There are tips about car care and driving that may not be documented in your owners' manual. Listed as follows are some I gathered or created myself. Some are fun, others useful, and some are only for your information (not recommended). Different from the car tips you see elsewhere on the Internet, I always give you an explanation so you know not only what but why.
Basic Car Care
- When your car runs poorly, don't take it to a shop and say "I need a tune-up". Say "My car has such and such problem. Fix it". Otherwise the car still runs poorly with new spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and so on.
- Old cars equipped with carburetors are hard to start especially in cold weather. The way I do it is turn key to ON (not START) and press gas pedal twice or three times. Wait a few seconds to let gas flow. It's better to press the gas pedal down fast and up slowly.
- Don't run a fuel injection car for less than a minute and stop. In cold weather, you should run it even longer, or you'll end up flooding the engine and won't be able to start it next time.
- Run your air conditioner (A/C) at least once a week even in winter. This lubricates the refrigerant line to prevent leak so you'll still get cool air next year. (When you do this in winter, you may turn on your heater to neutralize so you won't get freezed.)
- Turn on your A/C only after you start the engine. Turn it off at least 30 seconds before you turn off the engine. This helps prevent mildew forming in the air duct (where your cool air comes from). Turn on your blower fan often so there won't be stagnant air in there for too long.[tip from HONDA Mailing List]
- Save money on gas. Spend money on oil. Use any major brand gasoline, Cheveron, Shell, Mobil, Exxon, Texaco. Use octane number 87 unless your owner's manual says otherwise. Use the best synthetic engine oil, Mobil 1, unless your car is too old and burns or leaks oil too quickly. Generally, avoid oil treatment, especially Slick50. For gas treatment, use only Techron or Progard, or Redline (available through mail order).
- If rain water leaks into your trunk, drilling holes at the bottom of lamp lenses may solve the problem. If not, apply weatherstrip glue to the lens weatherstrip and/or replace the weatherstrips.
- When it's time to change the timing belt, change the water pump as well as all the drivebelts at the same time. You save on labor because the mechanic need move pretty much the same parts out of way to do either timing belt or water pump change.
- If you plan not to drive the car for more than a month, disconnect the battery by disconnecting its negative terminal. This prevents the clock and the computer from draining the battery.
- If you want the person in front of you to know you want to pass, unless there's a better way, turn on your high beam and off and on, off, ... Pull to the middle of the road and then go back in your lane. Tailgate him if your foot can move very quickly. But be careful.[Not recommended]
- Observe both front and rear, all the time. Know your "neighbors" and follow road etiquette.
- On asphalt (?) paved road, usually the inner (fast) lane has higher friction than the outer lane. Use it especially in rains.
- To brake without turning on the brake lamp, use your hand brake. This may be used when you see the police. Some say the police are more likely to catch you if he thinks you know you're speeding.
- In case you don't know, when your brake pedal stops working, use the handbrake (parking brake). Pull hard.
- Keep an eye on the coolant temperature meter. If it overheats, never keep driving. If you think the temperature is too high but does not reach the red line and you have to drive on, push the passenger compartment temperature control lever to maximum hot, fan speed maximum, A/C on. If you
can't stand the heat, open the windows, take off shirts.
To Yong's Car Pag
- If you're kidnapped in a car trunk, kick (or use your hand(s) if you can) the tailight lenses. They're easy to break or open. Then wave your long leg outside the trunk from the broken lens holder. Preferably, try the right lens holder because the kidnapper is less likely to find you doing so.
[tip from TV show]
- Disconnect the ignition coil to distributor cable in order to prevent an amateur car theft. This is slightly more difficult to find out than disconnecting the battery cable. (If you don't know where those parts are, go to my Tutorial)
- To have a better chance to pass an emission test, run your car on highway at 60 mph or faster for at least 20 minutes before you take the car in for inspection. [A master mechanic on the most respectable auto newsgroup rec.autos.tech says so]
- Some odometers can be disabled (made not running) simply by disconnecting the odometer/speedometer cable from the transmission or the meter on the instrument cluster. At the same time you won't be able to read your speed. [Not recommended. Probably illegal]
- Don't put a pen in the car. Put a pencil instead. Pen oil dries up in hot weather.
- Just after you turn on a car equipped with air-bags, don't bump on the front or rear bumpers. A light bump may trigger air bag explosion. [A master mechanic told me this]