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10 Basic Car Maintenance Tips To Keep You On The Go

10 Basic Car Maintenance Tips To Keep You On The Go

Regular maintenance of a vehicle can really make all of the difference in longevity and overall performance. Taking time to perform these tips on your car will keep you on the go and will help to ensure safety. Keeping on top of these areas of maintenance can also save you some major dollars, caused by a major breakdown, or worse—a road accident.

Remember, if you are unsure about performing any of these procedures yourself, ask a friend for assistance, or seek a car professional or service specialist for help.

Oil

Car engine oil reduces friction on the moving parts of the engine and assists in dispersing heat. It acts as a sealant between piston rings and cylinder liner, preventing combustion pressure from escaping. It also acts as a rust inhibitor and detergent. To maximize engine performance, oil levels should be checked regularly. Oil should only be topped off with the correct type of oil for your engine, while staying below the maximum fill line.

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Tires

Maintenance on car tires is essential for up-keep and safety of your vehicle. Tires should be checked on a regular basis and before long trips. Check inflation every 2 weeks when cold. The owner’s manual will give you the correct pressure to inflate too.

If you notice abnormal wear patterns, this indicates misalignment or suspension problems. Steering vibrations indicate that the tires might need balancing, and the tires should always have a minimum of 1.6 mm in their tread depth.

Power Steering

Inspect the power steering fluid regularly to make sure that it is filled to capacity. This can be checked via the reservoir indicated in the owner’s manual. Use only the recommended fluid. Never overfill the reservoir. If this fluid needs filling regularly, contact a specialist because this might indicate a larger problem with the car.

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Batteries

Your car battery is the key component in the electrical system and if not maintained or replaced, can cause breakdowns. Ensure that it is working properly by checking the battery terminals which should be clean and tight.

Check that the battery is secure. Consider replacement if it has been 3 or 4 years depending on recommended longevity. Make sure that the electrolyte level is right. Top it off only with distilled water.

Lights and Electrical Components

These are vital to every vehicle. Electrical components power features including your horns and windows. You should check your lights regularly to make sure that they work, use only the recommended bulbs (globes), and test the horn and window demisters regularly as well.

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Transmission

Transmission fluid levels should also be filled to the correct level. Fluid should not be discolored or burnt. Again, refer to the car manual or look up online, the correct type of fluid to use. Care of your transmission can prevent one of the most costly car services — the replacement of your gearbox. Maintenance here will save time and money on this larger problem.

Cooling

Inspect the cooling system while the engine is cold. Do not ever remove a radiator cap when the engine is hot. Check the coolant level regularly. Again, only refill with the recommended type for the car. If the system is requiring a regular refill in the cooling system, there might be a leak.

Brakes

Brakes that squeal, grind, or vibrate can indicate that they need replacing. Slow to respond brake performance will also indicate that they are worn down. Check to make sure that the brake fluid is full, and only use the recommended brake fluid.

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Paint and Exterior Detailing

If you think being meticulous about the paint job of a car is reserved only for fans of the Fast and the Furious, think again. Proper care and maintenance of your car paint work can help protect a car from scratching and natural elements such as tree sap, mud, dirt, bird droppings and more.

Applying a basic car wax essentially provides a barrier over your car paint work. Today there are also chemically engineered car paint coatings which last longer and offer an advanced level of protection.

Why should you consider this type of car maintenance? If you want to retain as much resale value in your vehicle, as well as keep it looking in top condition, the exterior is important to maintain.

Suspension

This is also vital to the safety of the vehicle. Worn suspension can increase stopping distance by up to 20%. The components of the suspension should be checked regularly for signs of physical damage or excess wear. The shock absorbers should be looked over for fluid leaks. The suspension can be checked while driving, by keeping an eye on steering wheel vibrations or even ‘nose diving’ when stopping.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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