal (+) of the dead battery and the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the live battery.
Next, attach one black clamp to the negative terminal of the live battery and the other black clamp to the unpainted steel surface of the dead car’s engine block. This prevents the hazard of sparking.
And finally, try jumpstarting your car by turning on the engine and letting it run for a few minutes. Remove the clamps and off you go!
If it works and your engine starts, it is advised to let your engine run for at least half an hour before turning the engineoff.Meanwhile, if jumpstarting your car fails to start your engine, you’ll likely need to change your car battery.
How to check oil levels
Every month, be sure to check your car’s oil levels to make sure your oil is sufficient and that the oil is not contaminated.
To do this, you’ll need to remove the dipstick, which is located on your engine block, and wipe it with a clean cloth. Check the colour of the oil. If it looks dirty and smells of gasoline, it’s time to replace it with new oil.
Next, insert the dipstick into the pipe and pull it out once more. Check the indicator to see how high the levels of oil run up the dipstick. If it falls below the minimum mark, you’ll need to top up with more oil.
Once you’ve done this, you’re good to go!
| See also:The do’s and don’ts of car maintenance |
How to check tire pressure
Driving with over or under-inflated tires is extremely dangerous. When too much of the tire’s surface touches the road, this leads to unneeded friction which can lead to wear and tear or at worst a blowout. A tire blowout can put you as the driver and other cars around you at risk on the road if you should lose control of the car.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to check your tire pressure. It just has to be done regularly every two weeks on all your tires to ensure you’re driving at an optimal level.
Using a portable tire pressure gauge, which can be purchased for around SGD 20,is relatively simple. Remove the valve stem cap and insert the gauge into the valve stem. Your tire pressure measurementwill be displayed on the gauge. The typical air pressure for tires is between 30 to 35 PSI. However, you should still check your owner’s manual for variations for larger or smaller cars.
Should your air pressure be running low, be sure to head to the nearest petrol station to pump your car tires to the desired levels.
Knowing these four basic skills when it comes to your car will come in super handy for maintaining your car and being prepared for flat tires and an engine that won’t start.
However, it’s always best to be prepared for when things don’t go as planned on the road. The right car insurance policy can cover you financially but also ensure you get your medical expenses covered should any accidents occur.
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