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Thread: Do You Know Your Car?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    36,759

    Do You Know Your Car?

    It is snowing pretty heavily here now. I just came back in, and had another encounter with someone who didn't know how to check her windshield wiper fluid, or where it came out when she pushed the bottom. I helped her (and the convenience store employee trying to help her) find the spigots (the other employee had checked, her fluid was nice and full), and cleaned out around the outlets, and had her feel for them, and we determined they were not inched over after all. [Alas when we had her try, the pump motor didn't even sound, so the pump is likely what's dead, the car's under warranty so she'll have them fix it.)

    But it surprised me she didn't know these things, and the other employee was checking on the hood itself, in case the spouts were there, like they are on his truck.

    Do you, beloved Pet Talkers, know your car well enough to check fluids, clear stuff, etc? I hope?

    Our Dad made us learn all that before we ever went for a license test - and more.
    I've Been Frosted

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    25,163
    I knew my previous car (a Saturn) better than I know my current one (also a Saturn). I do know how to get the tire off and put on the spare. I know where the windshield wiper fluid reservoir is, where the little ports are (sort of under the wipers), where the oil stick is and how to add oil.

    Karen, when I saw the title of this thread, I misunderstood! My first Saturn was the teal color, which was the most popular color for Saturns the first few years. I have a friend at church who had the same color! Only difference was the bumper colors- mine were black and his were teal. Slightly different car models, his had more bells and whistles. We each tried to get into the other's car more than once! His key would fit into the door of my car, but it wouldn't start the ignition. My key wouldn't fit into his lock. When it would snow a lot you couldn't tell which was which, except for license plates. When we replaced the teal, we both got Saturns, but different models. We had friends at church who went through the same thing with Toyota Corollas
    I've been Boo'd ... right off the stage!

    Aaahh, I have been defrosted! Thank you, Bonny and Asiel!
    Brrrr, I've been Frosted! Thank you, Asiel and Pomtzu!


    "That's the power of kittens (and puppies too, of course): They can reduce us to quivering masses of Jell-O in about two seconds flat and make us like it. Good thing they don't have opposable thumbs or they'd surely have taken over the world by now." -- Paul Lukas

    Cassie's Catster page: http://www.catster.com/cats/448678

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Posts
    36,759
    Oh, how funny! I guess I have always had uncommon colors of cars, but I also automatically check license plate number on approach in any parking lot just in case! My current cat, Turtle, is dark green, which apparently is not a very common color for 2003 CRV's, one dealer when we were shopping said he didn't think they were making any anymore, but we just went to a different dealer, and there he was!
    I've Been Frosted

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    21,021
    I've always been able to do basic things with my car - not only the windshield fluid, but change the air filter, check the oil (and add some if needed), as well as changing front and rear wiper blades, and replacing fuses and light bulbs. It does save a few dollars in the long run!
    "I like physics, but I love cartoons." -- Stephen Hawking

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Adirondacks, NY
    Posts
    11,175
    Not at all, and that probably isn't good. I know how to change a tire but I don't really know much else.
    Mikey - [Pug/Beagle Mix] Spock and T'Stala - [Hermit Crabs] Rest in Peace, Bo. I love you - [African Cawed Frog] Bo II - [Guppy] Buzz - [VT Male Betta] Chippewa - [BT Male Betta]
    "Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    Waltham, MA, USA
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    36,759
    Quote Originally Posted by Alysser View Post
    Not at all, and that probably isn't good. I know how to change a tire but I don't really know much else.
    Aww, next time you have some spare time, have someone go over it with you! Even a local mechanic if you ask nicely, and have no relations around who are car folks!

    (Note: I didn't say "car guys" - I once had a male coworker, after I discussed some old cars with him, look at me a little funny and say, "Y'know, you are a bigger "car guy" than most actual guys I know!")
    I've Been Frosted

  7. #7
    Not at all, and that probably isn't good. I know how to change a tire but I don't really know much else.
    Get out the manual in the glove box and look at it. Learn where to check oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant level.

    Get a tire pressure gauge and check them every once in a while. They should be within 1-2 PSI of each other.

    There's a ton of basic maintenance information in the owner's manual for every car that over the long term can save you a short ton of money. Fluids are cheap. Engines and transmissions are pricey.
    The one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind wasn't king, he was stoned for seeing light.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    9,559
    Yeah, I'm with Alyssa on this one, I don't know crap about my car. I can put oil, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, etc. in but I can't change a tire or anything like that. I'm pretty car-stupid.
    ♥Bri [HUMAN]♥
    ♥Lily [POMERANIAN], Brennan [APBT], Bailey [APBT/HOUND MIX]♥
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    ♥Peach [RAT], Pepper [RAT], Phoebe [RAT], and PipSqueak [RAT]♥


    “Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be,
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Adirondacks, NY
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    Well to be honest, my Dad kind of does all that. I am probably going away to school next year, so I should learn that. I am sure he'll teach me before then.
    Mikey - [Pug/Beagle Mix] Spock and T'Stala - [Hermit Crabs] Rest in Peace, Bo. I love you - [African Cawed Frog] Bo II - [Guppy] Buzz - [VT Male Betta] Chippewa - [BT Male Betta]
    "Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rhode Island; USA
    Posts
    16,862
    You can also go online to a forum for your make and model, and learn a LOT. I had never done this until I bought Carmine (my Prius). Being a hybrid and so different, I felt I needed to know more about it, and in searching I discovered that there are car forums!

