Categories: Do It Yourself

Must-Know Car Knowledge to Learn Today

Car repairs, boosts, and regular general maintenance techniques are the must-know knowledge you should have as a car user and owner. The more you can know and be able to do with cars yourself, the more money and time you will save. Quality service you can trust is always adherent to your own portrayed knowledge. Knowing what a malfunctioning or in-need-of-repair car looks and sounds like will also come in very handy. Do more yourself and appreciate the ride you have with these must-know pieces of car knowledge to learn today.

Oil Check

How to check your car’s oil is some must-know car knowledge you need. If you have a car, this is a piece of regular car maintenance that should be monitored and done responsibly. Oil checks and changes will keep your engine running well and give you the most miles for your money. The oil lubricates and cleans the engine’s internal moving parts, prevents quick wear and overheating. It is recommended to be done approximately every other gas fill-up. 

Make sure the car is parked on level ground and that the engine is cold to prevent burns. With the engine off, open the car’s hood and locate the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out and wipe off any oil. Insert the dipstick back into its tube and put it all the way in. pull it back out, look at both sides, and look for the indicator of proper oil level every dipstick comes with. 

If the top of the oil is between the two marks, letters, or pinhole indicators, the level is fine. If the level is below the minimum mark, you need to add some oil to get to that proper level. Also, check the oil’s color. It should be brown or black. If light or milky, coolant may be leaking into the engine. Otherwise, wipe off the dipstick and insert it back fully and close the hood. 


Adding Oil

Your car will always need new oil and have it regularly checked, making it must-know car knowledge. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended grade of oil. The designation will usually be something like 0W-20 or 5W-30. You can buy it at several places by the quart. To add oil, remove the oil filler cap usually located on top of the engine. Add oil a little at a time to avoid overfilling. Start by adding about half a quart. Using a funnel also avoids spills. 

Wait a minute and check the level with your dipstick. If the level is still below the minimum mark, add the rest of the quart. Unless your engine is leaking or burning oil, you will not likely need more than a quart. Screw the oil cap back on securely. How often you should change your oil will be in the owner’s manual and is individual by car, not a set frequency.

Adding Air

One of the biggest car myths is that the amount of air you should put in your car tires is written on the tires themselves. That PSI is actually the maximum amount of air that tire will hold. To know the proper amount of air for your car’s tires, the information should be in the user’s manual or can be found for your car’s specific make, model, and year online. When your tires appear low or the low tire indicator appears on your dash, check the pressure at your nearest air station located at most gas stations, some allowing you to inflate for free to little charge. 

Check the pressure initially to see how underinflated they are. Park your car in a way that the hose can reach all four tires at its length. Remove the cap from the tire valve on the first tire and add air in short bursts, checking pressure each time with your tire gauge. If you add too much, press the pin on the tire valve with the back of the air hose nozzle or the little knob on the back of the rounded end of the tire gauge. Repeat for all four tires until they are of equal desired inflation.

Tire Change

Cars can break down unexpectedly and unfortunately when you least expect it on a day trip or vacation when you are significantly away from service. Knowing how to change your own tires is definitely some must-know car knowledge if you ever have an emergency. Find a safe place to pull over out of the way and turn on your hazard lights. You need to find a flat, paved area so your jack doesn’t sink into the ground. Check your owner’s manual for the location of your jack, lug wrench, and spare tire. Stabilize your car by activating the emergency brake. 

Place wheel chocks or rocks behind the tires opposite the ones being changed. Remove your vehicle’s hubcap, (unless it is held on by the lug nuts), by prying it off with a hubcap tool or flat end of the jack handle or lug wrench. Skip this if your wheel does not have a hubcap. Slightly loosen the lug nuts that keep the wheel attached by rotating the wrench one turn counterclockwise. Loosen the lug nut opposite it and then opposite that one, moving in a star pattern. Use the jack to lift the vehicle until the tire is fully raised off the ground. 

Lower the jack immediately and reposition if your vehicle seems unstable. Fully remove the lug nuts and pull the wheel and flat tire off the hub. Grasp the tire with both hands and pull it back toward your chest. Place it under the car near the jack to catch the car if the jack slips. Hold the spare up, align it with the wheel bolts, and push it securely onto the hub assembly. Install and hand-tighten the lug nuts in the same star pattern, tightening as much as can be by hand. 

Turn the jack handle to lower the vehicle until the tire touches the ground, tighten lugs fully with a wrench, and remove the jack and wheel chocks. Remember many spares are smaller and less capable than regular tires and cannot serve as a permanent replacement.

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Jump Start

There are a lot of easy ways to kill your car’s battery. Knowing how to jump-start your own battery is the must-know car knowledge that will always come in handy and make you a good friend to have. First, make sure the battery is why your car isn’t starting up. If the engine cranks when the ignition is turned on, it’s not a dead battery. If you turn the key and nothing happens, you probably have a dead battery. Pull the jumper car next to the car with the dead battery, facing each other. Make sure both are turned off and pop their hoods. 

Connect one end of the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive terminal on the stalled battery. Connect the other red cable clamp to the positive terminal of the good battery. Connect one end of the black (negative) cable to the negative terminal of the good battery. Connect the other black cable to the clean, unpainted metal surface under the disabled car’s hood. Somewhere on the engine block is good. Do not connect the negative cable to the negative terminal of the dead battery. 

Start the car that’s doing the jumping and allow it to run for 2-3 min before starting the dead car. Remove the cables in reverse order of how they were connected and keep the jumped car running for at least 30 sec to give the battery sufficient time to recharge. 


A top piece of must-know car knowledge is how to drive on wet, slippery, and uncertain terrain as with rain and snow. When it is raining and snowing, hazardous conditions can be even harder to navigate. Check your tire pressure to maintain recommended PSI levels. Begin slowing to a stop sooner than normal, don’t use cruise control in these conditions, and increase car distance by 5-6 sec. Always slow down further when shady areas appear as they may be black ice. Turn on your headlights even if it’s daytime as visibility can be really reduced. 

Keep your driving speed at 35 mph or slower to avoid hydroplaning, when your tires get more traction on the layer of water on the road than the road itself and slide uncontrollably. If you start to hydroplane, let off the accelerator slowly and steer straight until control is regained. Accelerate and decelerate slowly to best maintain control. Give yourself more time to get to your destinations to encourage slower driving. Avoid sudden movements and pump the brakes slightly when stopping. 

These pieces of car knowledge will help you be a more knowledgeable driver. You will appreciate your car more, be able to treat it better and spend less money. Let us know what you thought of this must-know car knowledge in the comments!

Kelsey Thomas

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