Most of us spend a significant amount of time in our cars, whether it’s commuting or running errands or simply enjoying the road. But many of us don’t know the basics of vehicle maintenance or repair. With a little do-it-yourself spirit and a few basic tips, you can learn how to do most anything on a car.
First, find the owner’s manual for your vehicle. This is a high level guide to most of the major components, complete with troubleshooting suggestions for your particular make and model.
How to Jump Start a Vehicle
Keep the following in your car at all times:
- Jumper Cables: The longer, the better!
- Mechanic Gloves: Disposable gloves at the very least, but heavy duty offers more protection
- A Flashlight: Always handy to keep in your car!
- Paper Coveralls: Protection for your clothes – paint stores usually carry these
- Owner’s Manual: You can often find this in your car’s glovebox
To jump start your car, you will need to find someone with a vehicle to provide the jump to your dead battery. It is important to be safe and use sound judgment when seeking assistance from people you don’t know. Don’t accept help from anyone you don’t feel comfortable around, and be sure to phone a loved one to let them know exactly where you are and what’s going on.
With gas prices fluctuating daily, drivers need to get the most out of every tank. And with simple fuel-saving tips, tricks and maintenance checks, you can learn to stretch your fill-up to the fullest.
Ditch the Clunker
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, fuel efficiency has improved as new, more efficient vehicles were designed over the past 10 years. In fact, domestic light-duty vehicles got an average of 35.5 MPG in 2013 compared to an average of 29.1 MPG in 2003. Choosing a newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle can save you thousands in the long run, both in dollars and minutes spent at the pump.
Save with Safety
Making small safety changes to your daily driving habits adds up in your tank, your wallet and your well-being. Fast acceleration and hard braking lower gas mileage by up to 33% on the highway and 5% in a city, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Keep a lid on aggressive driving and travel with zen-fueled efficiency.
Drop the Excess Weight
Rooftop cargo containers are a great help on family trips. But these space-savers create wind resistance, which makes your car work harder and burn up to 17% more fuel on the highway. Excess weight in the trunk also sucks up fuel unnecessarily at a rate of 1% for every 100 pounds. Leave empty or unused cargo containers at home and clear out clutter for a smoother ride and steeper savings.
Fender benders happen. And, it turns out, many of them happen the same way.
While it’s always essential to take precautions behind the wheel, being extra aware of these common collisions could help you avoid them in the first place.
So here’s a breakdown of four of the most common types of collisions, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with driving tips to help you steer clear of trouble while out on the road.
What They Are
Front-impact collisions—when the front end of a vehicle hits another vehicle or something on the side of the road, like a tree or telephone pole—accounted for 54 percent of serious crashes in 2016, according to the IIHS.
It’s one of the most unexpected—and unnerving—driving experiences: a tire blowout. And something as small as a nail in the road can be the cause.
“It happens any time the air in the tire escapes at a rapid speed,” says James Solomon, a defensive driving expert with the National Safety Council (NSC). According to the NSC, the top five causes of tire blowouts are under-inflation, overload, uneven tread wear, damage and defects.
Fortunately, tire blowouts seem to be on the downswing since the implementation of tire pressure monitoring systems, says Solomon. Still, he cautions, the unexpected event could occur, so it’s important for drivers to understand the possible causes and the proper responses, as well as the steps to take to help prevent a tire blowout.
What To Do
“A blowout is pretty obvious,” says Solomon. “You’ll hear a pop, and one side of your car will drop down.” If it’s a front tire, you’ll hear a flapping sound, and the steering wheel could jerk from your hands. A back tire may be less dramatic, but both situations should be handled the same.
“The last thing you want to do is jam on the brakes, especially in traffic,” says Solomon, even though that may be your gut reaction. The goal is to gain control of the vehicle as it continues to move and to get it away from traffic. He recommends signaling for a lane change and easing your foot off the gas pedal while steering to the side of the road as quickly and as smoothly as you can.
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Off-roading is more than an activity. It’s a way of life. Badge of Honor is an online community that celebrates and rewards those who embrace the off-road life. Download the app and discover trails based on location, highlights or difficulty and then earn hard badges to display on your Jeep vehicle!
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Check in with your mobile device when you’re on location to earn points and complete the trail.
Every time you log in, explore trails, upload photos or engage with the Badge of Honor community, you earn Trail Points to level up to higher achievement ranks.