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Introducing The Ultimate Guide To Car Maintenance

Introducing The Ultimate Guide To Car Maintenance

Think you’ve got a problem with your car? Here’s a new, handy interactive resource to help you to diagnose what’s wrong.

How confident are you when it comes to maintaining your car? Not very? It won’t surprise you to learn that you’re not alone.

Research from Gocompare, for example, has shown that:

  • Under half (49%) of drivers know how to change a tire (tyre).
  • Just 56% know the recommended tire pressure for their car.
  • Only 21% of motorists walk around their vehicle and do basic checks on it before setting off on a trip.
  • Only 66% of drivers have their vehicle regularly serviced.

Perhaps it’s not all that surprising — modern cars are so safe and reliable it’s little wonder many of us have no idea how to perform simple maintenance tasks on them. But actually knowing how to carry out basic car checks is one of the best ways to keep your car in ship-shape and roadworthy — and, having a little in-depth knowledge will really help if you break down unexpectedly on the motorway.

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Ultimate guide to car maintenance

Thankfully, help is at hand. If you don’t know your car jack from your tire pump, take a look at the Ultimate Guide To Car Maintenance, developed by the experts at car repair comparison website Who Can Fix My Car.

The in-depth, clickable resource covers many common car maintenance hiccups, plus how-to guides for more challenging problems, all packed with expertise from mechanics. If you want to know about low tire pressure, fix your windscreen wipers, or change a spark plug, you’ve come to the right place.

In a nutshell:

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  • Information about more than 20 common car problems
  • 5 in-depth resource sections
  • Advice and insight from mechanics across the country — as well as their favourite driving songs!

Expert mechanics

Mark Lowe, MS Autos, Bournemouth

Drew Irvine, Thomsons Auto Centre, East Kilbride

Shajib Haque, Fastlane Station, Milton Keynes

Patrick Patel, Automotive Components Specialist, Enfield

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How to use the guide

After clicking Start, just move your mouse around the car until you find a problem relevant to you. Whether it’s something under the bonnet or a problem with the tires, get the symptoms of each problem and what to do about it.

At the bottom of the screen you’ll see 5 how-to guides — these are a little more in-depth, going into more detail about each problem. Find out the tools you need to do the job, read the step-by-step walkthrough and get some key dos and don’ts. Each section — from how to change your car’s tire to how to change your car’s spark plugs to how to change the battery — is brought to you by professional mechanics on the database, so you can be assured that you’re getting top-notch advice from leading professionals.

Diagnose the problem, get it fixed, and get back on the road!

It’s important to note that if you’re not confident with performing a fix properly or if you run into any difficulty, make sure to contact a local mechanic for help.

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Here’s a few titbits from the guide:

  • As we’re approaching winter, check you car’s tires are at the right pressure — this will help with grip on the roads.
  • Check your fluid levels every 2 months.
  • Check your lights regularly, particularly in the winter months.

“We spoke to our network of mechanics to get their advice on how best to fix some common car problems,” said Alex Rose, Who Can Fix My Car’s marketing director.

“It’s important to keep on top of your car — performing simple maintenance checks regularly and knowing how to fix some common problems keeps your car in check and gives you peace of mind.”

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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