In today’s world, it is almost impossible not to own a car. Yes, there are public transport options everywhere, but many of these take considerably longer than simply jumping in your car and driving to your destination. Whether your car is new or used, there are certain things that you need to be aware of in order to properly care for your car. Some of these may be covered under your warranty or service package if you have a new car, but it is always useful to have a little bit more knowledge when it comes to your primary mode of transport. Below are a few tips and bits of information which should make your time as a car owner easier on you and your car.
Daily engine care
This may sound like a huge commitment that you don’t have the time for, but it is actually quite simple. The best thing you can do for your car is to simply make sure that you are being kind to it on a daily basis. Some people jump into their cars, turn the ignition, put the car into gear, and go screaming up the road in a matter of seconds. This is a horrible thing to do to your car and will wear out the engine components very quickly. Firstly, after turning the ignition, you should wait a few seconds for the oil pressure to build up within the engine, the oil is what keeps all the metal components lubricated and working well together. After that, you should gently put the car into gear. If you drive a manual car the gearbox can be a little stiff until the transmission fluid is up to temperature, so you should take this into account. But perhaps the most important aspect in this scenario is a fundamental flaw that some people are definitely guilty of. And that is that you should not put a large amount of stress on a cold engine. Think of your car like an athlete; you wouldn’t expect anyone to be able to compete in a 100m sprint without an adequate warm up, and neither can your car. It can take up to ten minutes of gentle driving for an engine to reach its operating temperature. Only then can it safely be asked to accelerate hard or climb farther up the rev range. If you are someone who enjoys taking their car out for a spirited drive, it is important to finish your weekend blast with another ten minutes of gentle driving and finally letting the car idle for a minute before switching off the engine.
Checking and changing oil
This is such an easy job to do on most cars, yet many people fail to give it the time it deserves. Oil is to your car’s engine what blood is for your body. Without it, your car simply cannot function. An engine has incredibly high operating temperatures and lots of metal parts rubbing and grinding against each other, your car’s oil can help to reduce the wear and tear of these internal components. As a rough guide, most cars call for an oil change every 5,000 miles and an oil and filter change every 10,000 miles. There are plenty of in-depth guides and videos teaching you how to change your oil and filter, which sounds technical but is actually a very easy job with the right tools. If you don’t have an expansive toolkit or are a bit hopeless with DIY, then you should take your car to a qualified mechanic. If possible, you should take your car to a specialist, like Bavarian Workshop BMW services, who deals with your particular make of car. You should also be checking your oil level on a weekly basis. Checking the oil is incredibly simple, all you need to do is pop the hood and locate the dipstick. If you aren’t too sure what this looks like on your car, the owner’s manual should provide the relevant information. You should check the engine oil level when the car is cold to give a more accurate reading, checking when the engine is warm will mean that there will be oil distributed all around the engine and not located entirely in the sump (which is where most of the oil drains to when the engine isn’t running). Take out the dipstick, wipe it off on an old rag or paper towel and then replace it fully. Withdraw it again and check where the oil comes up to on the dipstick. There should be an upper and lower line, and you want the oil to be in between these. If it is quite close to the lower line, or below it, you will need to top up the oil. Be sure to top up with the same brand of oil as is in the car already, mixing brands can cause the different additives to not work well together and can damage your engine.
Changing a tyre
This is another incredibly simple and essential piece of information regarding your car. Everyone should know how to change a tyre. Punctures rarely occur at a time that suits you and waiting for breakdown recovery to come and help you could take hours, not to mention that you could get your puncture somewhere out of signal range. Every car will come with a spare wheel (sometimes a smaller version called a space-saver wheel), a jack, and a wrench. Simply park your car on a level surface, put it into gear if it’s a manual or park if it’s an automatic, and apply the hand brake. Then you need to loosen the nuts on the offending wheel suing the wrench. These will be pretty tight, but most wrenches are extendable to allow you to make use of a larger lever arm. After you’ve loosened the nuts, jack up the car at the proper jacking point until the tyre is about an inch off the ground. Take the nuts off, switch the wheels, then finger tighten the nuts. Release the jack, then when the car is on the ground you can use the wrench to tighten the nuts. Make them as tight as you can for now, when you go to get the puncture repaired the mechanic can put the nuts on to the correct torque setting. Space-saver wheels are not designed to travel at high speed or for long distances, but either way, you should get the puncture repaired or the tyre replaced as soon as possible.
There you have it, three simple pieces of information that are crucial to the continued care of you and your vehicle. A car is an incredibly complex piece of machinery and needs the right amount of attention. Look after it right, and it will never let you down.
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