Many people don’t know this, but learning how to drive is only the beginning of good car ownership. Knowing about your car — its year, make and model, its history and needs — is just as important. Ordering for parts, pumping gas, and even communicating with your mechanic will be all the easier (and safer!) once you become more familiar with your car. While most of the information you need is typically included in the vehicle’s manual, those buying used cars can still find plenty of information about their vehicles online or at their dealership. Don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of available information, however. Start by searching for these top 10 things to know about your car courtesy of Gainesville car dealership, Paul West Used Cars.
1. Year, Make & Model
This might seem like a no-brainer, but a surprising amount of car owners do not know their car’s year, make, and model. Without this information, car owners may order incorrect replacement parts, underestimate the worth of their car, or worse, neglect special oil and gas requirements their car might need.
2. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
This number is your vehicle’s fingerprint. It will remain the same regardless of owner or hardware changes. VINs are used for everything from accessing the car’s owner and accident history to enrolling in car insurance and scheduled maintenance.
3. Owner, Repair, Mileage & Accident History
Every car has a history log which includes owners, repairs, and accidents. This information is particularly useful when looking for used cars for sale in order to compare options and find the best deal. When shopping at Paul West Used Cars, you can rest assured that all details regarding the car’s history will be available to you.
Warranty information may come from a few places. Car dealerships, for instance, typically offer an introductory limited warranty with all used cars sold. Additionally, car manufacturers also include warranties with every car sold. It is important to note that used cars may still be enrolled under their manufacturer’s warranty. Contact your dealership for more information.
5. Gas Requirements
Ever wondered what those numbers on the gas pump mean? They are not just an excuse to charge car owners more. Some car models require higher-grade gasoline to function properly. Some may even malfunction when filled with the wrong type of gasoline. Stay safe and use the gasoline grade recommended by your car’s manual or mechanic.
6. Maintenance Schedule
You’ve heard this before: maintenance is key in promoting engine longevity and a safe ride. But how often should you schedule maintenance? The answer is not as simple as some may claim. In general, you should consult your car’s manual or ask a trusted mechanic. Different parts need to be inspected/maintained at different times. Do not wait for a certain number of miles/months to schedule maintenance for everything in your car as this is simply not realistic.
7. Tire Pressure Rating
Not all tires are created equal. Tire pressure ratings (PSI, or pounds per square inch) vary depending on the size, and make and model of the vehicle. When filled to a lower pressure than recommended, the surface of the tire gets too close to the ground, causing unwanted friction. On the other hand, higher pressures could result in a bumpier and ultimately unsafe drive. Consult the car’s manual to double-check your tire’s PSI.
8. Tire Change Procedure
The process for changing a flat tire is usually the same for most vehicles, but it’s worth consulting the car manual in case there are special requirements. As a general rule of thumb, remember to find a safe location, to turn on the hazard lights, and to loosen the lug nuts gradually, in a star-pattern order. Never try to loosen the lug nuts while the vehicle is raised on a jack.
9. Dashboard Controls
Dashboards vary from car to car, which is why it’s important for drivers to familiarize themselves with all the dashboard controls before taking the road. The last thing you should be doing is looking for the windshield wiper or headlight controls while on the highway. Make sure to know where everything is on the dashboard even if you don’t foresee yourself using that feature anytime soon.
10. Dashboard Lights
Far too often ignored, dashboard lights serve as a kind of live diagnosis of your vehicle. Learning what each color and symbol mean could make all the difference when it comes to preventing an accident. Study the driver’s manual for your car carefully, paying close attention to what the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) looks like.