Driving tips are hardly in short supply on the internet. So one more page won’t hurt, right? Seriously, though, what you will find here are some actually useful tips that you can put into action in specific situations that could be described as car emergencies. These are not utterly obvious driving tips nor are they are arcane references to the construction of vehicles that only gearheads will understand. Like the title promises, these are driving tips guaranteed to save you time, money or frustration in situations that are not exactly everyday occurrences but are common enough that at least one or two of them has been experienced by nearly every driver who ever got behind the wheel.
Overheating Radiator with No Water Hose in Sight
Ever been in the situation where your radiator overheats and steam starts spewing forth? In many cases, this is far from a situation where you need any tip except to put water into the radiator. But what if the radiator goes postal when you are not anywhere near an easily accessible water supply? How do you get water into an engine too handle to handle? This is a tip I bring to your from personal experience: treat the situation as though you had to pull over to change a flat tire. Say what? That’s right: get out the tools you have stashed away for changing your tire and use them to work one of the hubcaps off the tire. The hubcap will now serve as a nicely shaped bowl suitable for carrying a fairly significant amount of water. Find the nearest supply of water, whether it be a stream, lake, well pump or old toilets in an abandoned building. If the water is cold, allow it to cool down close to room temperature before pouring it into the radiator. Another very useful auto emergency tip: wait for the radiator to cool down sufficiently before removing the radiator cap or else you could wind up taking the overheated remnants of coolant inside right to your face.
Dealing with Brake Failure
Knowing what to do when the brakes on your car suddenly go out can literally be a piece of information that saves your life. At the first indication that you no longer have the power to simply press down on a pedal and slow down the car, resist the urge to panic. Instead, focus your attention on where you can steer the car to a safe location to slowly bring it to a rest. Downshift to low gear regardless of whether you are driving a manual or automatic transmission. Pump the brake pedal rapidly to increase brake pressure. After about three or four pumps, the brakes may become workable. If you’ve got anti lock brakes, don’t pump them, but push down firmly and get ready for a longer period of time before you come to a stop. If after pumping the brakes you realize that they are not going to get back to working condition, engage the hand brake. Release it immediately if your car goes into a skid. Keep your attention focused on steering your way out of danger and try not to make any sudden swerving movements. If the car still refuses to come to a stop, pick a spot free from pedestrians and other vehicles and throw the gear into reverse. This is a last gasp maneuver that should be tried only if there is a real danger that you are heading toward a crash. The result of throwing your moving car into reverse can potentially cause significant damage to the gearbox.
Saving Money While Never Running out of Gas
Get used to changing your perspective of your fuel gauge. Start looking at the half-tank line as the new empty. When you let your gas tank dip closer to the empty status, you do more than increase the odds of running out of the gas when it is least convenient. As the gasoline burns down, the space it once occupied inside your gas tank is now taken up by air. Moist air can result in condensation which adds water to the tank . The amount of water caused by this condensation is minute to be sure, but it can reduce your fuel efficiency. A few weeks of inefficient fuel mileage a year is hardly noticeable, but if you are the type of driver who always allows the little light indicating low fuel to come on before filling up, you could be losing significant dollars every year. Same goes true for those who only put in enough gas to get them where they need to go and back rather than filling up the tank. Get into the habit of filling up once the gauge drops to the half-full level and you will not only never run out of gas, you’ll find you have a few dollars to spend on things you want at the end of the month.
Stay Cool on a Sultry Summer Day
Those who live on dirt roads or in locations that require driving through dusty conditions on a regular basis should get to know the process of changing out their air filter. A clogged air filter can affect the performance and efficiency of your vehicle. But where making sure you have a clean air filter can really be a life-saver is when during that situation that rises to the level of emergency only when it happens to you. If you don’t keep your air filter clean, you will eventually start to notice it in the form of your air conditioner beginning to underperform . The last thing you want is to suddenly find yourself stuck in traffic or driving down a lonely stretch of highway on a sultry summer day with an air conditioner now cooling the car at about half its regular efficiency. And that’s one of the main reasons that regular maintenance of this chore can become a life-saver. Changing out a dirty air filter requires knowing how to pop open your vehicle’s hood and locate the housing of the filter that will be either square or round. A Phillips screwdriver will help to remove the screws or clamps on the top of the housing. Remove the dirty air filter and clean away leftover debris from the housing. Place the new air filter into position and screw or clamp the housing back on.