Are you preparing to take a driving trip alone? If so, there are several skills that will help make the journey a much more pleasant one. Even though you can’t learn all the important things in a short amount of time, ask someone for help with the ones you’re only halffamiliar with, and put the others on your long-term to-do list so as to be ready next time. Here are details about the five key skills everyone solo driver should possess.
Even if you own a high-end GPS device complete with an excellent mapping function, or own a car that has one built-in, it’s essential to learn basic mapping skills with paper maps. It’s unwise to rely on electronic or computer-based apps for core survival skills like navigation and mapreading. Always have a hardcopy map of your proposed route before setting out on a trip alone. Spend an hour or so reviewing your main line of travel, expected stops, and any potentially hazardous areas along the way. Then, as an added precaution, be sure to tell at least one trusted person what your itinerary is before you depart.
Operating A Manual Transmission Vehicle
If your own vehicle breaks down and someone offers you theirs as a backup, it’s invaluable to know how to drive a stickshift. Occasionally, if you find yourself in a faraway place when your car stops working, the local rental agency might only have manualtransmission vehicles on hand. That’s why learning to drive a stick is a very helpful skill to master. The best part is, you can acquire all the knowledge you need by reviewing a five-step online guide that explains how to operate manualtransmission cars.
If you’ve never learned to do a basic tirechange, don’t fret. The chore is not nearly as difficult as people make it out to be. With today’s efficient, compact jacks, and ergonomic lug wrenches, changing a tire while on a car trip won’t take you more than 20 minutes. The trick is making sure you have all the right tools and equipment. The core list includes an ergonomic lugnut wrench, a spare that’s already properly inflated, a newermodel jack, a pair of work gloves, a large cloth or mat to sit on while working, and reflective triangles to warn oncoming traffic of your presence.
Using An Engine Diagnostic App
You can buy an enginecheck device that connects under the inside of your car’s dash. These units either come with an integrated phone app or have their own screens. Learning to hook one up takes about two minutes. Reading the code is easy because you can either look up the numbers online or refer to the little booklet that comes with the device. Automotive parts stores sell them for less than $25 and they’re worth every penny.
If you don’t know how to check and refill the fluids on your car, have a carsmart friend or mechanic show you. For example, learn how to check (but not necessarily drain and refill) the oil. Also, find out how to check brake fluid, coolant, and power-steering fluid levels. All cars are designed differently, so refer to your owner’s manuals for specifics of spout and dipstick locations.