Top Ten Vehicle Repair/Maintenance Acts Everyone Should Know How to Perform

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Since 1972 the number of registered vehicles on American roads has been higher than the number of licensed drivers. In fact, only 8% of American households do not own a car. 70% of Americans drive to work in a car every day. With so many people owning and driving cars in the US it is an amazing fact how little the average person knows about those cars.

Below is a list of the typical acts of either repair or maintenance that every person who drives or owns a vehicle should know how to perform. Some of these are money saving while other are time saving. In a few instances when you could be stuck out in the middle of nowhere in inclement weather, they could even be life saving.

The Top Ten

1 Change a Flat Tire

Know where your spare is, where your tire iron and jack are, and know how to use them. Keep your spare tire inflated and your tools in working order. This could save your life.

2 Change Your Oil

This is a money saving tip as well as a way to prolong the life of your vehicle. The tools will cost you about $40 (plus extra for whatever oil you want to use) up front and a little time but once you get used to it, you'll be changing your oil without an appointment in about 20 minutes for half the cost of going to a shop. Plus, you'll know exactly what quality you're putting into your car.

3 Inflate Your Tires

It's a simple one but surprisingly difficult for some people. Know how to spot an inflation station at your regular gas stations and have a pressure gauge in your glove box.

4 Check Engine Liquids

Know which dipstick is for your oil and which is for transmission. Know how to locate and check your brake fluid, your transmission fluid, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid.

5 Change Your Battery

Know how to swap out your battery and clean the terminals. Don't be scared.

6 Jump Start Your Car

Have the cables and know how to ask a stranger for a jump start. If they say yes, be prepared to do it all yourself.

7 Change an Electrical Fuse

Keep a small bag of spare fuses in your glove box or trunk. They are really easy to swap out but driving without one might mean having no instrument panel lights at 2:30am. Not good.

8 Change Bulbs

Headlight, taillight, turn signals... They are usually pretty easy to swap out once you see it done once. Look up a video for each type you have.

9 Refill Engine Liquids

This is separate from just checking your liquids because it can be a very different experience. Know when it is appropriate to top-off your coolant, brake fluid, oil, and any other liquids. Each has it's own simple process but the details vary greatly.

10 Refuel

I actually know people who can't refuel their own vehicle and either get their parents to do it at the start of the week or their friend to do it if they are in the car with them.

The Contenders

11 Rebuild the entire transmission
12 Change Your Wiper Blades

Nothing is worse than trying to drive through snow or rain with bad blades. Know if you need to change just the blade tips or the whole blade. Cost is a factor but the easy should be about the same. Keep a spare for the driver's side and be ready to use it on the shoulder of the road in the rain.

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