Your car is more than some piece of machinery that gets you from A to B. A vehicle has a lifecycle, personality, and needs of its own, just like a living being. Like any other living thing, your car needs to be treated right for you to get the longest life out of it. To do that, you’ll need to know a few things about it.
Here are five things you should know about your car.
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The Car’s Year, Make and Model
When people are asked what car they drive, the answer that provides the most information is stating the vehicle’s year, make and model. For example, when someone asks what kind of car you have, the most accurate reply would be something like “a 2016 Ford Mustang.”
Knowing your car’s year, make and model is also helpful if your car gets damaged and you need to take it to a body shop or a specialty repair shop, like an auto hail repair center. This information will allow the technicians to look up your car’s exact specifications more quickly and accurately, ensure they are using the correct tools, and order the right parts.
The Vehicle Identification Number
If you don’t know the year, make or model of your car, that’s OK. They can be found on the vehicle identification number (VIN) sticker. The VIN can generally be found on the lower-left corner of the dashboard (from inside the car looking out).
Other places your VIN might be hiding are:
- Front of the engine block
- Driver’s side door post
- Inside the driver’s side doorjamb
- Front of the car frame
- Rear-wheel well
- Underneath the spare tire
There are a lot of letters and numbers on a VIN. No one expects you to know all of this information by heart — just knowing where your vehicle’s VIN is located is sufficient, and the next time you take your vehicle into your body shop, the technician can help you out.
The Engine Lights
When engine lights come on, they warn that something is close to going wrong or has gone wrong with some aspect of your car. Warning lights are usually red or yellow, depending on the car.
Engine warning lights can be confusing to most people, but it’s important to know what they mean. There are many engine warning lights on cars today, but here is a rundown of the most critical ones to know:
- Check Engine Light: It’s usually in the form of the silhouette of an engine block. Take it in and have a diagnostic run on your car. However, if your car starts making strange noises or drives erratically, pull over immediately, as there might be a more severe problem.
- Oil Pressure Warning: This symbol is an oil can with a drop of oil coming out. It can mean anything from your oil needing a top-off to a leak in the engine or a broken oil pump.
- Battery: This one looks like a car battery with plus and minus signs and means something is wrong with your car’s battery.
Consult the owner’s manual for your car for more detailed explanations on the rest of the less critical engine warning lights.
Its Maintenance Schedule
If you don’t know your car’s maintenance schedule, then there is a good chance some of the engine warning lights previously mentioned will come on. You should keep a maintenance record of everything significant done on your car.
There are four ways to keep track of your car’s maintenance schedule.
- Use a Maintenance Book: Keep track of receipts, dates and invoices in a notebook or folder.
- Get an App: Find and download one of the many car maintenance apps to add all your maintenance information.
- Use a Spreadsheet: Keep all your information in a spreadsheet application.
- Choose a Reputable Repair Shop: Visit a reputable maintenance shop regularly.
Keeping your car regularly maintained ensures longer life and better resale value for your vehicle, but so does keeping up the outside. Any hail damage could hurt the car’s resale value, so search for “hail damage repair near me” to get your vehicle in great shape, inside and out.
The Tire Pressure
Knowing your car’s tire pressure is another essential element to ensuring the vehicle’s longevity and safety. It is also vital for better fuel economy and performance. Here’s how to check your tire pressure.
- Find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle on a sticker in the doorjamb, your owner’s manual, or near the truck lid, fuel door, or center console.
- Check your tire pressure when the tires are cold, either first thing in the morning or after parking in the shade for a few hours.
- Use a reliable tire gauge such as the stick valve gauge, dial tire gauge or a digital tire gauge.
- Check the tire pressure by removing the cap and pressing the gauge into the tire.
- Inflate the tire if necessary by comparing the gauge reading to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
These are five things you should know about your car to keep it (and you) healthy and happy. You should also know where to find the best hail damage repair center near you, so qualified professionals can repair your car quickly and efficiently and keep your vehicle looking as good as it runs.