One thing I’ve learned as a single mom is that I absolutely need to have some working knowledge about cars when I’m researching them for any purpose. I’ve written about my experience with changing tires, the need for roadside assistance, and the features on cars that are a necessity for me as a busy mom of three teenagers. The one place I can get all the information I need on all things auto is Cars.com.
Recently, my car had a problem with the cooling system. While the whole experience was stressful for me, I found comfort in knowing that cars.com was able to give me valuable information about the cooling system so I could make an educated decision about the repairs and understand what was really happening with my car.
When the dealership service department called to tell me that I needed a new water pump and that my axles were in bad shape, I didn’t feel so helpless anymore. While I’m not planning on buying a new car anytime soon, I do take comfort in knowing that when I am ready, I’ve got all the buying power I need at my fingertips. In addition to new and used car reviews, we can access videos, driving demos, locate dealerships, and service mechanics within a specific geographic area.
Over the past few years, here are some things I’ve found helpful for all women to know about cars:
- Look under your hood and be able to identify the major parts. This is not as difficult as it may seem. Most of the parts are labeled. Here, reading is half the battle. For the other half, use your owner’s manual to study.
- Invest in a tool kit for your car. The one I use only cost me $10. In the three years I’ve had it,n I have gotten more use out of this kit than the money I paid for it.
- Learn how to jump start your battery. It is now passé to use booster cables with two cars. You can now buy an electronic battery charger that functions as the second car and gets your car up and running in no time. That is, if the problem was the battery. And at the very minimum, you should know how to figure out of in fact the battery is the problem.
- Invest in a decent jack. If you have to change a flat tire, you do not want to attempt to do it with the little jack that comes in your trunk. That little jack, however can function as a crow bar or hammer-like tool if you need one of those.
- If you ever have a problem with a bulb or a fuse, know that you can probably fix it yourself. Trust me on this one. Replacing fuses and bulbs are cheap and easy. I have paid $163 dollars for one $5 fuse to be replaced, and then when I realized how easy the job was, I promptly bought a box of fuses for $20 and changed out the rest myself. How did I know what to do? I read the owner’s manual…which is saved as a PDF document on my phone.
Let’s face it, we are all going to have to face an auto crisis at one time or another. By empowering ourselves with the education and research needed, we can be just as strong as any man and not feel overwhelmed by the language of automobiles.