5 Things Drivers Must Know About Their Car
by Maddi Butler
You spend a lot of time and money in and on your car. This is why it’s important to know how to care for it properly. However, the guidelines, road rules, and even sheer number of parts in a car are intimidating.
Luckily, drivers don’t need to know every single thing about their cars. Knowing a few basic but important facts can help you keep your car healthy. Here are five must-know facts to remember about your car.
Year, make, and model
It might seem obvious, but you should know the year, make, and model of your car. You’d be surprised just how many people don’t know these things. If you’re one of them, don’t feel bad. Do take note of the year your car was manufactured, what company manufactured it, and the car’s model, though.
Not knowing the right information can lead to errors when you get your car serviced or try to buy new parts. The design of a car can change from year to year, so it’s important to get this correct. If you don’t know where to find it, try checking your manual.
Your car’s VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is a 17-digit code that is used to identify manufacturing information. The VIN is used for things like insurance and doesn’t change throughout the life of your car. It’s important to know where to find your VIN, but it’s not something you need to memorize.
Most VINs can be found by looking at the bottom of the driver’s side windshield where the windshield meets the dashboard. If you don’t see the VIN there, try opening the driver’s side door. Some car makers will place the VIN on the inside of the door near where the door latches.
Just like humans, cars need checkups. Keeping up with maintenance is the best way to keep your car running as long as possible. Most cars have a unique maintenance schedule. For example, most cars don’t need an oil change every three months anymore. However, your car’s needs can change over time.
You can usually find the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. Sometimes it is also in the book that comes with the manual. Make sure to read it so you know when to change fluids or parts.
How to care for your tires
It’s easy to ignore the tire pressure symbol lighting up on the dashboard. However, if you see it you shouldn’t ignore it. Driving with low tire pressure makes it more likely that you’ll get a flat or blow out the tire. It also shortens the life of your tires, meaning you’ll have to replace them more often. Nobody wants to do that!
Your owner’s manual will tell you the right tire pressure setting, so be sure to take note. Properly filled tires can last you tens of thousands of miles, so it is absolutely worth paying attention to.
How to read your engine light
Seeing a dashboard light is enough to make anyone anxious, but it doesn’t always mean you’re in immediate danger. Most newer cars use red, yellow, or green/blue indicator lights to convey the severity of the issue. If your light is red or blinking, pull over and get help right away. A yellow light usually indicates that you should get your car checked out as soon as possible. Your owner’s manual will explain exactly what each light means for your specific car. There are a number of things that can trigger the check engine light, from a loose cap to an overheating engine.