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5 Things I Learned After My Car Broke Down

5 Things I Learned After My Car Broke Down

My story starts on a country road where I was driving one gloomy Thursday afternoon. I had finished some errands in a town next to mine and was on the way back home when I heard a suspicious noise coming from under the hood of my car. Suddenly, I started slowing down and the vehicle didn’t react to me pressing the gas pedal.

Pulling over on the side of the road was the only thing to do. I was facing a car breakdown for the first time in my life. The possibility of this happening never even crossed my mind so naturally I was beyond surprised and shocked. Luckily my hometown was nearby so I called up a friend who towed me to the nearest mechanic shop.

It turned out that my engine was thrashed, and with a hefty amount of money paid, the mechanic got it running again. He warned and advised me about a few things considering my car maintenance (I admit, I was irresponsible), and told me I should take better care. This misfortune also made me think about different scenarios, for example, what if I had been on a road trip in the middle of nowhere when this happened? Or even worse, have a baby in the car?

This situation would produce a whole different set of problems and potential dangers. Ultimately this event was a learning experience, and it made more cautious and mindful when it comes to using cars. We should all be more aware of this; we don’t need to get stranded to learn to be more careful, right?

Here are some things I realized after my car broke down:

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1. Never neglect car oil changes

    This was one of my major errors, mostly due to lack of knowledge. So please learn from my mistake and change your oil regularly, according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations. Why is this important? Well, over time the oil gets dirty and runs through the engine leaving all sorts of nasty bits and sludge everywhere.

    If this keeps going on for some time, the normal functioning of the engine will be compromised by the dirt which has built up, and the oil will not be able to reach all the necessary spots. This will eventually lead to a breakdown. You also need to know which type of oil is best for your vehicle.

    Lately, many manufacturers and auto professionals have been recommending synthetic oil, because of its superior qualities compared to regular ones. It keeps the engine running smoothly and prolongs its lifespan, but you should know that it also costs a bit more. Still, purchasing the best synthetic oil will benefit you so much in the long term, that it justifies the cost.

    2. Perform regular maintenance of the car

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      Changing the oil might be the most significant thing to do for the engine, but your car is composed of many more components which also need to be looked after. For example, checking the battery, getting the tires aligned and rotated, replacing the spark plugs, etc. because, malfunctioning of a single part could prevent your vehicle from working.

      The good news here is that many of these checks you can do by yourself with just a bit of education and effort, so getting familiar with the automobile’s functions is quite useful. Unless you are a mechanic, it is also vital to take your vehicle to a general service from time to time.

      The frequency of these services is usually determined by a time period or a certain mileage (e.g. every two years or every 20,000 miles), so whichever it is, be sure to respect it.

      Since my misfortunate event occurred unexpectedly, my car was a complete mess when leaving to the mechanics’ garage. I admit it, I haven’t paid attention to car cleaning regarding maintenance, so I was pretty surprised when I saw my car got cleaned perfectly.

      Why am I telling this? Some places charge this service additionally and don’t even inform you. To prevent this, get a good car vacuum cleaner, and clean your car from time to time.

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      3. Have means of communication available at all times

        If it wasn’t for my cell phone I could have been stranded at the roadside for hours. Of course, these days it is common sense to bring your mobile everywhere you go, which is a good thing in this case, but that doesn’t leave you safe.

        An empty battery can happen to anyone so it would be smart to bring a portable battery charger or a fully charged spare phone battery which you can simply keep in the glove box of the car.

        Now, if you are venturing out into the wilderness be aware that there might not be mobile service available. In this case make sure to bring a satellite phone with you, because it can be a life saver since there will not be many strangers to ask for help in the middle of nowhere.

        4. Bring food and water everywhere you go

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          It is common to bring snacks and sandwiches if you are going on a field trip or a long drive, but I would suggest having some sort of sustenance in your car available in at all times. In the case of a breakdown who knows how long you might have to wait for help, so it’s better to be safe than sorry, hungry or thirsty.

          When it comes to drinks, the obvious choice is regular water. You can buy it in bottles, place them under the seat, and it will be there any time you need it. Another option is to get a larger container and keep it in the trunk. As far as food is concerned, going for canned products might be recommendable because they have a long shelf life and are easy to store.

          As far as food is concerned, going for canned products might be recommendable because they have a long shelf life and are easy to store.

          5. Keep a cool head

            Panic, anger and worry will never bring you any good in a situation like this. Whether you’re vehicle stops in the middle of the city or middle of the forest, the procedure you need to follow is pretty much the same. First, take a breather and accept the situation; you are where you are. Next, think of the first logical thing to do.

            Depending on your current location this step might vary, but it usually involves getting some help. Last but not least, have faith that everything is going to work out just fine. Sure some money and time might be sacrificed, but try to see the bright side, and LEARN from this experience. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

            Whether we liked it or not, mishaps occur and some things in life are just out of our control. It is your duty to be prepared for any scenario, and your chances of solving the problem faster and more easily will be increased. Try to view negative situations as a challenge and an opportunity to grow wiser, because only difficulties will give you the chance to do that. At the end of the day, at least you will have a nice story to share.

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            Dejan Kvrgic

            Blogger, Writer

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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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