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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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