Today's cars have gotten so go we no longer have to think about things like carrying spare parts, carrying tools or taking night classes to learn how to be a mechanic. Still, there are a few essential skills that every driver should have to cope with driving emergencies or even routine maintenence. We say these are:
- Know how to check tire pressure - use a good tire gauge and always check pressure when your tires are cold. Inflate to the pressure recommended by your car's manufacturer.
- Know how to check fluid levels - you'll find everything you need to know in your owner's manual. Be sure to check your oil monthly, and your transmission fluid and coolant twice per year.
- Know how to change a tire - again, read your owner's manual to find out where the jack and tools are located, and where your car should be raised.
- Know how to jump start a car - remember this sequence: dead battery positive terminal, live battery positive terminal, live battery negative terminal, ground on vehicle with dead battery.
- Know how to handle a tire blowout - first, don't panic. Gently begin to lift off the accelerator, but don't apply the brakes until the car has slowed to 30 mph or so. Let the car coast down in speed, and try to maintain lane position until you can get to the shoulder. Steering input should be very gradual; when you get the car to the shoulder, brake gently until the car comes to a stop.