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If you have a car, routine maintenance will help you save money, and stay safer.
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This episode is brought to you by Skillshare, an online learning community with more than 16,000 classes in design, photography, and more. [♪♩INTRO].

If you own a car, odds are you've had to have something on it repaired. They're big, complicated pieces of machinery powered by tiny explosions.

Stuff is gonna break sometimes. But just because they're complicated doesn't mean there's nothing you can do about it! Basic preventative maintenance is easy, and if you keep on top of it, it will save you lots of money in the long run.

Also… keep you safe. [whispering] Don't die. It's like your body: it needs a checkup at the car doctor every once in awhile, but it also needs some everyday care to keep running at peak capacity. And if you catch potential problems early, it's a lot cheaper and easier to take care of them than waiting until something is totally broken.

So we're going to go over a few things you can do once a month or so to keep your car in tip-top shape. Step

One: Do a general visual and auditory inspection of your car. This one's the easiest. Do all your lights turn on? Do your wipers wipe?

Is there a giant rusty hole where your door used to be? How does the engine sound when it's running? Are there any strange clicks or clunks?

Don't take it for granted that you'll notice all those things in day-to-day operation. Most of the time you probably just beeline straight for the driver's seat and Taylor. Swift's blasting out your car stereo before the engine even turns over, so you may not see or hear these issues until you look for them.

Some problems can and should be taken care of yourself, like changing your windshield wipers. If you need to change them, make sure to look up what sizes you need. Some cars actually require different sized wipers for each side of the windshield!

Most auto parts stores will have a catalogue—either a book or a little computer station—where you can look up what parts go to your car, be it the windshield wipers or a headlight, or even a battery. If there's no catalogue, or if you're having trouble with it, just ask an employee for help. That's what employees are for, it's what they do, they help people.

They will be able to point you in the right direction. Either way, all you need to know is what company made your car—say, Ford or Dodge—, what kind of car it is—like a Sebring or a Corolla—, and what year it was made. All of that should be on your registration, which should be in your car, ‘cause they ask for it when they pull you over, and they want it to be in there.

Windshield wipers are pretty easy, but a lot of times the problems you'll notice upon inspecting your car will be better handled by a professional. Changing a headlight or tail light isn't too hard if the bulb is burned out—I had a Volvo 240, I had to replace the headlight, like every 6 months I don't know why, but. I did it, and it was fine, and really cheap— but if it's a wiring issue, that is a professional job.

Also check under the car for any leaks. Leaks are bad. Get leaks checked.

It's bad for the environment, and bad for your car. Step

Two: check your tires! Tires are kind of important for making your car ...into a car, so it's good to keep an eye on them. Low air pressure in your tires will devastate your gas mileage and cause a lot of wear at best. At worst, they can make the vehicle harder to control and damage other parts of the car.

Keeping the tires inflated properly is just a good idea all around. You can check your air pressure using a gauge. Those fun little gauges where the little stick pops out the bottom: they are pretty inaccurate, so try to not use those.

You can still pretend they're tiny lightsabers if you want, though. For your tires, though, only the best. Spend the fifteen bucks and get a dial gauge.

To use it, press the gauge onto the tire's valve stem. It will turn the dial to a number. That number is in PSI if you're in the US.

If you're not in the US, it's going to be kPa, bar, or maybe even kg/cm2. Either way, it should fall within a range dictated by your car manufacturer. If you don't know what that number is, because why would you, you can find it either in the manual or printed on a sticker inside the edge of the driver's side door, or you can look it up on the internet.

There's also a number on your tire—that's the maximum pressure the tire is rated for, and you should never go over that. If you do, you're more likely to suffer a blowout and lose control of the car. So just fill the tire up a little at a time until you get it where it needs to be!

If your pressure is too high, just push the little tab inside the valve stem and it should let some of the air out. The other thing you should check on your tires is how deep the tread is. An easy way to check tread depth is to use a penny.

Stick it in the tread upside down, and if you can see all of Lincoln's head then you need new tires, Lincoln is not going deep enough into that tire there, it's the only use for a penny that I've ever found. Now it's tempting to let them ride like that considering how expensive tires can be, but letting your treads get that low reduces your traction significantly and makes it more likely that a tire will pop. You don't want to accidentally Tokyo Drift your whole way to work on a blown-out tire the next time it rains or snows, so get those changed ASAP.

Unless you want to intentionally Tokyo Drift your way to work, in which case you're probably going to go to jail. Also remember to have your tires rotated by a mechanic every six months. The treads wear out differently depending on where on the car the tire is, so rotating keeps the wear even and you have to replace them less frequently.

And see, all this is why keeping up on the tires is important. Too much air? Lose control.

Too little? Lose control. Treads too worn out?

Lose control. It's madness! Driving a 2-ton hunk of metal and rubber can be dangerous.


Three: check your emergency supplies. It's always good to have emergency supplies in your vehicle: a spare or donut tire, a tire iron, a jack, jumper cables, some water, road flares, kitty litter—that sort of stuff. Maybe even a machete if you're worried about zombie problems. Even if you think you have all of it, it never hurts to check!

Maybe a friend or family member borrowed something or used something and forgot to replace it, or maybe your spare tire has a slow leak. Or maybe you have a weird car like one of those ‘60s Volkswagen bugs where the windshield wipers use the air from your spare tire to spray your washer fluid. That's a real thing.

Who came up with that? The worst time to find stuff like that out is when you need that spare the most, so make sure your supplies are there, they're plentiful, and they're ready in case you need them. Now, you may have noticed that we left out some important stuff: digging around under the hood.

Fear not! We'll be covering that in part 2. While you wait, be sure to check out other other videos, including one about cleaning your car.

A car that runs great deserves to look great too. You might even awaken a latent car-person hiding inside you. If you do, be sure to let them out.

It's dark in there. So clearly you like learning about stuff, that's why you're here at How to Adult. If you want to learn more about adulting, you can check out Skillshare.

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There's a lot to learn in the worlds of business, and technology, and lifestyle. Skillshare is a great place to get quality training and tips online. The first 500 users to click the link in the description will get a free 2-month trial.

Just check out the classes, see what's available. —printed on a sticker inside the driver's side edge of the driver's side door inside the edge of the driver's side—driver's side door. You can have a donut tire—an actual donut... high-calorie foodstuffs. Or maybe you have a weird car, like one of those 1960s Volkswagen Bucks.

Bucks!? [laughter]. Now you may have noticed that we left out some important stuff. Ahh lahh—digging around under the hood.

The worst time to find out stuff like that is when you need your spare the most, so make sure your supplies are there, they're plentiful. And they're ready in case you're [indecipherable] [laughter].