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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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