Even though the history of a car can be traced back to the second half of the 17th century, the automotive industry is largely focused on the male population, even to this day. When a car is designed, produced and marketed, it is still thought of the male needs it is supposed to satisfy – speed and attractive looks as opposed to safety and durability. Don’t get us wrong, it’s no big surprise. It is men, after all, who get wildly excited about the powerful rumble of the engine and the way the car just flies down the highway when it’s let loose. However, this also means that car maintenance is largely focused on men’s abilities and understanding of the way machinery works.
Having in mind that nowadays the number of female drivers is rivaling, if not exceeding, that of male ones, we have decided to share 7 car maintenance tips every woman driver should know.
1) Choose a car that suits your needs
Seeing as most women are not as passionate about cars as men, they tend to see vehicles as a means to an end. When a woman is buying a car, she rarely views it as a shiny new toy she just has to have – what she is actually looking for in a car are the ways it will get the job done.
A woman wants a reliable vehicle that will not leave her stranded somewhere. She wants a car that is economical in fuel consumption so that she doesn’t have to run to the gas station every other minute. She needs a long warranty period on her car as a safety net for when something does happen. Moreover, a mother looks for a safe vehicle where she can strap her child in so that it will keep them as safe as possible in case of an accident.
So, you see, women tend to be more practical than men when it comes to choosing a future car. When a woman exercises her will in getting a car suited to her needs, she is one step closer to maintaining it well and having a pleasurable driving experience.
2) Get to know your car
As we already said, cars are considered a predominantly male domain. Hence, most women drivers feel intimidated when it comes to car maintenance. The fear of mismanaging something on the car and worsening a malfunction is greatly what drives their reluctance in handling a car issue.
But, how can you overcome that fear, woman?
Learn about as much as you can about your vehicle!
I know, I know, some of you women drivers will say that it’s tough, incomprehensible and simply a man’s thing. And while you may be right about the fact that men like their cars and are thus more knowledgeable about them than women, nobody is born knowing everything! We all have to start somewhere.
So, go through your car’s manual, read books or articles about cars, watch a helpful video online, ask a friend who knows a thing or two about cars, ask your mechanic. When you have a basic idea of how your car operates, and get used to the sounds it makes while you are driving it in perfect working condition, you will notice when it starts exhibiting signs of strange behavior.
As soon as it commences clanking, banging, smelling funny and flashing warning lights on your dashboard, you will know something is not quite right. Once you have achieved that, you might be comfortable enough with going a step further and trying your hand at fixing the issue yourself. However, should that be something you feel is out of your reach, drive the car to your mechanic and leave it in their capable hands? After all, it’s better safe than sorry. But, at least, you have saved yourself from being stranded on the side of the road.
3) Stay ahead of major issues with regular car maintenance
As we said in one of our previous posts, regular car maintenance is simply a must for various reasons: preventing safety issues, maintaining quality vehicle performance, saving money in the long run, keeping car insurance as well as simply entrusting your car to professional skills and equipment.
Your car’s manual probably has a maintenance schedule, so follow it. It’s there precisely to make your life easier.
Yes, some things you can do yourself, such as check tire pressure and tread wear, or make sure all the lights work, or inspect the level of fluids in your car and act accordingly. But, there are also things your mechanic needs to examine using their working experience and specialized environment. In that case, all you have to do is follow the manual and bring your car for regular maintenance as scheduled.
If you nip a car problem in the bud, you are avoiding major system shut down when you least expect or need it.
4) Regularly check tires and fluids
It is only natural for a driver to check for obvious or potential car problems before getting in their car, especially if he or she is embarking on a long road trip. The state of your tires is something that falls into this category, if for no other reason than because inspecting car wheels don’t require popping the hood. Also, by making sure your tires are in good condition and not deflated or over-inflated before you exit your garage or driveway, you are preventing having to change or repair them on side of the road. (Our blog post on how to repair a punctured tire is something every driver should read.)
By the same token, fluids are also something women drivers can check themselves before going on a road trip. Whether it is windshield wiper fluid, engine oil or coolant, it would go a long way in terms of safe driving to have some idea about what is going on with your car. If you do notice low level of fluids, just top them off and you’ll be on your way in no time! Easy peasy!
5) Have an emergency kit
All drivers should have emergency kits in their cars, but women seem to be more diligent in actually acquiring and updating them regularly. When we say “emergency kit”, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the one intended for a medical trauma (first aid kit), but you need to have more than bandages in your car.
Aside from medical supplies, you need to have a working pair of jumping cables and the knowledge of how to use them in case you might need to power jump the car battery. Pliers, screwdrivers and wire cutters will all come handy at some point in your driving career, so you might as well have them in your trunk for emergencies. A flashlight is also a must since you can be sure that your car will at some point stop in the wee hours of the night, so you need to be able to see where you are and what you are doing. Duct tape can also serve as first aid when something gets loose and you don’t have the necessary means to repair it. And finally, a blanket, a few bottles of drinkable water and nonperishable food could save your life if you happened to have put them in the trunk of your car in the recent past.
Therefore, don’t slack off and pack your car with a few useful things to help you in an emergency. After all, there are other uses for all that trunk space next to your shopping bags.
6) Have an emergency car repair fund
Women, in general, have a bad reputation for not being thrifty with money, but that is a cliché and a stereotype. In fact, women drivers are known to have a tendency to put something aside for a rainy day or in this case – an emergency car repair fund. This is actually a very good practice and something that men should also start doing.
You never know when your car will have a major breakdown (okay, you may have some idea if you have a good mechanic and the habit of taking your car in for regular maintenance). Nevertheless, when your vehicle does break down, you might end up spending a lot of your hard-earned money on its repair.
Therefore, a good car maintenance tip for women drivers is that they should always have a certain amount of money available for car repair.
You can also do a little research online or with your friends on what the most common car failures are and how much they can set you back. The more prepared you are, the less stressed you will be if and when your car malfunctions.
7) Find a trustworthy mechanic
The first thing to look for when choosing a mechanic for your car is whether they are properly certified in handling your car’s make and model. This is something that should be clearly visible when you first step into a respectable repair shop and if not, just ask to make sure they know what they are doing.
The second thing would be to research the car failure that brought you to their repair shop so that you can waddle through all the technical jargon. If you can explain what you heard or smelled to make you decide to bring your car in for a checkup, not only will you feel more confident as a woman in a male environment, but you should also deter any mechanic who would try to double-cross you.
A trustworthy mechanic will always be upfront with you about the condition of your vehicle and any repairs it might need. They won’t say a part should be replaced when it’s still functioning properly or try to sell you car equipment you simply don’t need.
Once you find a mechanic who knows what they are doing, one who treats their customers in a respectable manner and wants to keep them in the long run, you know you are in good hands.
We are sure you will find us as such and will want to bring your vehicle to us for the best possible care! Call us today to make an appointment or find directions to our Hamilton and Cambridge, ON shops! We can’t wait to meet you.