Most car-related articles can get all technical and it can be overwhelming for first-time car owners.
However, if you’re all about getting a good head start with your new car, here’s an easy-to-understand guide to the things you need to know.
And hey, it’s not just for the ladies. Every new car owner should take these steps if they want to get the best mileage and money’s worth from their vehicle.
Step 1: Take driving lessons.
And take those lessons seriously. This includes not just driving but learning the different signals and street signs. This is not just for your own safety, but for others’ ease on the road, too.
Here’s two worth noting:
1. Use your turn signals.
That’s the lever on the left side of your steering wheel. Flicking it, usually up or down, will light up either the left or right side of your car’s blinking turn signals, located on its rear. This informs vehicle/s behind you of what you intend to do — whether it’s to turn left, or right. Once you’ve completed a turn, flick off the ‘turn signal’.
2. Test your brake lights.
Especially if you’ve bought a second-hand car, always make sure it’s working. What this does is it signals vehicles behind you that you’re about to stop while on the road.
Step 2: Read the owner’s manual.
As you know, a car is not just some appliance or piece of Ikea furniture. You can’t just Google a bit or watch a few YouTube videos and assume you’ll understand how it all works.
Depending on the type of car you’ve bought, it will have specific specs you need to learn about. Otherwise, you’ll be in for repairs and expenses that otherwise could have been avoidable repairs. What’s more, your safety and that of your passengers are of utmost importance, so read up.
Step 3: Learn the workings of your car
Take note of how often you need to change the oil, know how to check for leaky fluids, make sure the brakes are working, know when to buy new wipers, and learn how to change a tire.
Because while your car insurance may have a 24-hour road assist, it still pays to learn all these to avoid and get through emergencies.
Step 4: Find a trusted repair shop and mechanic.
Being a new car owner, you’re most susceptible to getting ripped off by mechanics the first few times you get your car checked. To avoid this right from the start, it helps to ask your friends for car advice, and a recommendation for a trusted repair shop, too.
Your car insurance provider can help here as well. They often have a list of trusted shops and mechanics that they can recommend to you. Depending on the provider, you might be able to get discounts or additional services, so make sure to ask even before you sign the policy.
Step 5: At the same time, trust your instincts.
Just as in real life, you can’t just go by the book. You also need common sense, as well as your gut feel, to navigate the world around you. If there’s a smell of gasoline, check for a potential gas leak and get it fixed. If there are unusual noises, or something does not feel right when you step on the brake, get your car checked immediately.
Step 6: Carry important car-related documents, license/s, a toolbox, and a spare tire.
Keep copies of car and personal insurance and registration in the compartment box. All receipts of your car repairs should be filed neatly there, too.
Not every instance of your car stalling means you need a mechanic. There are a few things you can try on your own, and you should know how to do. Bring jumper cables or “booster cables” in the trunk in case you need to jump start your car. Know how to deal with an overheating vehicle. Always have a spare tire in the trunk, the tools to change a tire, and the know-how to do so.
Step 7: Regularly clean and pamper your car.
A carwash every now and then is important, so the dirt and grime from the road won’t stick and cause damage to your car in the long run.
Step 8: Find a trusted insurance provider
No matter how careful a driver you are, accidents happen. With the proper insurance coverage you can make sure that, if you do get into an accident, you have someone who can help you shoulder the costs of the damages.
One of the most trusted insurance providers in the Philippines, Oriental Assurance Corporation, offers a comprehensive suite of insurance products for vehicles. They can cover your vehicle in cases of theft, damage due to accidental collision, overturning, fire, and malicious acts, third-party property damage, and acts of nature. They also provide Comprehensive Third Pary Liability insurance, which you are required to have by law, and car passenger personal accident coverage which covers any injuries sustained by your passengers in case of an accident.