Getting a car is an exciting event, and we know, you can’t wait to start driving it and showing it off to friends and family. But hold on. Get to know your car first.
Locate your gas tank
There are two ways to check this: simply walk around your car and find it, or just look at the dashboard and find the gas gauge. Can you find an arrow there? If it points right, then your gas tank is on the right, if it points left, then it’s on the left.
Find your owner’s manual
Most people never bother to look at their vehicle’s owner’s manual, but it’s a great source of instructions that are specific to your car, such as set up instructions, technological instructions, troubleshooting advice, maintenance schedule, warranty details, and much more useful information.
Usually, the owner’s manual is stored in the glove compartment. Locate it first before you start driving. If you can’t find the owner’s manual, or you have lost it, you can access it online – if available (you might need to register at the manufacturer’s website to access it).
Learn how to use the navigation system in your car
First, set up your home address. You never know when your phone will run out of charge. If you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere, not knowing where to drive, do it as soon as you get the keys for your new car. Additionally, see if you can adjust the sound. You don’t want to miss a turn if you could barely hear what the system is telling you. Can you activate your GPS with voice commands? Voice commands will help you to keep your eyes on the road with your hands on the wheel. Remember, safety first!
An additional security tip for you. Instead of using your actual home address as your home destination, use the nearest point of interest, such as a coffee shop or mall. Why? In case your car gets stolen, you can protect yourself from robbers breaking into your house, especially if you have your garage door opener programmed.
Locate seat buttons and levers
Are your seat adjustments electric or manual?
If you have manual seats, then you can find a metal bar at the front of your seat to slide it forwards and backward. In order to adjust the angle of the seatback, you will need to find a lever or a rotating dial at either side of your seat.
If your car has electric seat adjusters, then you can find buttons on either on the side of the seat (in most cases) or on the door (ex. Mercedes E-class cars).
Find the right seating position for comfort and safety:
- Your arms should be slightly bent. If they are straight you will have less control of the steering wheel in an emergency.
- Make sure that you can reach the pedals without moving forward in your seat. Move your foot from gas to brake. Does your knee touch the wheel? if so, either adjust the steering wheel or your seat by moving it backward or forwards.
- Adjust the height of the seat to see clearly over the wheel, dash and hood. Your hips should be about as high as your knees.
Since we spend a lot of time in our cars, it is important to have the right seating position to avoid stiffness and pain in your neck and back.
Adjust your mirrors
All these years, you’ve probably been adjusting your mirrors wrong. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), in order to eliminate the blind spots, drivers should adjust the mirrors the following way:
- Place your head against the left side window and adjust your mirror out so you can just see the left side of your car.
- Adjust the rear-view mirror so you could see the entire rear window without needing to move your head.
- To adjust the passenger’s side-view mirror, lean to the right toward the center console and adjust the mirror so you could barely see the side of your car from this position.
These rules will help you to detect the presence of nearby drivers. You will see them in the rear-view mirror first, then in the left or right mirror and then with your peripheral vision.
It will take time to get used to driving without seeing your own car in the side mirrors, but these rules will help to minimize a car’s blind spots and decrease the chances of accidents. However, to reduce the risk even further, continue looking over your shoulder before changing lanes.
Do the car maintenance regularly
Find out how often your car requires you to do maintenance. Below is some info for you.
- 5000 miles to change the motor’s oil. Overtime oil breaks down, gets dirty from the engine and the environment and can no longer do its job.
- 25,000 – 30,000 miles to change the air filter. The air filter also extends the life of the engine, because it protects the engine parts from debris and other dirt particles. In addition to that, it will help to increase fuel efficiency.
- 3,000 – 5,000 miles to rotate tires to ensure even tire wear and, as a result, prolong the life of your tires.
P.S. These are just the general rules. Numbers may vary depending on the year of the car and its model. Check your manual or manufacturer’s website for more details.