Recently I have experienced some tragic car troubles including but not limited to a broken radiator, a malfunctioning fuel pump, and a cracked rim. This past year has taught me many things, the main one being - just because I am a girl does not mean I do not need to know somethings about cars. I know many of us young female drivers have the tendency to turn to the men in our lives; our fathers, brothers, boy friends, cousins, and sometimes pricey car mechanics to help us with even the most basic issues because well boys know this stuff. Ladies, that is no way to live.
I will admit that I am guilty to immediately texting my own personal encyclopedia of cars, otherwise known as my brother whenever my car makes an unfamiliar sound. Over these past few months I've compiled a list of things I can do just fine on my own. Because I myself am an independent young woman who doesn't need a man (until neither I nor Google can identify the cause of smoke coming from under my hood) I would like to share this knowledge with my fellow independent ladies!
Here are the Top 7 things female drivers should be aware of!
- The car comes with an instruction guide, you should read it.
On a hot summer day. at the young age of 16 I became stuck at work not because it was busy, but because my car had died in the parking lot. I called my father (because guys know cars) and asked him to come help me get my car started. Knowing my dad, I knew I had at least an hour to kill before my dad would arrive even though he was only eight miles away. Fearing my phone would die too, I looked around my car for something to keep me occupied. That was when I found it. In the glove box. Just sitting there, untouched in the six months I had driven the car. The owner's manual. In those sixty minutes, I had become one of the smartest Oldsmobile Alero drivers in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Not only did I learn how to use cruise control, I learned that I could extend my trunk space into my backseat. I learned the type of battery I needed to replace in the dead remote on my key chain. I learned I was three months behind on changing my oil. And I learned everything I needed to know about my car in that small little book it came with.
- Changing a flat tire is not as hard as it looks. My first winter home from college, I decided to go visit an old friend. During a snow storm. In a mini skirt. I knew the car didn't feel right as soon as I took off however I was determined to drive in the snow without making it a big deal. Needless to say, 20 minutes later I pulled into a gas station to give my hands a break from the death grip I had on the frozen steering wheel. Since the car didn't feel right, I decided (after I already left my house) to see if all my tires were okay. It was then I learned that the snow was the least of my problems - I had a flat tire. I immediately called my brother for a step by step guide on how to change a tire. Unfortunately for me, he was busy but I did remember that the owner's manual included a picture diagram of how to change a tire! (What a useful tool..) After spending twenty minutes struggling to get the spare out of my trunk I was just about to call it quits when my mini skirt attracted some male attention and before I knew it, my spare was on in a minute. I suggest practicing in nice weather how to change a tire so that for the times you are caught alone in a snowstorm, you can be prepared.
- Neither is jumping a car. So I personally have never jumped a car but most owner's manuals have a picture guide on how to do that too! Knowing how to do ityourself can save you massive amounts of time, like instead of waiting for your brother, dad, boyfriend, some guy to show up, you can get it done all by yourself in just a few minutes! It's extremely beneficial to know how to jump your car since most of the time you aren't aware your battery is about to die! Hand and hand with jumping your car, it's a good idea to keep a pair of jumper cables in your time. If the time ever comes, you know you'll be prepared! Depending on the cause of you dead battery, it is good to have it checked out just in case. Maybe you left a light on but you may also just need a new battery! Owner's manuals will also help inform you on when the time might come for your battery to be replaced and the type of battery your car needs although I'm sure some guy in the automotive department at Wal-Mart can help you with that too.
- Check your tires - they are key on an autoMOBILE. I once spent almost two months driving around on a cracked rim which lead to me once spending almost $300 just to get a new rim and tire. Your tires are key to having a mobile car. Even if the engine explodes, if the back two tires are good it can still be moved! Your tires and rims can effect many different parts of your car, none of which females are expected to be aware of however you should be aware that even the smallest tire issue can turn into a massive problem that can lead to spending massive amounts of money to repair all the damages. Most cars have tire pressure sensors anymore so knowing if your tires need air is that much easier. Also most gas station air pumps now have gauges on them to let you know what air pressure your tires are at so you don't take out or add too much air. And guess what else the owner's manual tells you! You may have guessed it, the pressure your tires should be at ! Now I'm no expert and I don't actually know what the numbers stand for however I do know that if my low tire pressure warning light comes up, I need to make sure all my tires are filled to 30. 30 what? I'm not sure. But I am sure that 30 is the number because that is what my owner's manual (and my father) told me.
- Even if you barely use them, your windshield wipers are important. If you're as impatient as I am, I know you've tried to take the ice of your windshield solely using your windshield wipers. Don't lie, we've all tried it. We've also regretted it the next time it snows or rains and we can barely see out of our windshield because our damaged windshield wipers are useless. Ladies. it is crucial to know that when it comes to windshield wipers- size does matter. Leave it to that trusty owners manual that will tell you the two sizes of windshield wipers you need and which side they belong on. I remember the first time I changed my own windshield wipers. Trust me when I say, you can just really tell when they're not on correctly. Especially if it's raining. If your owner's manual doesn't inform you of how to change them, someone has made a YouTube video to help out instead. I myself used eHow.com which made it as easy as changing the grips on my eye lash curler
- Justlike your body needs fluids to function, so does your car. Most of youladies are bright enough to know that cars need oil, but they also need antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, and some car even need power steering fluid. I personally did not read about power steering for my car but your owner's manual would let you know. Most car bloggers and mechanics can tell you what the best stuff to use for your car is if your manual doesn't. Also, don't let the word antifreeze fool you, it's not just a winter thing (I can't be the only one that had no idea or took its title so literally.) That, along with your other fluids should be checked regularly especially if you frequently use your car. Keeping up with stuff under the hood helps your car stay in good shape and running as smooth as possible. Some of these fluids I keep in the trunk of my car such as antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid. All of the fluids (in my opinion) are extremely easy to check and refill. The oil may be a bit messy but just remember to keep multiple rags or paper towels handy when checking it. Many cars today have sensors for these kind of things such as when you need to check your oil or when you're running low on windshield wiper fluid. Your owner's manual will show you where to find the sensors on the dash-board as well as where to find their locations under the hood! Everything is labeled so I mean it when I say it is as easy as dying your hair or shopping for jeans and can take even less time than waiting for your nail polish to dry.
- Emergencies happen, be prepared. Just like you wear a hair tie around your wrist and you keep an extra tampon in your purse, it is important to keep your car supplied with simple things you may need during an emergency. Some things can include a flashlight, jumper cables, a blanket, tissues, and even a first aid kit. You never know what can happen on the road so it's best to be prepared! Also check your car for a spare tire. You may not be able to put it on yourself but it's better to be safe than sorry! I also try to keep at least one bottle of water, an extra pair of shoes, and spare change in my car. These little things can be easily stored away out of sight and one day may be more valuable than we realize.
These are just a few things I feel every girl should know if they have a ca. I hope if you got anything out of this post, it was to at least glimpse over your owner's manual. You could learn something useful, or even just something to strike up a conversation with a guy. Either way I'm positive the guys in your life will be at least a little impressed if you chime into their conversation and actually know what you're talking about. Better yet, if there's no one around, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to help yourself.
I would like to take this time to thank my Oldsmobile Alero's owners manual for containing everything there is to know about my car, my father for always being the one to fix it and telling me the random things you learn with experience, my mother for all the car parts, and my brother for his knowledge on cars, support, and the inspiration for this post.
*This post was originally featured on bricruzblog.wordpress.com !