Car Maintenance 101
I remember the first time that I had car trouble in college. It was during my first semester of school and my car began to have trouble starting. Being myself, I automatically panicked and called the only person I knew could help me – my dad. Luckily my job at the time was on-campus and I didn’t need my car. Later that same evening, I swapped cars with my parents and had my car fixed in no time.
Since then I have experienced a few more car issues and have learned the value behind car maintenance. Here are a few beginner tips to help steer you towards good car maintenance.
Know Where Your Car Manual Is and Understand It
The person who decided to provide car manuals was a genius! It is important to know where your car manual is located. Most people choose to leave their car manual in their glove box. The car manual is very helpful when it comes to understanding what the dashboard warning lights signify, where specific areas are located and how to effectively use your car’s technology. It also helps with other how-to instructions, such as how to change a headlight.
Perform Routine Car Maintenance
Cars are not the easiest things to keep up with, especially for a busy college student. It can be difficult to schedule things like oil changes, but in the long run, a regular maintenance schedule can extend your vehicle’s life and prevent costly repairs. Examples of things that should be routinely checked are oil changes, filters, brakes, windshield wiper fluid, engine coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
Acquire Knowledge About Tires
My dad always says that anytime I get the chance, I should walk around my car and check the tires. It seemed a little silly at first, but I have gotten used to taking a lap around and it has helped me notice when my tires look a little flat. Also, be sure to always have a tire pressure gauge and know the correct amount of pressure your tires need. Do not base this measurement off of the description on the tire—that is the maximum amount. Learn the basics on how to fix a flat safely. Small skills like these can make all the difference.
Be Prepared For Roadside Emergencies
I remember this past spring break, my sister, boyfriend and I were driving to Palo Duro Canyon for a hiking trip. It was a hot day and on the way there, we saw a young college couple that needed help with a tire blowout. We helped them replace their old tire and offered them bottled water. You see, sometimes the unexpected happens even if you take preventive measures. By being prepared for emergencies, you can save yourself a great amount of stress. Things like a first aid kit, jumper cables, a blanket, bottled water, paper towels and a flashlight can be tremendous help.
Keep Your Car Clean
For some of us, keeping a car clean is like second nature and for others, our car becomes our second home. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but a car’s efficiency can increase when you combine both. Keep your driver’s floorboard clean and try not to obstruct your views of the road and other cars. Remember to treat your car to a nice car wash every once in a while. A clean car is not only safe, but can be very helpful in college when it comes to finding books or pens—and it looks nice!
Befriend Someone Who Can Help You or Find a Professional Repair Shop
One early morning before class, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a breakfast date by the lake. When we were done, we returned to his pickup to find that its battery had died. I called one of my best friends from high school. She drove all the way from campus to help us jump-start his truck, and we all made it to class just in time! When you move to a new town, it is important to find people that can help you. Ask around for a good repair shop. Who knows, you may end up finding a friend with a few mechanic skills. Lastly, if you ever visit an auto parts store, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most of the time, they are willing to help.
Overall, car problems can make anybody nervous, but remember that college is a time for learning. If you need help jump-starting a vehicle or find yourself stranded on campus at night, you can call the Angelo State University Police and they can assist you in finding aid. Remember you are not alone when it comes to these situations, so sit back and enjoy the college life ride!