So, you managed to pass your driving test with flying colours and now you can’t wait to buy your very first set of wheels. We’ve all been there and while this is an exciting time, there are responsibilities for a car owner and there could be pitfalls along the way; here are a few examples to bear in mind.
The average car comprises 30,000 separate components and things can go wrong, even with proper maintenance. Get auto insurance with recovery, then if the worst happens, a call will have a mechanic and a tow truck on their way to your location. It’s a few extra dollars that can literally save the day! A breakdown can be expensive, so it is prudent to have vehicle recovery in your policy, which gets you and the car where you need to go, which might be the nearest garage or home.
2. Spare keys
If you haven’t got a spare key, you’ll one day need the services of a vehicle that can gain entry without causing any damage. Some people keep the spare keys at home; search online for an auto store that sells magnetic key holders that you stick to the chassis, perfect when you leave the keys in the ignition (who hasn’t done that?). The locksmith can replicate any key, even insert the security chip and pre-sourcing an emergency vehicle locksmith is a wise move. It is easily done, although some models won’t allow the doors to be locked with the key in the ignition, a cool fix.
The four circular rubber shoes are the only things in contact with the road and they need to be inspected prior to every journey; a quick walk-around looking for bulges or tears. Worn tyres have less grip, when you think the tread is fading, drop into your local tyre shop and they’ll take a look. Buy a tyre pressure pen and check that the PSI is in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations; after the car wash, you can check at the gas station and add air as needed. Change tyres by the pair, or all four; you should never change a single tyre, as this gives uneven traction, changing in pairs is safe. Some car owner buy sets of used tyres, which still have at least 1 year left in them, mainly coming from accident vehicles. Here is an article about the latest auto tech for 2022, which is worth checking out.
Hopefully, sensible driving will ensure you never experience a serious collision; if a minor bump, talk to the other driver and let the insurance people sort things out. It goes without saying that you should never drive uninsured; there are serious penalties including disqualification; or worse if there are personal injuries. Stay calm if you are involved in an accident and if no one is hurt, make sure the vehicles are not obstructing traffic and call your auto insurance hotline; be aware of what you say to others at the accident scene, admitting it was your fault can be used against you.
5. Vehicle maintenance
Servicing is not something a car owner can skip, for any reason; your car has a service schedule (see back or owner’s manual) and you should book the car in at the required mileage, or thereabouts. Important things like engine oil change, filter replacement and belt tension are all aspects of a vehicle service. When the time comes to sell your car and upgrade, you will get the best price if the car has a full service history, as this is very important.
There are a lot of costs related to vehicle ownership and some would say it’s a high price to pay for travel independence. Make sure that you are 100% legal when driving and always stick to the speed limits, which are there for very good reasons and if your car is well-maintained, you will enjoy many years of great travel experiences and your trusty set of wheels takes you wherever you need to go.