    For the Prius, many of the folks have done step by step videos on how to do various things, so save you money. Like changing the cabin filter, which should be done annually, takes about 5 minutes, and costs $30 at the Toyota dealership. Thanks to links on the forum, I buy the new filter online, a Toyota one not a generic (just to be sure I wasn't messing with my warranty the first few years), at an stunning $5 WITH shipping!

    I also learned plenty about after market add ons, and I even bought a few myself.

    Loved the story about the teal Saturns! I have gone to a few red Prii in the past and wondered why I couldn't get in, lol.
    I've been BOO'd!!
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    405
    I have a dad and brother who are both 'car guys' (my brother is actually in college to be an auto tech). So I know how to fill the washer fluid and check the oil, but that's about it. They do the rest for me. That may not be such a good thing...
    Owned by my baby and heart-dog Lolli.

    If each pet we love takes a part of our heart and replaces it with a part of theirs, my heart is a very strange collection of pieces, but I wouldn't have it any other way


    Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go, and then do it. --Ann Landers

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    California
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    11,620
    Quote Originally Posted by Lady's Human View Post
    Get out the manual in the glove box and look at it. Learn where to check oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant level.

    Get a tire pressure gauge and check them every once in a while. They should be within 1-2 PSI of each other.

    There's a ton of basic maintenance information in the owner's manual for every car that over the long term can save you a short ton of money. Fluids are cheap. Engines and transmissions are pricey.
    This is exactly what I do if I have a problem with my car.....check the manual! I know the basics and I know how to get help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
    You can also go online to a forum for your make and model, and learn a LOT. I had never done this until I bought Carmine (my Prius). Being a hybrid and so different, I felt I needed to know more about it, and in searching I discovered that there are car forums!

    For the Prius, many of the folks have done step by step videos on how to do various things, so save you money. Like changing the cabin filter, which should be done annually, takes about 5 minutes, and costs $30 at the Toyota dealership. Thanks to links on the forum, I buy the new filter online, a Toyota one not a generic (just to be sure I wasn't messing with my warranty the first few years), at an stunning $5 WITH shipping!

    I also learned plenty about after market add ons, and I even bought a few myself.

    Loved the story about the teal Saturns! I have gone to a few red Prii in the past and wondered why I couldn't get in, lol.
    My boyfriend has changed his brake pads by watching a video online. He does TONS of things by watching videos online. So if I have problems, he can usually help me figure it out. And he's not what I would call a "car guy" either.
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.

    Thank you for the siggy, Michelle!

    I've been Boo'd!!!

    Cindy (Human) - Taz (RB Tabby) - Zoee (RB Australian Shepherd) - Paizly (Dilute Tortie) - Taggart (Aussie Mix) - Jax (Brown & White Tabby), - Zeplyn (Cattle Dog Mix)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio USA
    Posts
    11,465
    I am 48 years old, have never changed a flat, my oil, replace my blades, jumped a battery, filled a tire with air, etc. I wouldn't change a flat tire for lots of reasons, the safety of my child and I are at the top of the list. I have AAA insurance, a cell phone, and no less than 25 people I could call upon to help out in the event of an emergency (which simply hasn't happened to me in my life). I live in a city, not some rural area, where the chances of getting stranded are no greater than slim and none. I must be extraordinarily lucky in never finding myself in that situation where I would die unless I could switch out a flat, put wiper fluid in my car, or jump a battery. I will stick to the things I know how to do, and leave the rest up to the para-professionals. Kinda like I do with my taxes.

  14. #14
    About the forums:

    There are (surprisingly) forums for darned near every make and model car you could think of, and most of them are very useful. There are also several ASE master techs who have youtube channels. Occasionally the forums will spot trends and come up with fixes for issues before the manufacturer does. The web is a great tool, you just have to filter out the carp.

    As to the above.....

    Humans are generalists. Ants and bees are specialists.
    The one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind wasn't king, he was stoned for seeing light.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Midwest
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    There are two manuals in the glove box full of fine print. The battery is under the rear right seat, you would have to take the seat out to get to the battery with jumper gables. Not very handy . Have to take half the trunk apart to get the spare tire out along with the jack. My old Chevy II Nova was less complex. I do live out in rural America so the cell phone is my best bet for an SOS.
    The frost is on the pumpkin & I've been BOO'D by two pet talk ghosts.
    Thank you Fritz & Cassiesmom

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