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Key tips from experts on Keeping your first car

20 Sep 17
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In the past month, a veritable army of students packed up their belongings and headed to college or university. Many carried those possessions in their first car, whether it was a rusting junker purchased with summer earnings, a heavily funded newer version or a brand new automobile courtesy of the Bank of Mom and Pop.

Irrespective of the quality of the rides, most will have something in common: A whole lack of comprehension of car maintenance.

Nothing against pupils or millennials; it is only a simple fact of life for those lacking experience. Add in the fact that they are the products of a few decades of computer-driven cars and you have a significant shortage of maintenance knowledge.

“People do not do any maintenance at home any more, so it is not being passed on from generation to generation like it was,” says Angelo DiCicco, general director for Young Drivers of Canada’s GTA branch. “Your grandma was better than me or you on fixing cars.”

Therefore, in the desire to bring rookie automobile owners to grandma’s degree of knowledge, here are a couple of important things to take into account, according to driving specialists.


They are the Rodney Dangerfield of automobile components, getting no respect from most motorists. “It isn’t necessarily new drivers, but folks just don’t listen to tire pressure,” says Brett Delaney, assistant manager of OK Tire at Langley, B.C. Delaney suggests assessing pressure once per month, making sure the tire-gauge reading fits the recommended pressure recorded on the driver’s side door post.

If the tires which touch the street regularly get no respect, the spare may as well not exist. Check that with all the other tires, particularly since they tend to shed air even faster.

Should you get a flat, do not attempt to alter it on a busy expressway. “Drive off the highway to a safe place, even in the event you hurt the tire,” Delaney says. “It’s far better than putting yourself at risk on a freeway.”

Winter treads

When temperatures fall consistently below 7C, bring out the winter treads. And if funding dictates used tires, make sure they are made for your car or truck and that they’ve at least 7/32″ of tread depth.

“Ideally, it needs to be 11/32,” states Ryan Peterson, director of automotive services for the CAA. “If it is 5/32 or under, you have lost all grip. Therefore, should you purchase one that is 7/32, you are almost there.”


Oil changes are a part of any maintenance program, but notice that not all cars are created equally. Since Delaney points out, some cars require a change every 5,000 kilometres, while others can go 12,000 without new oil.

However, if tires are the Rodney Dangerfield of automobile components, windshield washer fluid is his uglier step-brother.

“People do not listen until they’re outside,” Delaney says. “Then you end up driving on a highway with a windshield you can hardly see out of.”

And do not just pour in any washer fluid. Make sure it’s designed for either hot or cold weather.

Maintenance tips

Possibly the most important thing to do to avoid expensive repair bills would be to learn the fundamentals about your car. By way of example, understand that those gauges and lighting are not just decorative.

“You’d be amazed how many people, and not just young people, can not identify what those warning lights and gauges mean,” DiCicco says.

“But bear in mind, you can not rely on these gauges and lighting totally. As soon as they come on or send out an alarm, you are getting very near the end. That’s dangerous. You will need to grab it {}.”

The means to do this, Delaney suggests, is to establish a routine maintenance schedule to examine oil, wiper fluid and tires. Make it a date you won’t forget, like the last or first of each month.

And do not try to cut corners. You will pay a hefty price.

“Automobile maintenance is a great deal cheaper than car repair,” Delaney says.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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