Knowledge is power, right? And this age old adage rings especially true when it comes to automotive matters. As someone whose run out of petrol on the highway in peak hour traffic, popped a tyre in the dark at the bottom of a mountain at 5am and accidentally blown my tyre pressure well over 100, I thought there was no time like the present to pick up some tips and tricks that will help turn me from a damsel to dynamite.
Whilst you should be getting your car serviced regularly (by a trusted mechanic*) to avoid finding yourself in a less than ideal emergent situation, there are some skills every gal should have under her belt in case the aforementioned emergent situation unfolds – because life happens. So I called upon the experts from Ultra Tune Capalaba to help talk us through a few of the basic things every woman should know about her car…
1.) How to change a tyre
Tyres should only be changed on a stable flat surface away from traffic with your vehicle turned off. If you’re on the road, turn on hazard lights and place your car’s reflective roadside safety triangle about 10 metres behind your vehicle (this will often be found with the tyre changing equipment). Apply park brake and fit wheel chocks.
- Locate car jack equipment (usually in the boot of the vehicle – jack, jack handle and tyre iron)
- Loosen wheel nuts using tyre iron before jacking the vehicle up.
- Place jack under vehicle in accordance with the owner’s manual. Raise vehicle until tyre is clear of the ground. It only needs to be 1 or 2cm above the ground.
- Remove wheel nuts and wheel.
- Fit new wheel, tightening wheel nuts.
- Lower vehicle (Remember, always ensure you or anyone else ARE NOT under the car when you lower it.)
- Tighten wheel nuts fully with wheel on ground using tyre iron.
- Stow equipment and wheel securely.
- Drive to your mechanic to have vehicle checked.
2.) How to check tyre pressure
Many service stations have a tyre inflation station. Park vehicle away from other traffic. Turn vehicle off and apply park brake. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or tyre placard for correct pressures.
- Locate the tyre valve and remove the dust cap.
- Unravel air hose and fit the inflator securely over the valve. Some air will escape when doing this.
- Read the pressure gauge to check inflation.
- If needed, depress the lever fully to add air, and a half press to deflate the tyre.
- Remember to replace the dust caps when finished.
3.) How to jump-start a car
Ensure the vehicle is parked in a safe location away from traffic and apply the park brake. When fitting the jumper leads, control the leads to ensure the clamps do not unintentionally come into contact with metal fittings or each other.
- Locate the jumper leads and note that one cable is red (positive) and one is black (negative).
- Locate your vehicle battery (usually under the bonnet – can be in the boot of some vehicles). Ensure that you are careful to correctly identify the positive (+ sign) and negative (- sign) terminals of the battery.
- Place one end of the red lead on the positive terminal of the flat battery and its opposite end on the positive terminal of the good battery. Then place one end of the black lead on the negative terminal of the good battery and its opposite end on the negative terminal of the flat battery.
- Start the motor of the vehicle with the good battery. Wait several minutes and then start the motor of the vehicle with the flat battery.
- Wait several minutes and remove the leads in the opposite sequence you put them on.
4.) How to check Engine Oil level
Checking a vehicle’s Engine Oil level is done with the motor switched off and the vehicle parked on a flat surface. If the vehicle requires oil contact your mechanic.
- Raise the bonnet – ensure that the bonnet is secured so as not to fall onto anyone.
- Locate the Oil Level Dip Stick (may have ‘oil’ on it and be coloured yellow)
- Remove the Dip Stick and wipe off oil with a rag. Identify the ‘low’ and ‘full’ marks.
- Replace the Dip Stick, ensure that it travels fully home and remove again.
- Hold the Dip Stick horizontally so the oil does not flow and check that it is between the low and full marks.
- Replace the Dip Stick.
5.) How to check Automatic Transmission Fluid Level
Similar to Checking oil level with the following changes.
- This level is checked with the motor running. Remove loose garments and jewellery. Keep clear of drive belts and fans.
- Locate Automatic Transmission Dip Stick (may be coloured red)
- Carry on as for checking Oil Level – same method, just different Dip Stick.
*Not sure if your mechanic is pulling the wool over your eyes? Ask them to use Carisma (carisma.io) so they can provide visual reports to their customers. So you get to see exactly what was done, why the work was carried out and even the actual mechanic that worked on it. You get to keep these reports too for your own records. So if you’re thinking of selling your car anytime soon, Carisma reports may be a great way to provide evidence to prospective buyers that your car not only looks good, but everything under the hood is taken care of too.