BC: Most images from google.com/images
FC: A Woman's Guide to Automobiles: Knowing your car and how to take care of it.
1: Table of Contents | - Dashboard Lights -Tire Problems -Checking Your Oil -Jump Starting Your Car - Keeping Your Car from Overheating -General Safety Tips
2: Your Dashboard Lights and What They Mean: | - The check engine light signifies that there is something minor wrong with the engine, such as; fouled spark plugs, a loose gas cap, or dirty fuel injectors. There is no need to pull over if this light come on while you are driving, but you should take your car to a shop to get it checked out as soon as possible. - This means that your battery is no longer charging. This could be due to a faulty driver belt, or alternator failure. You should pull over immediately and find help. If the problem is with the drive belt, starting your car again without replacing the belt could do serious damage to the engine.
3: -This symbol could mean one of two things. It could mean a defective drive belt. It could also mean that the engine is not properly lubricated. In both cases you should pull over immediately to avoid serious engine damage. - This means that your engine is overheated. You should pullover immediately and let your engine cool for at least 30 minutes. Before starting your car again you should check your coolant levels. - This is a simple reminder that your oil needs to be changed, as it should be every 3000 to 5000 miles (depending on your type of driving). This light is not urgent, but should not be ignored for too long.
4: - This means that a taillight, headlight, or brakelight, turn signal lights and out. It is not necessary to pull over right away, but a police officer may stop you and give you a ticket. It may be due to a blown bulb, bad wiring, or a shorted fuse. - This light simply means that your car is low on windshield wiper fluid. There is no need to pull over if you are driving, but you should refill the container when you return home. - This symbol normally means that your tire pressure is low, but it could mean that one of your tires is either flat or failing. You should pull over, putting slow, gradual pressure on the brake pedal.
5: - This could mean one of two things. It could either mean that you have not fully released the parking brake, or there is a very serious problem with the hydraulics. If this light comes on, first check to see if you have fully released the parking brake. If thats not the problem, then there is something wrong with the hydraulics system and you should not drive your car. - This symbol (also seen as the word OIL) means that your oil has dropped to a dangerously low level. You should pull over immediately, turn off your engine, and check your oil level.
6: - This means that there is something wrong with your airbag system. Normally it has to do with the crash censor. - This means that someone in the car (normally only includes the driver and the passenger) does not have their seat belt on. -This symbol only pops up in bad weather such as rain or snow, and indicates that your car has lost traction with the road and is sliding. You should slow down and take extra precautions while driving.
7: - This symbol means that your anti-lock brake system is faulted. Your brakes should still work and it is still safe to drive, but this problem should not be ignored for long. *Depending on your car, these symbols/warning lights may be different. Your car may also include symbols that are not on the previous pages. If this is the case, you should check your car's manual.*
8: Tire Problems | There are multiple things that could go wrong with your tires. They can be rather high maintenance and should be checked regularly.Here is a list of things that could go wrong with your tires. Problems: 1. Low air pressure 2. A punctured/flat tire 3. Tread wearing down 4. poorly aligned/unbalanced tires
9: Solutions: 1. Low tire pressure can be fixed simply by going to the nearest gas station and pumped with air. 2. If your tire has simply gone flat, then you can change the tire on your own, given you carry a spare and know what you are doing. (if not, see steps to changing your tire on the next page.) If you have a punctured tire, then you could change your tire, or you can take it to a mechanics shop where they can patch the hole and re-inflate the tire. 3. If your tires are worn, it could be for various reasons, and of course, different reasons mean different solutions. For example, If both edges of your tires are worn, they are most likely under-inflated and could use more air. If the center of the tire is worn, its just the opposite. Other types of wearing can be due to speeding around curves, worn shocks, or poor alignment. 4. If your car is making a whining, or thumping noise, or your tires squeal when going around a curve, it is probably due to worn shocks or unbalanced tires. Unfortunately there is not much you can do yourself, and need to take your car into a mechanic shop.
10: Steps to changing a flat tire: | *First you should make sure you always have the necessary tools for changing a flat tire. (lug nut wrench, a car jack, and a spare tire) 1. Pull of to the side of the road, put the car in park, and turn your engine off and hazard lights on. Open the hood of your car so other people driving know that you are pulled over. Make sure you are on a flat surface so your car does not roll. 2. remove the hubcap if needed. Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts in a star pattern. Once they are loosened, place the jack in an appropriate spot (check car manual if you are not sure where to place it) and jack the car up, making sure it is high enough for the new tire to fit.
11: 3. Completely remove the lug nuts and set them aside. Make sure they are somewhere where they won't roll away or get lost. Once they are off, you can carefully remove the tire and also set that aside. 4. Put the new tire in place. Make sure that the air valve on the tire is facing outward. 5. Replace the lug nuts in the same star pattern, tightening them. 6. Carefully lower and the and remove the jack. Once the car in on the ground, go back and re-tighten the lug nuts, again using the star pattern. Make sure they are as tight as possible. 7. If you removed the hubcap, you can now replace it.
14: Checking Your Oil | Checking your oil is a very easy this to do. You simply lift up your hood and find where it says "Engine Oil" (as seen in the picture on the right). That is called the dipstick. You just remove that, wipe it off with a towel, replace it, and pull it out again. Then, you look to see where the oil made a mark on the dipstick. There will be a checkered type pattern at the end of the stick. The oil is at a good level when the mark reaches the top of the pattern.
16: Jump Starting Your Car | Jump starting your car is something that everyone should know how to do. There only a few short steps to remember. 1. Attach one end of the red wire to the positive output of the dead battery and the other side of the red wire to the positive output of the live battery. 2. Now attach one end of the black cable to the negative output of the live battery and the other side of the black wire to an unpainted steel part of the dead car. This is to ground it. 3. Try and start the dead car. 4. If you are successful, remove the clamps in the reverse order in which you put them on.
18: Keeping Your Engine from Overheating | Keeping your engine from overheating is simple, yet very important. A coolant called antifreeze, along with a series of hoses and pumps, and of course, the radiator. But like every other part of your car, the cooling system needs maintenance as well. Every two years, the coolant should be replaced and the radiators should be flushed. This is done using a special chemical that breaks down any build up on the radiator.
20: Safety Tips | Here are a few safety tips that all drivers should know: * Every driver should carry an emergency kit with them at all times. (see picture on next page) *Every driver should know there limits. Some people are able to driver for longer periods of time than others. If you try to drive longer than your limit you could endanger yourself and everyone else on the road. *Do not try to multi-task. Stay focused on the road and don't try to do other things like talking on the phone, texting, or putting on make-up. *Make sure all of your warning lights work each time you get in the car. You can do this by turning the key forward in the ignition but not actually turning the car on.
21: All of your lights on the dashboard will turn on so you can check to see if any of the warning lights do not. If they don't you should take your car to a shop as soon as possible. *Always take care of your car. If a warning light turns on and it is not urgent, that doesn't mean it can forever be ignored. Breaking down may not always be life threatening, but its never fun. It may be impossible to completely avoid, but taking care of your car will greatly lower the chances. *Try to be as passive as possible. If other cars seem to be in a rush, just let them in front of you. Take your time switching lanes, and if someone cuts you off, don't yell or make obscene gestures. Road rage solves nothing and can only ever end badly. *Keep your car clean, especially around your feet and on the dashboard. Messy cars and things sliding around on your dashboard can distract you or affect your ability to properly drive.
23: Every safe driver should know the AAA phone number. Even if you are not a member, they will still come to your rescue in case of breakdowns, keys locked in your car, etc. 1 (800) AAA-2336.