The first car that I ever had was the family car; it was a small Chevrolet Chevette. Everyone in my family learned to drive in that car. My mother, my sisters, my cousins and eventually I, myself, learned to drive with that car. My dad and I spent many hours working together on that car to keep it going and it was because of him that I learned how to work on my own cars. I wish I had a good picture of that car, but that was before camera phones, so I had to find a picture of it online.
Let's face it, nowadays everyone's car is very important to them. It would be hard to do a lot of the things that I do in my day to day life if I did not have my car. I use my car to drive my wife to work, to run errands with my children and to enjoy a night out with my wife. If I did not have a car, a lot of those things would take a lot more time to do. I know going to my local Wal-Mart on the bus would be an adventure. Imagine all the bags I would have to carry home.
When I was little my father would always talk to me about the importance of taking care of the car. I mean, I was not old enough to drive yet, but he would talk to me about how to make sure the car is running properly. I own a lot of gratitude to my dad because of all that he taught me. Growing up in Guatemala, he did not have much, but he was always teaching himself things to keep busy.
My dad is an electrician, a carpenter, a mechanic, a cook and a great example for myself and my kids. I do not think that I can be half the man that he is, but I am trying to be. He has taught me a lot about cars and he took me to one of the best mechanic schools anywhere...the junkyard. Yep, he showed me that if you want to learn about your own car, you have to be hands on working on cars.
My dad and I would go to the junkyards on weekends and find a car that was similar to ours and take it apart and put it back together. It was through this training that I was able to learn a lot about our car and save money on doing the repairs ourselves. We would go early on the weekends and use WD-40 or some Quaker State oil to loosen the nuts and bolts on the cars. I always keep a bottle of Quaker State in my car in case I need to use it as a lubricant when changing my tires.
When I bought my first car, my dad showed me how to change the oil myself and taught me how to do a lot of the repairs on my own. His one big tip to me was to read the owner's manual, which I did a lot. He also told me to buy the big auto repair manuals that they sell in auto part stores. Those books became like my bible, because I would constantly read them to teach myself about my car.
Nowadays, people just have to google a problem and can get millions of links and videos that show them an answer to their problem. I like the fact that I was taught how to do it myself, so that way I do not have to rely on my smart phone for the answer. What if you can not get a signal? What will you do then?
The car I drive now is my third car. I sold my previous cars, because as much as I tried to keep them running, it was getting too costly to do repairs on them. My car is two years old and even though I take it to the dealership to get the oil changed, I read about how to do it myself. Like my dad told me to do, I studied the manual of my new car the day I got it. I want this car to last my family a long time, so I am making sure that I take very good care of it.
So what do I do to insure my car will last a long time? I try to keep it as clean as possible especially with the weather in Chicago. During the winter I try to make sure it gets rinsed off weekly so the salt does not start corroding the body. I tend to keep an extra bottle of oil and a gallon of water on hand, because you never know when these things will come in handy. I also keep a blanket in the car, incase the seats are too cold or in case we make an impromptu picnic at the park with the kids.
My car warranty will be up by next April and although I am knocking on wood that there is no major repair waiting to happen I do know that I will work on it myself and try to keep my car on the road.
As a former teacher I have been teaching you a thing or two without you noticing. If you have been paying attention you might have noticed that I have given you a few tips on how to keep your car running, if not let's recap:
- Go to the junkyard and teach yourself how to work on your car.
- Always read the owners manual for your car.
- Buy the complete auto repair manual for your car and keep it in the car.
- Try to keep your car as clean as possible.
- Always keep a bottle of oil and water in your car for emergencies.
- And finally, try to teach yourself as much as you can about your car and auto repair in general.
Remember to visit your local WalMart to get your supply of Quaker State motor oils. My local Walmart had the auto section all the way in the back of the store. So it was quite a journey to make it back there with my kids without stopping at the toy section.
Do you have some tips and tricks for preparing your car and keeping running on the road? Let us know some of them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.