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11 Car Care Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

11 Car Care Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

Cars can run reliably for thousands of miles without trouble, but you may be surprised one day if your car won’t start or its engine overheats. With regular maintenance and a few car care hacks, you can help prevent major vehicle issues — and know what to do if you encounter trouble on the road. You don’t have to be a mechanic or car aficionado to master these 11 essentials for vehicle care and preparedness.

Preventative car maintenance is the best thing you can do to keep your vehicle running smoothly for longer, prevent unexpected breakdowns, and save money on future repairs. Think of these maintenance basics like checkups at the doctor — helping your car stay healthy by tackling small problems before they get worse.

1. Change the Oil

Your car owner’s manual will specify how often you should change the oil. Experts recommend at least every 10,000 miles, but this varies depending on weather conditions, the type of oil you use, and your driving habits.

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2. Check the Fluids

Regularly check your car’s fluids — including coolant, brake, power steering, transmission, and windshield wiper. The easiest way to remember is to check each time you change your oil. Consult your owner’s manual for specific directions on how to check these fluids.

3. Measure the Air Pressure

Examine your tires’ air pressure once a month using a tire gauge. Review your owner’s manual to find the recommended air pressure for your tires, and add or release air if needed. Always check the pressure when your tires are cold, as heat causes air to expand and can create an inaccurate reading.

4. Test the Battery

Test your car battery every three to five years. The easiest option is an open circuit voltage test. After your engine has been turned off for at least 12 hours, you or a mechanic can connect a multimeter, voltmeter, or other battery tester to the car battery and read the voltage.

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5. Listen to the Brakes

Squeaks, grinds, vibrations, or a slow response are signs your brakes need replacing. Keep your brake fluid levels full and talk to a mechanic to see if it’s time to replace the brake pads, which is usually needed every 50,000–70,000 miles.

6. Inspect the Suspension System

If you notice your car rides roughly, drifts or pulls during turns, or dips when braking, it may be time for a suspension fix. The simplest way to check is to conduct a bounce test. When your car is in park, push down on the hood a few times with all of your weight, and then release. Do the same on the rear. If your car rocks more than three times after you release, the suspension is wearing out.

7. Make an Emergency Kit

 Just as you keep a first aid kit at home, keep some essentials in your car for roadside emergencies. Create an emergency kit with tools to detect and fix problems. Some of the basics include jumper cables, a flashlight, a spare tire, tow straps, a jack, a wrench, pliers, and a screwdriver.

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8. Keep Contact Information Handy

You never know when your phone may die or lose reception. Store a spare phone car charger, a state map, and a physical list of emergency contacts — including family, friends, your insurance company, and roadside assistance.

9. Use Hazard Lights

You may experience a breakdown on the road even if you properly maintain your car. Learning about common car problems can make it less stressful if you experience a breakdown, and following a few simple steps can help you stay safe if you face car trouble on the road. Turn on your hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road to get out of traffic. If your car stops in the middle of the road, don’t enter traffic and push it to the shoulder.

10. Call Roadside Assistance

Call roadside assistance if it is included in your insurance policy — make sure you know what your coverage includes. Have your insurance card on hand and, if you aren’t familiar with your location, make note of any landmarks that can help a tow truck locate your car.

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11. Remain in Your Vehicle

Stay in your vehicle until help arrives. Don’t try to fix the problem, as you could cause more damage. If you must leave your car to locate a call box, leave a note on the dashboard to avoid your car being towed without you.

Conclusion

Simple car maintenance can go a long way in preventing serious problems. But even if you experience trouble, knowing what steps to take can help you be better prepared. Whether your next drive is commuting to work or a cross-country road trip, enjoy the ride with fewer worries!

Featured photo credit: dothash.buzz via dothash.buzz

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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