There are loads of stuff that you can employ to assure that your vehicle is always in tip top shape, while easing on the budget and saving precious time. Instead of always going to the car shop whenever conks are heard under the hood, why not fix minor car problems on your own?
You’re not only giving yourself a favor by not going thru the hassle of the long wait to have your car fixed at the local car shop, but you’re also protecting yourself from unscrupulous mechanics who might take advantage of your predicament.
Here are a few tips to get you worry free on the road.
1. Read your car repair manual and other Do it yourself (DIY) books
It wouldn’t hurt for you to take some time off to read and study the ins and outs of your car. You’ll be familiar with the specifications and the proper maintenance of your vehicle. DIY books also abound, providing you the basic and advanced techniques which could save you hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars on repairs.
By reading, you’ll have the ample knowledge to get the job done yourself whenever unpleasant situations arise. Like a bible is to a clergyman, always see to it to have a book or two beside you for quick reference in emergencies.
2. Keep the right tools in your toolbox
It is very important that you use the right tool for the right job because if you use the wrong one, you might end up with broken nuts and bolts or worse, have them worn out.
Here’s a rundown of the basic tool must-haves for your toolbox.
A. Jack and Jack Stands – Conventional for changing tires and fixes under the chassis. Remember to never rely on the jack whenever lifting your car. Always have jack stands on hand for support and safety.
B. Philips and Flat tip screwdrivers- Always have a pair handy for turning loose screws and replacing worn out ones. You can also use these to poke and reach things fallen among tiny and hard to reach corners.
C. Standard and Long nose Pliers- It never pays to have a pair of these handy for gripping and the easy removal of bolts and nuts. These can also be used to hold or clip wires when you’re working on wiring connections.
D. Wrench or Spanner set - Always keep a set to turn bolts, nuts and other hard to turn items. Select the appropriate wrench size and number to that of the bolt and nut you will turn.
E. Wire strippers and cutters- Must-haves for fixing and replacing old worn out wires or stripping them.
F. Standard Tire Wrench/ Iron- A must-have for tire replacement.
G. Towing Cable- Very helpful when you need to be securely towed away in an emergency.
H. A roll of Electrical tape (Preferably fire retardant) – Handy in times of replacing and insulating stripped or worn out wires. Select the fire retardant type as it provides maximum protection and adheres better than the regular type.
I. Spare bulbs- It surely pays to have a spare bulb on hand for sudden shutdowns in important beacons such as signal, safety, break and head lights while driving down dark roads at night.
J. Work light / Flashlight – Very useful to lighten dark nooks and crannies that you’re working on. A work light can either just be a regular flashlight or the kind with nodes that you can tap to the positive and negative terminals of your car’s battery.
K. Tire Inflator – Though this tool may not fit your toolbox, but having one beside it in your baggage is very helpful for mending flat tires while travelling in areas where car shops and gas stations are scarce.
3. Driving routine check ups
Before hitting the ignition keys, a short round up check is helpful to ensure hassle-free and safe driving. A routine check up may be time consuming, but it can save your life and of those you’re travelling with.
A. Check for Water, Break, Steering and Transmission fluid levels. This is to avoid overheating, steering problems or worse, break loss while travelling. Fill up to recommended levels only.
B. Check the Tire pressure. Remember that unequal pressure among your tires will greatly dampen speed and stamina, thereby increasing your car’s fuel consumption.
C. Check the lights. For those who frequently travel at night, a check on all signals and lights is a must. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what dangers await you, driving down that dark road with busted lights!
Relax and safe driving.