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You woke up this morning to a sunny, breezy spring day. It's days like this when you want to simply stay in bed, but you have a strong desire to be able to buy groceries, pay monthly bills, which of course includes your new car payment, so you roll out of bed and head to the bathroom to start your morning, but wondering why life was so unfair and you were not born into a wealthy family!
Today you need to go and get your oil changed and monthly maintenance on your car. This is your first new car so it's important to keep her looking good, plus keeping your car in tip top shape also makes you not dread making the payment each month. Looking out the window, you see your car beaming in the sun and it
makes you feel good to be able to afford to have bought it. Your smiling with pride as you head out the door to work.
Keeping your car in tip top shape doesn't have to be a dreaded chore or expensive upkeep. Many people I know have the tendency to become "a shade tree mechanic" once your warranty runs out, but they need to remember that cars and trucks are not necessarily built like the older models that our Dad's could maintain at home. Gone are the days when you could slide under your car with a couple of tools and slide back out with a small part that needs replaced in your hand.
Cars today are born with computers, made by robots and the car just doesn't work the same way as it did.
At one time you could stick a key in it and crank her up and be ready for a road trip, but today many cars don't have keys, they are simply started with a touch of a button, which of course makes it difficult for the "shade tree mechanic" to be able to remove a part and replace it with a new one and put you back on the road quickly without special tools. We may not be able to work on our cars as we did, but there are few things all new drivers need to know how to do before getting on the road.
Mechanic's 101 is something we all need to know about. When my daughter first started driving there were seven things we wanted to make sure she knew how to
do in case she became stranded on the road.
#1 Changing a flat tire. Sounds simple, but once you actually do it, you learn quickly its not that easy to do, but in the driveway with no help from Dad who of course was standing by, she learned to change it. Try to picture a female teenager who doesn't like to get dirty change a tire for the first time. Let's just say that yes she became frustrated and Dad almost stepped in and took over, but after a few broken nails and greasy hands she was all smiles when she did it all by herself!
#2. Be able to change your oil or check on it. We recommended that she go to a shop to have it changed, but she needed to know how to check to see if it was low.
#3. Check and adjust tire pressure. It can be dangerous to drive on tires that are over or under inflated, plus it can affect the gas mileage.
#4. Know how to change the windshield wiper fluid. You will be able to drive better if you can see out of your windshield.
#5. Replace windshield wiper blades. This can be very important, especially if you live in weather that has a lot of snow and rain. Make sure your blades or not old and are in good working order at all times. You can get the sizes in a book at the auto store and yes sometimes the staff will help you replace them, but not always so know to do it.
6#. Know how to jumpstart or change a battery and always have battery cables in your trunk, you will never know when you will need them.
#7. Know what to do if you do break down. Make sure you always have your roadside assistance card and number handy or your emergency numbers to call. Be sure to have your updated car insurance card and driver license easy to find. Make sure you are on the side of the road and not in the way of traffic. Make sure your cell phone is charged so you can make the necessary calls to get help. Just remember try to remain calm, help is on the way and this is not the end of the world! Plus stay off your cell phone, you need to makes sure the battery stays charged, so this is not the time to play on facebook while your waiting for help. Stay safe, keep all doors locked until help arrives,
I feel better now knowing she knows how to take care of herself if or when she breaks down, but it also doesn't hurt to have in your car a first aid kit, water, blankets, flashlight and maybe crackers just in case you are stranded for a longer time then expected.
With all this knowledge I feel happy and content to say it's time now to enjoy your new freedom and start making your on road trip memories!