A typical gender-biased joke that women drivers are helpless in coping with car breakdowns isn’t totally unfounded. Most women can’t tell a jack from a monkey wrench and may not even care to check if the car tool set is in the car. Ask your women friends how they deal with car problems and most of them will say they call their husband or boyfriend or the repair shop.
Calling on women drivers to learn how to fix car problems is desirable if a bit extreme. Surveys have shown that mechanics and car repair shops charge women more than men for the same service but an informed female gets charged a lower price than one who is clueless. A working knowledge of car parts and breakdowns will be in your favor as you can learn how to prevent common car breakdowns and avoid being scammed by ruthless mechanics.
If you do know how to change a flat tire and your car breaks down while you’re on the road, assess the situation first before attempting to do it yourself. At night time and in isolated places, it’s best to call for the nearest help available to avoid compromising your own safety. It’s you’re in a seedy neighborhood, it’s best to lock the car and leave immediately. Lost possessions are still better than lost lives if it comes to that. If you’ve had a glass of wine and a police officer approaches, be cautious with your actions and statements even if you are sure that your blood alcohol level is within the prescribed range. In Dayton, Ohio, where authorities are overeager to maintain the peace and safety of the city, you may be slapped with a DUI and other related charges.
1. Flat tires
You can tell if you have a flat tire while you’re driving when the car wobbles abnormally, the steering wheel becomes heavy, you hear a loud bursting sound or there is a pulling to one side. Some causes of flat tires are unavoidable, such as driving over a sharp object that punctures your tire. Although many of these objects are not easily visible, don’t drive over debris that you see on the road; drive around it.
To reduce the risk of a flat tire or blowout, have the tire’s air pressure checked once a month, check for worn out tire treads, rotate tires when you have an oil change, and avoid driving near construction sites.
When the temperature gauge on the dashboard turns red, your car has overheated. Other signs are white smoke coming from the tailpipe exhaust, steam coming out from the hood or a burning smell inside the car. Stop the car immediately and allow the engine to cool. An overheated engine can be a costly damage. Common causes of overheating are leaks in the hoses, broken fan belt, low coolant level, low oil level or a deteriorating pressure cap.
Prevent overheating by checking the conditions of the involved car parts regularly. Replace cracked hoses, softened serpentine belts, and old pressure caps. Using a dipstick, check that coolant, oil, transmission and other fluid levels are normal. If the mileage on your car is high, have your radiator checked yearly for clogging.
3. Running out of gas
This is pure and unfettered idiocy. Check the gas gauge and don’t wait for the low fuel light to glow before filling up.