April 21, 2024
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Basic Car Facts Every Driver Should Know

Being a responsible driver does not start and end with your road skills. Of course, safety behind the wheel and a working knowledge of how to follow traffic laws is essential, but there is another element to safe driving that may not be as obvious. This element is car knowledge. You must have an education about the vehicle you drive as a piece of your safe driver puzzle. This does not mean you must be a certified mechanic to be considered a safe or good driver, but it does mean that understanding the basics will elevate your road game considerably. 

Checking Fluids and Gas

Your car needs more than gas to go, but gas is at the top of the list. You likely already know how to read your gas gauge and the importance of not letting your cars tank get too close to empty, but what about the symptoms of bad gas? A lesser known essential, you must understand the quality of what you put in your car is just as important as simply filling up. 

You can go online and review a guide on how long gas lasts, but there are some other ways to tell if you might be dealing with bad gas inside your car to avoid potential engine problems. Difficulty starting your car with more than enough in the tank, trouble accelerating, and stalling while driving can all point to a gas issue. Other fluids like oil, coolant, and washer solution are all important for the safety and function of your vehicle and can be easily checked. If you are not confident that you know what you are looking at, ask a professional at your next oil change or auto appointment to talk you through the process. 

Tire Health

You should not wait until you are on the side of the road with a flat to find out if you have a spare tire or not. This is a one-time check that can save you a ton of headaches. Locate your vehicle’s spare tire and make the occasional check that it has not gone flat. If you are skilled and confident enough, be sure to also have a jack and other tools always in your car so you can change out a flat when needed. 

Tire pressure is another essential basic. There are safety issues related to having too much or too little air in your tires so be sure that you know what number your specific tires should be at. Starting with where to find that information. Your owner’s manual or a sticker on the inside of the door of your car are two likely places to find this information. 

Efficient Brakes

Not having an understanding for how a car feels when it has healthy, or unhealthy brakes is not only a safety hazard but can be an expensive mistake. A shaking steering wheel when braking can be a sign of a worn ABS system. And being able to identify brake dust on your tires and being familiar with what is a typical amount as opposed to a problematic amount can prevent small issues from growing.

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