The knowledge we’re about to talk about is the mechanical knowledge. Most people will have a second thought about this article like, “why should I get my hands dirty when I can call my mechanic to fix it for me?” Well, I have a question for you. What if your “I don’t care” attitude puts you in a position that you’ll wish you had the knowledge? So here are the basic knowledge every car owner should acquire.
If you’re with me, then let’s begin with the basics, then to the more advanced, needless to say, the basics will sure help you to avoid the advance, that’ll save you a lot.
- Read your deep stick. Before you start your car in the morning, read your deep stick. Dipsticks tell you if your car has enough or too much oil in it, but that’s not all. They’ll also give you a sense of how bad the oil is, and potentially how poorly the car is maintained. If you’re checking out a used car, for example, and you find grit in the oil that’s on the dipstick… just walk away.
- Tourque your log nut, Whenever you replace your spare tire, it’s recommended that you use a tourque to tighten your log nut. We have that problem with our vulcanizers in Nigeria. There are a few points here. First, don’t just cinch your lug nuts as tightly as you can get ’em or you’ll want to go back in time and kick yourself for doing so as soon as you need to get them off. Use a torque wrench to get them to your manufacturer’s specified range — no more, no less. If you don’t have a torque wrench, get one, then use it to torque every other lug nut in a star-shaped pattern (diagonally across from each other) until you’ve done them all.
- Jump start your car, Look, it’s not that difficult. Positive clamp on dead battery. Positive clamp on good battery. Negative clamp on good battery. Negative clamp on bare, grounded metal on car with dead battery. Start good car, wait a couple of minutes, start dead car. Unclamp everything in reverse order and do not touch the clamps to each other. Now go drive your car for a while to let the alternator charge it up.
- Change a spark plug, Unless your car is 100% electric (Nissan LEAF, Tesla, etc.), you’ve got spark plugs. While they certainly will last an order of magnitude longer than plugs in the olden days, they still need to be changed, and mechanics are truly thrilled at the prospect of overcharging you to do something that can be done at home. If you don’t know what you’re doing — and it is a bit more involved than it used to be — head to YouTube and you’ll almost definitely find someone changing the plugs on a car just like yours.
- Identify and change a fuse, Chasing electrical problems is the bane of every shade-tree mechanic’s existence. For a given problem — as in, your taillights all went out at once — you should first hope that it’s just a fuse, then proceed to track down the appropriate culprit based on the symptoms. See your manual for a fuse map. Most manuals comes with a labeled diagram of your fuse box.
- Correctly set your tire pressure, most car users don’t know the manufacturer’s required tire pressure. Before you inflate your tire, look inside your gloves compartment, fuel tank door, or door frame for the manufacturer’s tire pressure.
- Recognize alignment problems based on treadwear, Tires can tell you many things about a car. The wear of a tread pattern can tell you if the alignment is out of whack, and what’s off, and if the tires have been over- or under-inflated.
- Know your car chases and engine code, Why does that matter? It doesn’t… any more than you knowing what model of iPhone you have, or what version of iOS it’s currently running. Simply put, it’s a form of coded communication that lets you know someone is an enthusiast, not just a regular person with a nice car.
- Vehicle fluids,
Another basic component that every car owner should take in mind is car fluid. If you want to keep your car running smoothly, make sure to check them regularly. It’s something you can do easily, so no excuses, here. The five important ones include:
- Engine Oil
- Power Steering Fluid
- Brake Fluid
- Windshield Washer Fluid
10. Air filter, It’s important to change your air filters every six months. When engines get dirty, they can get clogged, making them work harder. This can cause engines to work harder, and can cause an added expense in your fuel expenses.
11. Inspect and get your timing and serpentine belts replaced when necessary. Many people will tell you to get your timing belt replaced every 60,000 miles or so, and your serpentine belt replaced every 40,000 miles, give or take. Again, your owner’s manual will offer real numbers for your type of vehicle. If you can’t find the manual, look around online. You’ll probably find the actual recommendation for your car. Use it as a guideline, and ask your mechanic to inspect the belts when it gets time to replace them mileage-wise. If they’re still in good shape, don’t bother, but if they’re worn out, get them replaced before they fail. If you wait and those belts do fail, you’ll break down, and the damaged belt can damage other accessories, making the repair even more expensive
These are just a few things that everyvehicle needs, and almost all of them are things you can do yourself. We can’t stress enough the importance of checking your owner’s manual for anything we may have overlooked here, or anything specific to your vehicle. If you don’t have your manual, you can find it pretty easily online