Women is general are often considered bad drivers and it is believed they seldom understand things that go under a car’s hood. Though I agree with the former to an extent, I totally believe the latter is about practice and using one’s curiosity and logic. Often there are occasions when a woman may need to open the bonnet to check how things are under the hood, and knowing what to check certainly helps in case you’re ever stranded alone or need a quick fix. We bring to you five things every woman driver must know how to do on her car. Not only will it make you more confident about yourself, it will also silence the critics over your working knowledge of a car. Some of these fixes will require you to open the bonnet, while some will not. We’re going to skip the part about how to open the bonnet since that’s the most basic and everyone (hopefully) knows how to do that. Here goes…
1. Filling the wiper fluid
A dirty car is a sore sight for the eyes and a dirty windscreen even more, literally. While it’s convenient to just pull the lever and wash the windscreen, what if the windscreen fluid is over? How do you get rid of the dust and bug cemetery off the windscreen? Simple, refill the windscreen fluid i.e. water into the lid bearing the windscreen logo. It will be a bright colour cap which is easy to spot and is usually located on the left side.
It will usually have ‘Washer only’ written on it. As you can seen above, all you need to do is just flip open the cap, pour water and fix the cap back on.
2. Checking the engine oil
Now if you’re the only one driving your car, the onus of its maintenance is pretty much on you. Of course there will always be a male member willing to help you out, but if you manage things on your own, nothing beats the satisfaction that comes with it. Engine oil level is extremely crucial for your vehicle's overall wellbeing as its an indicator of its health. Engine oil levels are checked with a dipstick, which looks like this.
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All you have to do is twist the stick, pull it out. The first time you get the dipstick out is not the final indicator of the oil level. You have to wipe the stick, dip it in again and then pull it out. THIS is the final indicator of the oil level in your car. Don't expect the entire stick to be coated in oil, this won't happen. The dipstick has levels marked on it up to which the oil needs to be filled; it has a maximum level and a minimum level. One always needs to make sure the oil level never crosses maximum as it may lead to flooding.
The reason why you need to check your engine oil levels is so that in case its low, you can go to your mechanic and get it topped, or changed whatever is necessary. Ideally you should change your engine oil every 3000kms.
3. Jump starting a car
Most modern car batteries are designed in a way that they don't die out on you, even if your car hasn't been used for long. But just in case the inevitable happens, knowing how to jump start your car is an extremely handy. It'll also add to your cool quotient.
To jump start a car you need the following equipments:
. Jumper cables. These are available at any automobile spares store and also with mechanics. If you request, your mechanic he can also make one for you of a desired length.
. A fresh/ charged battery. This can either be another battery or you can take charge from another car. All you need to do is connect the positive terminals to each other; for the negative terminals however one end (of the charged battery) needs to be connected to the negative terminal of the discharged battery, while the other needs to touch a metal surface. Start the car and voila, you'll have jump started the car. Remember once your car has been jump started, let the engine run idle for a while to ensure the battery gets charged. The diagram below shall give you’re a better understanding.
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4. Changing the tyre on your car.
With tubeless tyre technology dominating most road going cars, one seldom finds oneself changing a punctured tyre. But just in case you do find yourself in such a situation knowing how to change the wheel is a handy skill which not many men are adept at either. All cars come with the tools to change the wheel which include the
. Jack (this elevates the car so you can change the wheel) and it comes with a rotating rod that'll help you lift the car or bring it down.
. Spanner - this will help you undo the bolts on the wheel, so that it can be separated from the car
When changing the wheel keep the following points in mind:
1. Move your car away from the traffic. 2. Make sure your car is in gear so that it doesn't roll off. Also ensure the hand brake has been pulled. 3. Just to be on the safer side keep an obstacle like a rock or a big stone in front of the tyre to ensure the car doesn’t roll off. 4. Place the jack at the side with the punctured tyre. Ensure it has been placed well. 5. Start rolling the jack with the rod till it starts lifting the car. Ideally the tyre should be one to two inches above the ground. 6. Once the wheel has been lifted start unbolting the wheel using the spanner. Once all the nuts have been loosened removed the wheel. 7. Fix the new wheel and start fixing the nuts one at a time. Gradually tighten the bolts to ensure the wheel has been fixed well. 8. Lower the car and you're good to go.
5. Starting the car in gear
Sometimes when your car isn't starting the only option to get it running is by push starting it. While others can push the car, you sure need to know how to get it started whilst at the wheel. In this case keep the following points in mind:
a) Keep the vehicle in second gear. b) Keep the clutch pressed in. c) Once the vehicle has gained a little momentum, say around 10-15kmph immediately let go of the clutch. This should help get the car started.
You may not get it right the first time, but a few trial runs will help you nail it.
Don't expect to nail all the above mentioned in the first go itself. Some of you maybe able to do so, but some may not, so don't be disheartened and remember practice makes one perfect.