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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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