By Guest Blogger Sandy Harper
Technology has drastically helped female drivers in moments of vehicle needs. Usually a husband, dad, friend or a mechanic is only a cell phone call away. That being said, there are still those handful of moments when we (ladies) are unable to get in touch with help. Whether you are out of phone service, the phone is dead or somehow not with you, or no one is answering, feeling helpless and stranded is a horrible place to be.
There are basic car needs and repairs that even us ladies need to know if we are going to get behind the wheel. If you don’t know how to do these, it is highly recommended you learn. It is also a great idea to teach your driving teenage daughters these basic car skills so they are never in a situation where they are stranded.
#1 How to check tire pressure and add air
Let’s start with something simple. This knowledge could possible save you from being stuck on the side of the road with a flat! Always keep a tire gauge in your vehicle. This is used to measure the amount of air in your tires. The maximum tire pressure your tire can hold is located on the tire sidewall and on a sticker located in the driver-side doorjamb (as long as you are running on the proper factory size tires for your car). You can find air pumps at most gas stations.
#2 Check oil level and other fluids, plus how to add those fluids when needed
Let’s say your car is overheating and you need to get it to a safe place so you’re not stuck on the side of the road. Knowing where and how to add water (a temporary solution) to your radiator can help you make it the distance you need to get somewhere safe or to your mechanic.
#3 How to change a flat tire
If you neglect to learn #1 then you might find yourself on the side of the road with a flat tire. There is almost nothing worse than that! First, it’s important to know where your spare tire, jack and tire iron are located in your vehicle. Second, you need to know where to place the jack appropriately under your vehicle. Normally the tire iron attaches to the jack so you can lift the tire off the ground. Once, the tire is securely in the air, you will take the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on the existing wheel. To loosen the lug nuts turn them to the left. Once you have the old tire off you can place the spare in its place and reattach the lug nuts using the tire iron. Turn them to the right to tighten them. This silly saying is an easy way to remember which way to turn the lug nuts, “righty tight lefty loosy”. I suggest have someone actually show you how to do this or watch a You Tube video so that you have a better idea of how to change a tire.
#4 Jump starting a battery
When your car won’t start it is typically one of two things: a dead battery or a bad starter. Either way, knowing how to jumpstart your car can help you get your car running so you can take it somewhere to find out what it really wrong with it. Obviously you will need another vehicle to assist you. But you can still be prepared by keeping jumper cables in your car and the knowledge of how to correctly hook them up to the batteries.
#5 When and how to change wiper blades
When I was in my early 20’s I was ignorant to the basic needs of my automobile. I was made aware of how bad my wiper blades were every time it rained. Knowing this I still neglected to get them replaced. Finally during a torrential down pour (the kind when you have the blades on the fastest setting and still can’t see) my driver-side wiper blade gave out. It disintegrated and literally went flying. All I could do was pull over to the side of the road and wait for the rain to subside. The lesson learned; don’t ignore your car needs. Purchasing and replacing wiper blades can all be done in a simple trip to the local auto store. They can tell you which size your particular car needs and show you how to install them.
Lastly, make sure you keep your vehicle properly stocked with safety equipment
Jumper cables, flashlight, spare tire, jack and tire iron, tire pressure gauge, and your car’s owner’s manual (you’d be surprised how helpful they can be if you are in a jam).
Having the knowledge of these basic car needs can help you from becoming that cliché Damsel in Distress and actually being your own Knight in Shining Armor. You go girl!