Woman? Car Maintenance? Yes, You Can!

May 3, 2010

So you’ve come to Car Country, and you’ve bought a reliable used car. Now, you have to take care of it! It’s vital to maintain your vehicle so that it will last you for many years to come. Although if you don’t take care of it, and you need another car, you can always come back to Car Country!  A lot of these things seem routine, especially if you’re a man. Let’s face it, women are not as adept at auto repair. (I’m a woman, so I can say this. I have routinely driven my car without oil, without an oil cap, with the emergency brake on, and with a loose belt that made a horrible noise, yet I kept driving. Please keep in mind that this is over the course of 15 years of driving, and I’ve gotten a bit better. But just a tiny bit.)

Seriously, maintenance is number one when it comes to keeping your vehicle in good shape. First, it’s important to get a tune-up once a year. It’s like going to the doctor for a yearly physical. It’s important, I promise. Take the car to a local dealership or auto repair center that you trust. Have them check the hoses, fluids, plugs, filters and battery. This is a good way to know if something may go wrong; it’s easier to stay ahead of any problems you might have.

You MUST get your oil changed every 3000 miles. If you don’t, it spells serious trouble for your engine. It’s a good idea to check your oil every time you get gas. And if you happen to be checking the oil, or adding oil yourself, do NOT talk on your cell phone. You WILL forget to put the cap back on, and you WILL drive away. And when a man finds out, he WILL laugh at you. Yes, I’ve done this in the past two years. Twice. If you’re one of those people who like to take your dog with you for car rides (like me), don’t take the dog to get your oil changed. They don’t like the noise that the compressor thingamajig makes, and your pup will freak out, causing much laughter on the part of the service technicians. If your oil light comes on while you’re driving it, get your oil changed immediately. If you have to wait another day, buy some oil at the store and add it yourself to tide you over. (But don’t talk on the phone.)

Keep your tires at the right pressure. It makes a difference with your alignment, the life of your tires, and even your gas mileage. If you don’t know how to check your pressure, ask. First you buy a tire gauge. You can get the old-school “pencil” gauges at Walmart for less than a dollar. To check the pressure, remove the cap on the tire, place the gauge over the opening and push down. The lever will pop out of the gauge, and then just read it. It’s really easy, I just learned how myself. If that’s too overwhelming, go to an auto parts store, and act pathetic and ask. This generally works better for women than men.

While you’re checking the pressure in your tires, check your tread, using the penny test. Place a penny between the treads. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. Or to save money for a short time, have the front tires moved to the back, if the back tires are in better shape, which they should be, because front tires wear out faster than back tires. It’s good to have your tires rotated once a year, as well. You can go to a tire shop, like Hesselbein or Hibdon, or you can go to Walmart or Atwoods for tires.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. Trust me, if you do something silly, you aren’t the first. I guarantee you I’ve done it, and while I may have gotten laughed at, I survived, and so will you.

One comment

  1. Wow preaching to the choir is no longer needed! All lessons learned! Great advice!

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