Being a driver is not just about being able to manoeuvre your vehicle on the road. There is so much more that goes into maintaining and owning a car. A lot of people have been cruising around without learning these elementary lessons. But it’s not too late.
These five skills below are a must-know for every driver so if you are still a novice in any aspect, then you should probably start learning.
How to change a tire
As a driver, there will come a time when you will need to change a tire. Follow these few steps to fix that.
Step 1: Find a level, solid, well-lit surface and park.
Step 2: Grab the spare, lug wrench and jack.
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Step 3: Lift the car using the jacking point nearest the disabled wheel so the weight of the car is on the jack and the tire is still in contact with the road.
Step 4: Lose the lug nuts (counterclockwise) but don’t remove them. The car should then be jacked up further and the lugs can be removed completely. Remove the tire and wheel.
Step 5: Put the spare on and use your hand to tighten the lug nuts (clockwise). The car should be lowered so the tire is touching the ground. Tighten the lug further using a star pattern (around the wheel, skipping every other lug) to ensure that they fit evenly.
Step 6: Lower the car to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts as snugly as possible and you are good to go.
How to jump start a car
You might need to do this when your car breaks down.
Step 1: Make sure the battery is actually the problem. If the car’s light shine brightly and the starter motor churn with usual ferocity, then the battery is likely the issue.
Step 2: Using your jumper cables, with both cars off, attach one of the red clamps to the positive (+) terminal on the battery that’s presumed bad. Be careful of the other red clamp—it’s now live. Then connect that other red clamp to the positive terminal on the jump car’s battery. The black clamp goes to the negative (-) terminal on the good battery while the other black clamp should go to an unpainted steel surface on the stalled car, to be grounded.
Step 3: Start the car with the good battery. The battery on the good car will then start the disabled car.
Step 4: Start the dead car. Remove the cables and drive on along.
3. How to check tire pressure
You need to know that your tires are properly inflated.
Step 1: Take the gauge to each tire. Remove the valve stem cap.
Step 2: Press the gauge flat against the valve stem and the gauge will read the pressure.
Step 3: Add air and recheck pressure until the tires are at their correct inflation. Do not overinflate.
Tire pressures should be checked at least once a month.
4. How to check your oil
The oil is there to lubricate your car and it serves a very important purpose.
Step 1: Warm the car so the oil can be warmed to normal operating temperature.
Step 2: Park the car and switch the engine off for five to ten minutes.
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Step 3: Open the hood, pull out the dipstick. The long shaft of metal should be covered in engine oil. Wipe that off with a clean rag.
Step 4: Reinsert the dipstick and pull out again. You will find the markings that show where the normal oil level should be. If there is oil on the mark, then you’re good. If it is below the mark, add tiny bits of oil at a time until you reach the appropriate level.
5. When your car is stuck (in mud or sand)
You just drove into thick muck or sand, what do you do?
Step 1: DO NOT spin the tires. This will just dig a deeper hole.
Step 2: Put something in the intended path of the wheels — palm fronds, branches, towels, wood blocks, etc and proceed slowly.
For more techniques to make you a better driver, watch the video below.