Things that every car owner should know

Things that every car owner should know

If you are buying your first car or just want a refresher course, here are several things you should know.

Make sure you know a good mechanic. If you don’t have a favorite mechanic that you bring your car to, find one.  Word of mouth is a great way to find out the reputation of mechanics in your area. You can also go on line and look at reviews, such as Yelp. A word of advice: don’t always go with the cheapest guy or the place closest to your house. Do your research and make sure the mechanic, or dealership, have great feedback.

Have a mechanic look at your car when the “Check Engine” light comes on. Check Engine Lights (CELs) illuminate when your car’s computer suspects that something is wrong.  In virtually every case, Land Rover of Naperville, IL, a factory-authorized Land Rover dealer explains, it’s not a serious issue. If CEL turns on, you can make a trip back to your house but try and get to a dealer or the local garage in the next day or so to make sure nothing needs immediate attention.

Don’t ignore tire rotation.  If you rotate your tires, they will last longer.  It’s simple, rotating your tires spreads the wear out more evenly over the four tires. By the way, if you are buying new tires, make sure you have a front end alignment too.  That will assure your tires are aligned properly to the chassis and will make them last longer.

Change your oil as per factory recommendations. While the rule used to be every 3,000 miles between oil change intervals, thats no longer true for every car. Check your manual to know when your vehicle’s oil should be changed; you’ll likely find it is around 5,000 to 8,000 miles now.

Learn how to check all fluids of your car. It’s a good idea to know how to check and “top off” your car’s fluids. This means antifreeze, oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid. Your owner’s manual can tell you where all these things are located.

Maintain correct tire pressure. This is an important one because when you drive with underinflated tires, you get poorer gas mileage and your tire wear out quicker. Most gas stations have an air station where you can add air to the tires. Get in the habit of doing it once per month.

Have an emergency kit in your car. It’s a great idea to have a roadside emergency kit with flares, a flashlight, a set of jumper cables and a first aid kit, just in case you need it.  If you live in areas that receive a lot of snow, you might also want to get one of those small folding shovels too.

By the way, if you are becoming a new driver, consider a driver’s education class. Even if your state doesn’t require them, they will teach you about good driving habits and safety procedures.  After all, these are the really essential things to stay safe when you start driving.

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