The new year is upon us, and while everyone else is busy vowing to lose weight or break bad habits, new drivers should focus on the here and now. Why not make some automotive-centric resolutions?

 

The start of 2021 marks a fresh start for many of us, and it could be a great time to focus on learning new information and skills that can help you with your daily life. Without further ado, here are three New Year’s resolutions every new driver should make right now!

Get in the Habit of Checking Your Oil 

A healthy vehicle can only remain so if it is properly lubricated. The main way to ensure this is to get into the habit of checking your oil levels and quality frequently (about once a month).

 

If you notice that your oil is beginning to become dirty or more viscous, or if you’re losing oil volume monthly, it could be time for an oil change.

 

For extra security, consult your owner’s manual to learn what it means to regularly maintain your oil. This handy guide will give you manufacturer-backed advice on how often you should be changing your car’s oil. For most vehicles, the magic number is around every 5,000 miles or so.

Learn How to Change a Tire 

One thing every new driver should know is how to change a tire in case of a flat or blowout. After all, no one wants to be stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck or a friendly passerby.

 

Changing a car tire is more simple that it may seem. All you need is a lug wrench, a spare tire, and a car jack. Once your vehicle is in a flat, safe area away from traffic, you should loosen the lug nuts of your tire just a smidge (this will make the job easier once your vehicle is jacked up.

 

After that, you should reference your owner’s manual for proper jack placement, locate the sweet spot, and begin to crank the jack until the wheel is high enough to easily remove the tire. Using your lug wrench, remove the loosened lug nuts and damaged tire, placing it flat on the ground to prevent it from rolling away.

 

Then, simply line up your spare with the wheel studs and tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross or “star” shaped pattern. Remember, a spare tire is only a temporary solution! Be sure not to drive at high speeds and get your spare replaced with a proper tire as soon as possible!

Learn How to Jump-Start a Vehicle 

Another handy skill that can prevent you from being stranded on the roadside is the art of jump-starting. Believe it or not jump-starting a dead battery is actually quite an easy process. All you need is a set of quality jumper cables. However, be extra careful when attempting this, as there is a risk of electric shock!

 

The first thing you’ll want to do is find someone else with a running car. Once you do, pull the cars reasonably close to one another and position them front-end to front-end. Once in position, make sure both cars are turned off!

 

After that, pop the hoods and connect one end of the red (positive) jumper cable clamp to the positive (+) terminal on the weak battery. Then, connect the other red (positive) cable clamp to the positive (+) terminal of the healthy battery.

 

After that, connect one end of the black (negative) cable clamp to the negative (-) terminal of the healthy battery. Finally, connect the other black (negative) cable clamp to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the disabled car’s hood. Some vehicles include a grounding rod specifically for this purpose, but if your vehicle does not have this, the metal part of the engine block is a safe bet. DO NOT CONNECT THE NEGATIVE CABLE TO THE NEGATIVE TERMINAL OF THE WEAK BATTERY.

 

Once you’re properly connected, start the healthy car and allow it to run for a few minutes before attempting to start the disabled vehicle. Once your disabled vehicle has been successfully jump-started, keep it running for at least thirty minutes and remove the cables in the reverse order of how they were placed. 

 

If done properly, you’ll be back on the road safely in no time! Remember however, that if your battery needs a jumpstart, it’s probably time to look into replacing it or having your vehicle’s alternator and electrical system inspected by a professional mechanic.


While these tips are fantastic New Year’s resolutions for any new driver, they can and should be used by people of all ages and experience levels! For more vehicle maintenance and emergency tips, don’t hesitate to contact Haldeman Ford East Windsor online, by phone, or in person today! We’re always happy to assist you!
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