Happy Saturday everyone!
So, I know this is a healthy living/running blog (mostly), but I wanted to write about something else that’s important, but I don’t see much of. Cars! I guess it’s vaguely related to healthy living, since, if you’re like me, you live in your car. Eh, just go with it.
So, say hello to Alice!
Yup, I named my car (who doesn’t?), and yes she’s a girl car (we’re friends, it’s cool). She takes me everywhere, so I want to make sure I take good care of her, so she doesn’t die on the side of the highway somewhere!
When I first learned to drive, my dad made me learn some basic car care skills before I was allowed to get my license. While my 16-year-old self was not too thrilled with this, I’m glad now that he did.
I’m surprised by how many people I meet who really neglect their car. So here are some things I think you should do/know how to do to take care it!
1) Know how to change your oil.
I know it’s a pain, and it’s pretty messy, but it’s good to know how to do it yourself. I don’t do it myself very often, but if you’re familiar with the process, it helps keep you from being taken advantage of at a dealership/car repair place. It does happen, and they’ve tried it on me, but since I knew what they trying to do, I saved myself a good bit of money.
All cars are a little different, but it’s basically the same. Drain the oil (make sure to put it in a container so you can recycle it!), refill with clean oil, replace the oil filter. Make sure to put enough oil back in (with the right kind, please)! Really the only tools you’ll need is a drip pan (for the oil), a wrench, rags, and a funnel (and maybe a strong arm ;)). It’s hard to describe the specifics in a blog, but there’s probably someone in your life who can show you how to do it if you don’t already know how.
2) Change your air filter. This is super duper easy in most cars, but Jiffy Lube will easily charge you twice the cost of the actual filter to do it. Just do it yourself. Your car manual will show you exactly how it’s done and you can pick up the filter at Wal-Mart or AutoZone.
3) Learn to change a tire. Hopefully this is not a skill you will need to use, but if you do need, it you will be SO GLAD you know how. Your car comes with all the tools needed to do this (spare tire, jack, wrench), so it’s just a matter of getting it done. Jack the car up (that sounds dirty, sorry), get the wheel off (don’t lose the lug nuts!), put the spare on, put the lug nuts back on. The key is to put them on in a star pattern, and get them really tight. You don’t want it coming off! Most spares are basically designed to get you to a place where you can get a new real tire, so you can’t be going anywhere fast on that thing. Also, it is not permanent. Unless specifically stated otherwise.
4) Change your windshield wipers. If they look like this:
You should replace them. That’s not doing you any good. It’s pretty easy, and if you buy them at AutoZone, they’ll put them on for you. Most new cars don’t require any tools to replace them. They only cost about $10 for a decent wiper, so not bad.
On that note, fill up your windshield wiper fluid! If you’re getting your oil changed at quick lube place (JiffyLube?), they’ll fill up your tank, but it’s not good stuff. Especially if you live somewhere cold, you need some de-icing fluid with a low freezing point. It’s super cheap (like $3 a gallon at Wal-Mart).
5) Clean your car. Obviously, you should wash the outside and vacuum the inside, but don’t forget about some of the other nooks and crannies of your car!
It’s also good to wipe down your interior surfaces with ArmorAll protectant (don’t use it on your tires, for all that is good and holy).
Of course, I keep all my stuff in a Lululemon bag, since this is a running blog and all.
So, that’s all I got!
Anyone got any other tips to add?