Welcome to a new series here on Ginger & Co., 20 Things in Your 20s, which will give you smart advice about all those pesky “adulting” things that we probably don’t think about all the time.
Ladies, I have an important question for you – what do you know about your car? Do you know what kind of car it is? What kind of oil do you need? When was the last time you got your tires rotated? Do you know how often you need to get your brakes taken care?
I know there’s a stereotype that women don’t know anything about cars – but here’s the deal, as a woman in your 20s, you need to know your car.
If you’ve ever had a car problem, you know how much of a pain it can be when you aren’t with your car. With a car that just passed 140,000 miles on the odometer, I know that the days of my car are probably numbered. Every time my dad tells me that, though, I swear I get at least another thousand miles out of that thing.
Since moving to Austin, I’ve had my fair share of car problems – two flat tires, bought two other new tires, my air conditioning was out most of last summer and now I’m in need of getting my brakes fixed.
Oh, and since Easter, I’ve replaced on headlight in my car and replaced the door handle on my driver’s door. Yes, I fixed both of those. At some point, I want to learn how to change my own oil, too, but brakes, I’ll leave those to the pros.
Today, let’s talk about a few ways to make sure you can learn about your car.
1. Know where that owner’s manual is.
I have a physical copy in my car, but I also keep a digital copy in my Evernote account. When it came time to get my oil changed for the first time in Austin, I found the information about changing in my owner’s manual (crazy concept, I know, y’all). Car manuals can be thick with a lot of information, but at do yourself a favor and actually look through it every now and then.Car problems are no fun, but with some basic knowledge and info about your car, you'll handle… Click To Tweet
2. Document Everything
When I was in high school, all I did was drive the car. It wasn’t even mine in my family. It was my dad’s car, and I just drove it around. Back then, I had no reason to document anything about the car. Now I wish I had. Car history is so important for knowing when to do routine maintenance. I just had my brakes done, but I can’t tell you the last time I did that because I have no paperwork about it.
Every time I get tires, I get them at Discount Tires because you can have them rotated for free. Any documentation I get from them goes into Evernote, under my car’s tag. Any receipt for car work? Goes into Evernote. Maybe you have a file folder with all your documentation, but you need to have access to it somewhere.
This isn’t just for repairs and maintenance, though. Be sure to include registration and insurance documents in your system.
3. Teach Yourself the basics
Whether it’s learning how to change your oil, swap out a light, or even replace your door handle because it breaks on moving day (true story), there are plenty of things you can do yourself to save time and money. Replace your own windshield wiper fluid (you can buy big jugs at Target or Walmart), clean out your car, and add air to your tires. If you have someone in your family who is savvy at this, you can always ask him (let’s be honest, most of the time, it’s our guy friends who know this stuff). I personally always check Youtube because there are multiple sources of information to check.
Even if you don’t know everything about your car, you want to know the basics on how to repair your car and how to at least guess what potential problems you might have when some thing goes wrong.
4. Know How Often You Need to have Maintenance
So, I’ll be honest, last week I had to buy three new tires on my car – because I hadn’t done the basic maintenance of getting my tires aligned. Oops. One of the tires I replaced, it was a year old. And when I was at the tire store, I asked the guy how often I needed to rotate my tires. I know that as a woman, it can be hard to ask about your car because it feeds into this old idea that women don’t know anything about their cars – but guess what, you won’t know if you don’t ask.
Being a successful adult in your twenties is all about knowing how to take care of the things you have, including your car.