Earning a driver’s license is almost a rite of passage for young Americans. There’s a sense of freedom in being entrusted to independently drive a vehicle, and it’s a privilege that more than 15 million individuals experienced in the last five years. Much of the work leading up to passing a driver’s exam centers on learning how to safely operate an automobile, but the lessons don’t stop there. Car maintenance also is a key part of using a vehicle. Here are two important upkeep items that new drivers need to know.
Clean the Car
A dirty car is more than a cosmetic concern; it’s a matter of safety. Tires accumulate tar, mud and other harmful particles that can damage the rubber and lead to reduced performance or even blow-outs. Windows, mirrors and windshields can become covered in streaks and smudges, which impair a driver’s visibility. The decrease in reaction time from having to change position to get a clearer view could be the difference between arriving safely or experiencing a collision.
Washing and waxing is an important part of preserving a vehicle’s paint. It not only makes an automobile look nice, but also prevents damaging materials from potentially eating through the metal and requiring costly repairs. A quick and easy visit to a drive-through car wash can help keep you and your car safe.
Change the Oil
Perhaps no maintenance task is more vital than changing the oil at regular intervals. Over time, oil becomes dirty and will eventually cause the engine to run hot. Failing to replace the oil will cause inefficiency, damage to engine components and possibly even necessitate a costly engine replacement. Many engines can now go 5,000 to 7,000 miles between oil changes, but drivers should always check his or her vehicle’s instruction manual for recommended schedules.
Driving a car is a big responsibility. Knowing the rules of the road is important, but so, too, is understanding vehicle maintenance.