Owning your first car is a remarkable feeling. It’s like a true rite of passage, from your high school years into maturity. If you’ve had a few summer jobs or two, and managed to buy it from your own money, then all the better! This is your first real investment into your future. Great care must be taken with your new vehicle though, as if you don’t make sure to maintain its working condition, you’ll end up with some headaches.
We already have articles on our blog about how to handle common car issues, covering aspects such as: changing your engine oil & your brake fluid, properly giving it a thorough wash, changing a tire in case of a blowout, handling windshield issues during winter, making sure you get your ADAS sensors calibrated, and more. These are more in-depth guides covering one topic though, In this article, we want to give you a rundown of some other key aspects that you should take into consideration. These will help you both to stay safe on the open road, and keep your car in top shape as well.
1. Pay Close Attention To Your Speedometer
We know you’ve heard this one time and time again. “Don’t go speeding out there!”. Well, it’s because it really is true. Speeding can be very dangerous, especially if you’re doing in a school area, where the chances of an accident are that much higher. Just keep it slow and steady; one indicator you’re going too fast is if a car on a neighboring lane is slowing down, even if they’re not about to turn. They might be giving way to a pedestrian or knowing that you’re supposed to go slower in that area, so follow suit and slow down.
Likewise, you might have a certain “perception of low speed” while on the highway, because all the cars are in fact going very fast. Make sure to give your car time to slow down before approaching an exit, or you risk skidding and endangering yourself.
2. Get Accustomed To The Position Of The Wheels
Sometimes, you’ll just drive over a pothole, that’s a given, especially if it’s nighttime and you’re less likely to see it. However, bear in mind that repeated occurrences of such things can damage your vehicle’s suspensions. We know it’s difficult to “feel the wheels” without experience, but there are advantages to learning as fast as possible, and it’ll rid you of common car issues. If there are any obstacles in the road for example, you’d be forced to slow down and carefully maneuver around them if you don’t know where the wheels actually are. And sadly, sometimes “slow & steady” just isn’t possible, having instead to take quick action in order to avoid a collision.
Bonus tip: Don’t turn the steering wheel before making a turn; whether it’s a left or a right turn, move the position of your wheels only when it’s required to do so in order to make the turn. Otherwise, your car can become hard to steer depending on weather conditions, and if you’re hit from behind, it’s going to be uncontrollable.
3. Be Weary Of Big Rain Puddles
We’re not talking about the little puddles here, the kind that would just get your shoe sole wet, of course. These would be the big puddles that would splash everyone around you if you were to drive fairly fast through them. It would of course be admirable if you took care with driving even through the smallest puddles, so you don’t splash pedestrians with water, but it won’t affect your car’s well-being if you don’t.
Speeding through a significant puddle however can cause aquaplaning, where your vehicle is suddenly hard to control because it’s no longer on an even, solid surface, designed for driving. In an unluckier case, water can even get to your ignition system. As such, if you happen to drive through a puddle quickly by mistake (and you still have control of your vehicle), brake a few times while keeping your foot on the gas pedal so that you cause a bit of friction, and as a result, heat (so that the water is removed from the brake pads).
Bonus tip: Always use your handbrake when parking. Yes, always. Whether you’re parking on Mount Everest or the straightest road you’ve ever seen. There are many variables at play at once in a big city, and you never know when that handbrake is going to save your car from leaving its parking spot on its own. Just make sure to put the handbrake back down, as driving like that will damage the brake pads. Additionally, if you’re in freezing weather, there is a risk that the brake pads will freeze if you use them for prolonged periods of time.
4. Always Check Your Mirrors
Assume your normal driving position, and make sure that your side-view mirrors are adjusted correctly. How do you do that? Quite easy, actually. Drive in reverse past a parked car; when it’s out of the mirror view, it should be in your peripheral vision. If it’s not, there’s a blind spot.
The first step to remediate this is to adjust it in such a way that you can’t see your own car in it. Proceed with further adjustments from there, and also take a minute to position your rear-mirror so that the entire back windshield of your car is entirely visible. Also, remember to pull down the little lever under your rear-view mirror at night (this places it into “night mode”, so that you won’t be blinded by powerful headlights behind your car).
Bonus tip: When parking perpendicularly, you can turn off the engine once the curb is under your side mirror. When performing a parallel parking, do it in reverse, so that you’ll be able to see the curb in your side mirror. Scratching your vehicle and damaging your paint or feeling your entire vehicle bump because it hit the curve when attempting these two parkings is one of the most common car issues. However, you’ll see they’re actually very easy to pull off if you just attempt them accordingly.
5. Keep Your Eyes on The Road
Yes, we know you’ve also must have heard many times by now to not check your phone while driving, but it’s because that’s good advice! It only takes a split second of not paying attention for something tragic to happen. Whoever is calling or texting you will be happy to wait for a reply if it guarantees your safety.
What we recommend to do instead of fiddling with your phone is to keep a close eye on the cars ahead of you. If they make sudden turns, it’s a perfect indicator that something’s blocking the road, be that an accident or otherwise, and you should follow their behavior.
We hope that you’ve found the above tips helpful, and that you’re taking maximum advantage of your new vehicle! Should you ever run into a situation where you need an auto glass repair or replacement for your side windows or your windshields, our friendly customer care experts await your call at (480) 525-6554.