Things to Check Before You Drive

Things to Check before you drive

Cars are excellent at getting people around until something goes wrong. Keeping on top of maintenance is a hassle for some people, but it is well worth the effort to keep a vehicle running smoothly. Monthly maintenance is important, but it is especially vital before going on a long drive or road trip. Here are some things you should be checking for a smooth driving experience.

Fluid Levels

There are a lot of fluids that are essential to driving. Each should be checked regularly, such as:

  • Oil
  • Coolant
  • Windshield wiper fluid

Each has a different role in the car. The oil helps keep the engine well lubricated and running in top condition. Coolant helps the engine to not overheat on long drives. Windshield wiper fluid is not always considered a vital fluid, but keeping the windshield clean is essential to seeing clearly. If you are driving around in the rain or snow, it is especially important because the mud and dirty snow can get kicked up by other cars on the road and dirty the windshield. During the summer, bugs are everywhere and can eventually clutter up your line of vision too.

To check the fluids, pull out the dip sticks, look in the container, or have a professional do a maintenance check that they are all at appropriate levels. Also be sure to check around the areas and under the engine to make sure there are no leaks.

Car Parts

Mechanics will look over specific car parts when doing a routine maintenance check. Before a long drive, you should also check these areas like:

  • Wheels
  • Belts
  • Brake Pads
  • Lights

Having a safe car is dependent on these areas being in good working order. To check the wheel tread, you will need to stick a penny in with Lincoln’s head going in first. If you can still see the President’s head still, the tread is too low and you need to get new tires. It is also a good idea to get the balance on the wheels checked to prevent problems with the axles.

Belts are in the engine and power systems in the car. If one were to break, the car would need to be fixed immediately, disrupting any driving plans. To make sure they are in good working order, check for any fraying or wear. If they are old or damaged, they need to be replaced. The same is true for brake pads; if they show wear, they need to be replaced to effectively stop the car.

With the help of a friend, checking the lights is easy. Have someone stand in front and behind the car while testing the headlights, turn signals, and brake lights. If any are out, changing the lightbulbs is very easy and inexpensive.

While checking your car over, double check that your windshield wipers work well. The blades should clear the entire windshield when you spray the washing fluid. If they miss spots or haven’t been replaced in a few years, change them for new blades.

Spare Parts

Always keep spare parts in the car, but especially when you have a long drive through less populated areas. That way, if an emergency happens on the road, you are prepared and don’t have to depend on cell service, tow trucks, and nearby service shops. This would include:

  • Spare tire with hardware and jack
  • Air pump
  • Spark plugs
  • A tool set

With these basics in your car, you can fix the car yourself or have everything on hand if someone pulls over to help.

Be Prepared

Whether you’re new on the road after completing your Drivers education courses, or you’re a seasoned driver, it’s important to stay on top of these things. Being a responsible car owner means being prepared and taking care of your car. Stay on top of the vehicle’s maintenance and it will work better over the lifetime of the car. When heading on a road trip, have it checked over for extra protection.

Preparing for Your Driver’s License with a Learner’s Permit

preparing for your license

The first major step toward getting your driver’s license is getting a learner’s permit. This small permit will help you start your road to independence, but it comes with some very specific rules. Abiding by these rules is worth it because it helps drivers gain practice and confidence behind the wheel. With some intentional actions, you can be prepared to get your driver’s license when it is time.

Learner’s Permit Rules

Every state is going to have different rules, but in general, states require new drivers who are under 18 or 21 to drive with a learner’s permit. Whenever driving with a permit, a licensed, adult driver is required to be in the passenger’s seat. This is like supervised driving practice with someone who has more experience operating a vehicle.

A learner’s permit usually is accompanied by a certain number of hours to drive during the daylight hours and nighttime hours before a regular driver’s license will be given. There are also restrictions on the number of passengers in the car and limiting peers in the vehicle too. If a driver is pulled over and caught breaking these rules, they risk not getting their driver’s license on time.

The point of having a learner’s permit is that new drivers can get more experience in a supervised manner. With more experience, new drivers will feel more comfortable and confident behind the wheel because they will have practiced these situations.

Getting in Practice

The best way to feel confident on the roads is to get in a lot of practice. For the licensed driver in the passenger seat, they have a duty to help correct mistakes and give direction. A driver just learning needs to have reminders throughout the drive to do the things they learned about during driver’s education classes. Learning what to do in specific situations is important in class, but once a new driver is behind the wheel, sometimes they forget what to do.

When driving with a permit, it is important to get a lot of experience with different situations. Most people will want to stick to less busy roads at first but going out onto busier streets with more traffic is important too. When drivers are exposed to busy streets, heavy traffic, and even driving on the freeway, it is important to practice with a licensed driver in the car. This way, they can ask questions and get support while navigating these harder driving situations.

Applying for a License

When it comes time to change the learner’s permit in for a driver’s license, some states require a report of hours driven. Most drivers will have six to twelve months to accrue all the required hours, so take your time in practicing. Be sure to look up all the required paperwork and make an appointment, if necessary, at your local licensure location.

Once a new driver has fulfilled all the requirements, everyone can rest assured that they are prepared to drive on the roads. With all the practice and variety of experiences already seen, new driver’s have a higher chance of staying safe.