Daily Traffic Alerts

How Much Do You Really Know About Your Car?

A traffic jam during an overcast evening

Your car is one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make. You rely on it for essential transportation every day… but, honestly, how much do you know about it?

Basic Details

You should be able to tell someone your car’s make, model, color, year and plate number. That info includes whether you’ve got an SE, LE, or any other initials after the name. Many of these details are vital for parts and service.

And if your vehicle is ever lost, wrecked, or stolen, you’ll need to be able to provide the information to the police and your insurance company.

Do you know all of that off the top of your head? I’ll be honest–I had to look outside to check my license plate number!

Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Realistically, most of us aren’t ever going to read our cars’ manuals from cover to cover. However, that little book contains a wealth of information that can save you a lot of money in the long run.

For example, knowing your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule will help you figure out when to change the oil, replace fluids and filters, and other tasks. You can also find out the right type of oil and gas to use, as well as look up your recommended tire pressure.

Anti-Lock Brakes and Electronic Stability Control

You’ve heard the term “anti-lock brakes,” but do you know what it actually means? Vehicles that are equipped with ABS will not lock up during braking, which will help you retain greater control in the event that you slam on the brakes. It won’t help you stop faster or reduce braking distance, but it will help you continue to steer the car.

All cars produced after model year 2012 are required to be equipped with electronic stability control. ESC helps out if you start to lose traction for any reason, such as skidding out on wet pavement.

Emergency Fixes

Have you ever changed a tire? If not, rest assured that it’s not as difficult as you might think. Look to your trusty manual to find the exact placement of the jack and any other info that’s unique to your car. Then it’s as simple as watching a video and following the instructions exactly.

The other basic fix everyone should know is how to use jumper cables. Dead batteries strike every vehicle from time to time. Having a pair of jumper cables can help you or a stranded motorist get far enough to replace the battery.

Again, you can easily find basic instructional videos for this process–it’s not that hard. You’ll feel like a total hero when the dead car starts!

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