Whether you’ve been driving since you were 17 or have just passed your driving test, it’s always exciting to get behind the wheel. But passing your test and being road-legal is only half of it. As a new car owner, with all its fancy gadgets, gizmos, and forgiving heated seats, you need to know how to keep it running, amongst a whole host of other demands. Here are five things all new car owners should know.
Yes, the fuel. The thing that gets you going. The thing that you need to keep in the car to ensure it goes as far as you need it to be. Whether you purchase a vehicle with petrol or diesel performance, you must know the type of fuel for the car.
Putting the wrong fuel in the tank, you risk damaging the crankshaft and conrods, and could even get into the oil, putting further strain on the vehicle and breaking it. As diesel does not evaporate the same way that petrol does, your car will not operate the way you need it to. It seems like a simple thing, but it still happens more regularly than many drivers would like to admit. When purchasing the car, ask the type of fuel it uses and remember what it is when you go to the gas station.
How to Change a Tyre
Every car should come with a spare tyre. This isn’t a problem with brand new models, but second-hand vehicles may not have the spare you need. This is a problem should you get a flat tyre, so check that you have a spare when going out.
You should also learn how to change a tyre. There are plenty of online tutorials to learn how to do this. You don’t want your first tyre change to be on the side of the road in the rain, though, so take some time to learn at home and practice until you get everything right. You should also keep a tool kit in the car to replace a flat wherever you are.
What Does the Dashboard Mean?
The dashboard is not just for showing off how fast you are tearing down the highway. There is a range of icons and lights that will come on that alert you when the car requires essential maintenance. These lights can include your oil, low fuel, or low pressure in the tyres.
When these lights come on, it’s tempting to panic. You might worry your car could break down at any second. However, while these lights indicate that you must do something soon, you should still be able to make it to your destination. You mustn’t ignore the warnings; otherwise, your car will break down before you know it.
You’ve Crashed. Now What?
Hopefully, you are never involved in a collision whether a minor scrape or something more severe. Even if you are the most cautious driver on the road, though, there is no guarantee that other drivers are the same.
Should you be involved in a collision, you should act quickly. Get out of the road, put your hazard lights on, and get out the car. You should check for injuries for anyone in your vehicle and the other, and get the information you need. Take photographs of any damage and speak to the other driver. Never admit fault, as this could affect your insurance claim. It may also be worth investing in a dashcam to protect you if you are involved in a crash.
Much like a collision, you also don’t want to be pulled over by the police. But let’s say you do. What are your rights? The officers will ask for your license and registration, so make sure you have these. If you don’t, you are usually permitted seven days from the day of the stop to present them to the relevant authorities.
You may also receive a fixed-penalty notice, and if you have been driving erratically, then they may request a breath test. If they have a suitable reason, they may also impound your vehicle. For minor infractions, such as a broken tail light, you will be required to fix it as soon as possible.
Safe On the Road
It doesn’t matter if you’re going on a road trip, picking the kids up from school, or taking a casual late-night drive to clear your head; you must understand how your car works and what to do if anything unexpected happens. Of course, you don’t want anything to go wrong, but you can, at the very least, make sure you are prepared if something happens.