If you answered “true,” you are not alone. According to AutoMD.com, many women suffer from “auto anxiety.” It’s not easy to overcome, but there are some simple steps that can make dealing with cars and car repair a little easier.
- Unless you wear sensible shoes every single day, put a pair of walking shoes in your car. They don’t need to be new or beautiful. If your car breaks down, you don’t want to be stranded in a pair of stilettos or old flip flops.
- Get a good set of jumper cables. They should be heavy duty and at least 10-12 feet long. My cables are in a great bag that includes a picture on the front that shows how to use them. I bought them after I left my lights on one day and needed to get a jump. A nice man offered to help and I let him hook the cables up backwards – which destroyed my battery – even though I knew better. Now, I have an easy-to-access guide that can prevent problems. Here’s one source for a bag like mine.
- Learn to change a tire. Don’t just study it – go out and practice it before you need it. Make sure you know where your jack is and how to use it. You can call it today’s workout if you want. Even if you have roadside service, a handy partner, and hundreds of friends, you need to know how to change a tire. My first flat tire happened on Hwy 12 on Ocracoke Island at twilight. I was really glad I knew how to change my tire. Your car manual will have instructions or print these out and put them in your glove box. It’s also worth having a can of flat fix-it spray – although it won’t fix a destroyed tire.
- While we’re on the subject of tires, check your tire pressure, including your spare, every month. It’s really important to do this when you’re getting ready for a long trip or doing a lot of driving. Consumer Reports recommends a digital gauge, although, personally I like one with a flexible hose that doesn’t need a battery, like this one. There’s a sticker on the driver side door frame that will tell you how much pressure you need in your tires. Find a gas station that has an air pump and make it a regular stop to top off your tires. This will all get easier with practice. Good air pressure in your tires makes driving safer, improves your gas mileage, and will extend the life of your tires.
- Change your oil or have it changed every 5,000 miles. It’s a good idea to have your tires rotated when you get the oil changed. Doing this regularly is a great way to find a mechanic that you trust and begin to establish a relationship with them (assuming you don’t go to a quick lube place).
Finally, take the time to read your owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, you can often find them on eBay or Amazon. It will include a schedule of recommended maintenance, which is worth paying attention to.