When your teenagers graduate from back seat driving to taking the wheel for the first time, it can be quite an adjustment for both parents and the new driver. Some of what makes a new driver effective is simply experience—time behind the wheel to practice and shake off those rookie blues. But much of it boils down to taking proper care of your car, so that your car can take care of you and keep you safe. Help the new driver in your family ace their time on the roads by sharing these 5 simple tips for vehicle maintenance and service that every new driver should know.
- Get familiar with the driver’s manual. Your car has a manual for a reason—to help you get to know the basics of caring for your particular vehicle. Keep the manual in your glove compartment, and check it whenever you need to know essential information, like the proper pressure for your tires, the regular maintenance schedule recommended for your car, or the meaning of the dashboard lights (it’s all in there). Following the recommendations in the manual can go a long way to ensuring the extended life of your vehicle.
- Schedule regular maintenance. The number one way to help keep your car in good condition is to maintain it. That’s why it pays to plan for your car to be routinely checked every 1-2 years. Regular checkups help you catch problems while they are still small and relatively inexpensive to fix. Plus, regular oil changes are a must. The general rule of thumb is to change the oil every 5,000 miles for newer cars, every 3,000 miles for older cars (2002 and earlier).
- Keep an eye on the tires. Over-inflation, under-inflation, and simple wear and tear can cause you to get fewer miles per gallon as well as making it harder to avoid accidents. Check tire pressure once a month — your driver’s manual or the label inside the driver’s side door lists the preferred pressure for your car. To check tread wear, insert a penny head down in the tread groove. If the top of Lincoln’s head is showing, it’s time to get new tires.
- Maintain your windshield wipers and lights. Both are essential for ensuring you have good visibility, especially in the dark or poor weather. To check the lights, put your car in park and walk around the outside of it to be sure all the lights are working. When headlights or rear lights are out, have the bulbs replaced. If you’re driving in the rain and the wipers are not doing a good job of clearing the windshield, it’s time to replace the blades.
- Pay attention to odd sounds, smells and movements. Your car has a way of letting you know when it needs special maintenance. Unusual sounds such as grinding or knocking, smells such as hot sweet odors or burning rubber, and odd movements such as shaking can be hints of electrical problems, low oil, uneven wheel alignment and more. Dashboard lights that don’t light up, a radio that goes in and out, or an engine that is sluggish to start can hint at battery problems or a blown fuse. The longer you wait to have your car checked out, the more likely it is that the fix will become costly. So, bring these things to the attention of your parents or your mechanic right away.
When you take good care of your car, it will take good care of you, keeping you safe on the roads and saving you money. Kwik Kar Lube and Service Center is committed to helping you to maintain your car at a reasonable price. We offer thorough, detailed, family-oriented service to give you security and peace of mind. Call us anytime at (918) 641-4940, or come visit us for an oil change or routine maintenance—no appointments necessary. We look forward to seeing you.