Cars have become ubiquitous in America, with the country’s streets catering more to the needs of motorists than pedestrians. According to statistics compiled by the United States Department of Transportation, there are over 276 million vehicles registered in the country. Furthermore, at least 91 percent of people in the nation can access a vehicle should they need to. But how many motorists actually know how to take proper care of their vehicles?

Can you change a flat tire on your own or do you have to wait while a driver assistance program heads out to your location?Basic vehicle maintenance is a crucial skill if you are a driver.

Learn a few basic maintenance advice that could save you hundreds of dollars and your vehicle.

  • Read the Manual

You won’t believe how much money and frustration you can save if you simply crack open the car’s driver’s manual and read it cover to cover. When you bought your vehicle, did you read this important document or is it stashed in the glovebox? The vehicle manual is essential in understanding how to take care of the machine.

For example, you may think you can just bay any parts for Cummins trucks if your vehicle malfunctions, but the manual can show you that not every part is the same. Vehicle manuals are useful in learning what are the ideal operating conditions for the machine. It will also tell you what warning signs you should look out for when driving that can tell you it needs a tune-up.

So before you hit the road with your new vehicle, take the time to read the manual.

  • Study Basic Repairs

A recent poll revealed that Americans spend an average of $397 every year on vehicle repair. This may not seem like a huge amount, but this adds up.

For example, if you have to call a mechanic every time your car gets a flat tire because you have no idea how to change it, you could easily lose hundreds of dollars. Although it is encouraged you call a mechanic when you really have no idea how to address a vehicular mechanic, you should at least have a basic understanding of how to fix common problems with cars.

The list of common repair and maintenance skills you need to know include changing a flat tire, addressing an overheated engine, restarting your car with jumper cables and buffing out a small scratch or dent on the exterior. You’ll be amazed how much money you can save up if you simply know how to do these basic repair skills.

  • Stock Your Garage

Your garage should be the pit stop for your car and contain everything it needs to run smoothly. It shouldn’t just be a place where you park your car. It needs to be stocked with the various tools and chemicals needed to keep a car running.

For example, you need to have a can of oil for a Chevy 350 if you drive that particular vehicle. You should have a variety of chemicals like machine  lubricant, fuel antifreeze for winter and cleaning solutions for the interior of the car.

Aside from chemicals, you also need a selection of tools. Basic wrench and screwdriver sets are good, but find toolkits meant for vehicular repair. These will most likely include a tire jack for replacing tires and a hydraulic jack to lift a vehicle safely for repairs in the undercarriage.

  • Heed the Dashboard

The car’s dashboard exists to give essential information to the driver, from how fast you’re going to how much fuel you have left in the tank. Which makes it perplexing that so many people tend to ignore the information blinking on it. The most egregious example of dashboard information a lot of drivers ignore is the check engine light.

Many people keep operating their vehicles even when this light begins blinking but this is very counterproductive. According to automobile repair and maintenance experts, the check engine light indicates if there is a problem in the machinery, no matter how small. It’s supposed to give you a warning so you can address the problem before it gets more serious.

A loose cap on the engine may not seem like an emergency yet, but if it dislodges completely, your car could be in serious trouble, especially if you are in the middle of a busy street when it happens. So don’t ignore the check engine light and take your vehicle to a mechanic straight away if it begins blinking.

Vehicle maintenance is an essential skill for all drivers and motorists. Learning these basic tips can help prevent serious accidents and save thousands of dollars.