Checklist for Calmly Cruising Into Your New Life as a Driver
Passing your driving test is certainly one of the most exciting moments in life, however it can also be one of the most daunting. All the time you’ve spent in a car has been accompanied by an adult, and now you’re on your own. It’s the independence that you’ve always dreamed of but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to be just a tad intimidated by the whole thing.
As you develop your new life as an independent, adult driver, there are many things to get your head around and your learning curve, as a driver, is only just beginning. So for those that are feeling just a touch unsure about what comes next, here is your checklist of everything you need to to know.
Clean Your Car Every Month
Yes, unfortunately we do mean both inside and out. Cleaning your car is a little like keeping your home clean, only everyone can see your car and then judge you on how messy or dirty it is. Cleaning your car is of course not about staying judgement free from others, it is about ensuring that you keep your car at its best, both for your own enjoyment and for the long-term health of your car. Cars that are well looked after can, and often do, last twice as long as cars that have been taken for granted and not properly cared for.
Now we are getting down to the things that they really don’t teach you at driving school. Learning how to actually look after our cars can seem like a minefield at first, but it all becomes really routine after a while, don’t worry. One of the most important things that you need to be keeping on top of, with your car, is the oil. The general rule of thumb is that you should be changing your oil around every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
You will probably hear many different opinions when it comes to car oil, but the experts say that it is a good idea to change it regularly. And if that’s good enough for the experts, then it’s certainly good enough for us. Make sure that you are changing it with a reliable brand and not going for a cheap alternative. Almost all makes and models of cars work well with synthetic oils like Mobil 1 and it is generally easier, at least at first, to get it replaced in a shop rather than trying to do it yourself.
Check Tyre Pressure
Another thing you don’t learn at driving school is that you need to regularly check your tyre pressure. Having to buy new tyres because you didn’t properly look after your old ones can have you really out of pocket, so make sure that you are checking the pressure at least once a month. You will also need to rotate your tyres in order to make sure that they wear evenly. Incorrect tyre pressure can lead to poor braking, less petrol mileage and of course a flat tyre or even a tyre blow out, which can be incredibly dangerous. So make sure you are staying on top of the pressure of your tyres.
Your brake pads, as you know, are a crucial part of your car running safely. Therefore this is one of the most important parts to check on any car. Going to a mechanic to have these checked out is really important to know that your car is running efficiently enough to properly protect you. Brake pads obviously get worked really hard and over time will begin to get worn down, and if not looked after properly can result in brake rotors failing and of course accidents. So regularly checking brake pads is a non-negotiable.
One thing we definitely learnt at driving school, is that mirrors are one of the first things that we should check when we get into a car. A lot of new drivers also end up sharing a car, at least for the few months anyway, and as drivers come in all different heights and will sit differently in a car, you will probably need to constantly check the mirrors to check that they are at your height and that you can see properly.
You will also want to make sure that your mirrors are clean so that you can see out of them properly. Driving with dirty mirrors that you can’t see out of properly is not the way to make friends on the road and can get you into all sorts of problems, so make sure you are always checking your mirrors before you head off anywhere.
You would be surprised the impact the interior of a car has when it comes to their sale value. One of the first things that many buyers look at when buying a second hand car is the interior, and if you let yours go to pot, then you could be seriously devaluing your car when the time to sell it comes along.
You will be surprised how much damage an abandoned stain can cause. Dirt and grime has many different chemicals that will eat away at car materials like leather seats and dashboards or vinyl or material seats and over time these stains will lead to your car looking filthy and not worthy of a resale. Luckily there are some fantastic cleaning products specially for cars that you can pop into your car, so that should you ever have any spillages or accidents you have a spray and cloth at the ready to deal with it in the moment. Trust us you will thank us when the time comes to selling your car and you want to make a decent bit of cash.
Again this is not really an area that anyone ever really talks about until you are actually driving and have to figure out for yourself. Changing out bad headlights is incredibly important as anyone who has ever had to drive home at night, in the dark with no lights, will tell you. Dead headlight bulbs are really easy to spot as you will notice that they are getting dimmer. Don’t wait until they are almost completely out to replace them. They are really simple to replace, so once you notice them getting a little dimmer, get those sleeves rolled up and get onto it.
It is easy to not think of cars when we don’t have to use them for a while. However a lot of car damage is done, not actually when they are in use, but in the way that we store them when we don’t use them for weeks at a time. So if you are going to be away for a while you will need to make sure that your car is properly stored away. You should firstly make sure that you give your car a nice clean, top it up with petrol and cover it so that it doesn’t get covered in dust and dirt as it sits there, unused.
You should also make sure that you start your car every now and again to keep the battery fresh. If you, or no one else, is going to be around then you can buy a battery tender which stops a discharge. Not taking these steps to look after your car, whilst you are not using it regularly, can lead to a dead battery, a failing engine and of course it can also become home to some seriously irksome bugs and creatures which will not be so pleasant to come home to.
Your car’s air filters are essentially the lungs of your car, so it is really important that you keep them clean and healthy so that you car can breathe properly. Dirty air filters will affect your acceleration and will make your car less efficient. Not looking after your air filters, and replacing them when necessary can cause your engine to fail and can cause serious damage to your combustion chamber. So again this is really important.
Now of all the above, this is most certainly and absolutely the one thing, that your driving instructor never would have spoken to you about. Birds droppings on your car are not just unsightly, but can also create serious problems. As they are very acidic, if you don’t clean them off immediately, they will eventually burn off and ruin the paint job of your car. So be vigilant about this and clean off any new mess on a daily basis in order to keep your car looking its best.
We hope this checklist proves useful to you in your first few months as a new driver. We know driving classes don’t teach you absolutely everything that you need to know, so we hope these tips go some way in making you feel confident to get out there on the road and enjoy your new found independence as a qualified driver.