(This post really applies to any car.)
We just saw Wonder Woman, so this post is inspired by all you badass ladies out there. Many of our most treasured customers are women, so we’d like to share a bit of knowledge you should have about your car. You need your car to be in tip top shape as you carpool to work or school, run to the market, gym, bank, doctor’s appointments, kids’ sporting events, and all the other places you amazing multitaskers need to go. You also need to keep yourself safe. While there are lots of amazing Good Samaritans out there, sometimes it’s hard to know who you can trust.
Thankfully, the rate of violent victimization by strangers has declined in recent years by nearly 80% (source: U.S. Dept. of Justice). That’s great news! Young adults aged 18-24 are most likely to experience violent victimization by a stranger — so young people, your parents aren’t exactly being overprotective or paranoid.
The best way women can protect themselves against victimization related to their car is with knowledge and a game plan. When you’re driving your car and something goes wrong, do you know what you’ll do? Who you’ll call? Do you have numbers stored in your phone for your mechanic, a tow truck company, and roadside assistance? We highly recommend that you do. You don’t want to be fumbling around looking for numbers in an emergency — especially if your phone battery is low.
Here’s a great starting point — some bare-bones knowledge about your car.
7 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her BMW
1. How to pop the hood.
Okay, we realize this might be insulting to some — rest assured, it is not intended to be so — but we also know that too many car owners (not all women) don’t know how to simply get under the hood of their cars and are too embarrassed to ask.
First off, at JL Motorworks there are no bad questions. Ask us anything! That’s what we’re here for.
Usually cars have a latch inside the car (on or near the driver’s side door). You’ll see the little icon with the hood raised. Then when you go to lift the hood, there might be a little tab you have to press down under the hood to fully release it. There’s probably a kickstand of sorts to keep the hood safely lifted so you can let go.
Check your owner’s manual for how to pop and safely secure your car’s hood in the open position. Practice it a few times so you know how to do it. You can pop the hood, but don’t lift it when your car is still hot. Let it cool about 30 minutes before lifting it.
Which reminds us, always always ALWAYS keep your owner’s manual inside your glove compartment. When in doubt about how to do something, consult the owner’s manual.
2. How to turn on the hazard lights.
The hazard lights are front and rear flashing lights that let people know you aren’t driving and may need assistance. Always turn on your hazards if you’re in an accident, double parked, or stopped on the side of the road — or even if you’re slowing down to pull over. They’ll keep flashing even when the engine is turned off. Look for a red triangle button on your dashboard.
3. How to check and adjust tire pressure.
We’ve discussed the importance of tire pressure for your safety and the longevity of your tires. Tire pressure changes when the outside temperatures change, so we recommend checking it monthly. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressure for your car. Get yourself a tire pressure gauge, or stop by any gas station to check it. Then, refill with air if needed. (Keep some extra quarters on hand, as many gas station air pumps require coins.)
How often do you just look at your tires? Take a look every so often and see if any of them look a little droopy.
4. How to jump start a dead battery.
Check out this short video on how to jump start your car if your battery dies. You can buy a set of jumper cables for under $20.
5. How to change a tire.
Check out this brief video on how to change a flat tire. Use your owner’s manual to find out where your spare tire is located and be sure it’s inflated!
6. How to check the oil.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to check your car’s oil. If your oil is low, it may need to be changed or you may have a leak. Read this post on how to detect an oil leak.
Be sure to purchase the type of oil recommended in your owner’s manual.
7. How to add washer fluid.
Once again, consult your owner’s manual to find the washer fluid reservoir and check the levels. If you’re going on a road trip, you need to be sure you have plenty of washer fluid to clean bugs, dirt/dust, slush, etc. off your windshield so you can see properly.