The ultimate guide for car beginner drivers

08/05/2019

Posted by: Chris Odogwu

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No one wants to have their car break down on the road; it’s an unpleasant experience. We see it happen to people, and hope it won’t happen to us. But the reality is that anybody’s car can break down. Being stranded in the face of this can cause both physical and psychological trauma. Having knowledge of how to handle the situation is a life-saver. Find out all you need to know about car safety and maintenance as a beginner driver!

Being a newbie driver is a whole new experience. There’s so much learning to do to get accustomed to everything from safe driving to car maintenance. For many drivers, the only thing that matters, is moving from one location to another. However, for your car to do that, you need to take car of a number of things.

Having your car break down on the road isn’t a pleasant experience. We see it happen to people, and hope it won’t happen to us. But the reality is that anybody’s car can break down. Being stranded can cause both physical and psychological trauma. If it’s at odd hours or in an unsafe location, you become worried about being in harms way. It gets even worse if you don’t have a clue about what to do.

Don’t wait until you are in that situation to figure out an exit plan. Equipping yourself with knowledge, beforehand, makes such an experience less ugly. Instead of getting overwhelmed, you’ll be calm because you have the situation under control.

Naijauto.com is here to empower you with the basic guide for a beginner driver.

1. Understand your car mechanism

A car is built with different mechanical parts. Each of these parts plays a vital role in the overall performance of the car. There are two basic aspects of a car’s mechanism: the sound and smell. Every car produces sounds. As a beginner, you need to understand that your car produces different sounds at different times. There’s a particular sound produced when your car is in good condition, and a sound produced when the reverse is the case. Being able to differentiate the two enables you to detect lurking problems.

Creaky sounds spell trouble. Your engine might be faulty or you might be running out of fuel. If you perceive bad odor, something is probably wrong. The moment you notice an irregularity in the sound or smell, your next stop should be the mechanic shop.

>>> Is your car FWD or RWD? See What is the difference between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive?

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When you're new to road, do not overestimate your driving skills

2. Inspect your parking spot

The least thing on the minds of beginner drivers is the parking spot. What has that got to do with anything?  It’s difficult to tell if there’s something visibly wrong with your car while driving. When parked on a spot, you can see everything, if you choose to.

Leakage is a common problem with cars. All fluids are meant to be intact in their various components. When they drip, it’s an indication that something is amiss. Do you see any black patches below your car? Those are formed by dripping fluids. Take a look at the source of the fluid. If you can’t figure it out, have it checked by your mechanic immediately.

Check your tires before driving off. It’s better to detect an inflated tire before you hit the road, otherwise, you won’t get to your destination as planned. Inflated tires have no business being on the road; they can cause serious damages. Get a vulcanizer to fix them immediately.

3. Be attentive to detail

Most car problems don’t occur suddenly - there are always little warning signs. The problem is that drivers aren’t attentive to notice them.

There are several indicators on the dashboard that inform drivers about developing problems. The light or sound may come on. An example of this is the temperature indicator. Before your car experiences overheating, the temperature indicator light goes off. Most drivers don’t pay attention to it. They only become aware when the car develops a problem.

Check your indicators from time to time. If any indicators isn’t working properly, find out the reason behind it.

>>> Always bring these along please! A checklist of must-have items in case of car breakdown

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The number 1 rule is to wash your car regularly!

4. Check your water and oil levels

Your car needs oil and water. Oil allows the various mechanical components to work in synergy without friction. It lubricates equipment and prevent them from cracks. However, this oil must be clean and in the right quantity. Having dirty oil in your car is just as bad as having no oil. Change your oil regularly to prevent contamination by dirt.

Water prevents your car from overheating. It does this efficiently only when it’s in the right quantity.

Checking both water and oil level regularly prevents your car from stopping abruptly.

5. Avoid tailgating

One of the requirements of safe driving is to keep a reasonable distance from other cars especially the one in front of you. There’s so much happening on the road - one wrong turn from a driver can affect a lot of people. If the car in front of you stops abruptly, you might hit it if you are too close. But when there’s sufficient gap between you two, you will be able to prevent a bump.

Tailgating is more dangerous in bad weather. The weather could affect the way people would drive on a normal day. Be more attentive to cars around you so you aren’t affected by any sudden moves.

>>> Have you learnt this? "Two Second Rule" - Simple way to measure a safe distance with car ahead

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You know what happens when staying too close to trucks & trailers!

6. Get acquainted with basic maintenance techniques

There’s a reason why we have car mechanics, right? To fix our cars. But what happens when a mechanic isn’t within your reach? People don’t move around with mechanics in their car.

A situation needing urgent attention might arise. It might be a basic problem, but if you have no idea what it is, you will be helpless.

You don’t have to learn tedious car maintenance measures, but the basic ones. There’s a sense of independence that comes with being able to do somethings yourself.

7. Know some automotive jargons

Jargons are uninteresting especially if they aren’t needed in your filed. As a car owner, there are certain things you’ll need to explain to your mechanic. Not knowing the right words makes it difficult for you to express yourself well. Also, knowing the right words shows your mechanic that you have knowledge of the problem at hand. You also get to save some money on repairs. It will prevent them from taking advantage of your ignorance.

>>> Naijauto got your back! 15 commonly used auto jargons and their meanings

8. Clean your car regularly

Humans aren’t the only ones that need cleanliness, cars need it too. Dirt always has negative effects. Some car problems are as a result of having dirt in certain areas. If you could keep those areas dirt-free, you wouldn’t encounter problems. There’s also the comfort that comes with having your car cleaned regularly. It smells so fresh.

Knowing how to go about car problems is always a plus.

>>> You can always find more tips and advice about cars right here on Naijauto.com!

Chris Odogwu

Chris Odogwu

Car events

Chris Odogwu is a Content Writer and Journalist. He holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from University of Jos and a master's degree in Mass Communication from University of Lagos. His works have been published in top local and international publications including Forbes, HuffPost, ThriveGlobal, TheNextScoop and Nigeria360 among others. A member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the thrill he gets from writing about exotic cars feels almost the same as riding in them.

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