A day with car trouble is a day most would like to forget.
When my car has trouble starting, I need a new tire, or a headlight needs changed I often feel like a deer in headlights when dealing with these specific situations. Most times I ask my fiancé for help, call my parents for advice, or watch a YouTube video to figure it out on my own.
For many women, I found this also to be true. Cars do not come second nature to many of us and if you are living on your own or you were never taught the proper techniques to care for your automobile it can become extremely frustrating.
Last year I got into a minor accident, but it led to my car spending almost a month in a body shop. To this day, it is not completely back to its original form. When I got home from holiday break last week I was welcomed by a “dead” car. My family suggested I get a new battery and it would be good as new (tip: An average car battery lasts from 5 to 7 years.) Unfortunately, after my fiancé changed the battery for me it did not start. This led me to thinking–“How many other young women living on their own encounter these troubles?” It is not something that one would like to broadcast on social media, so chances are it happens more frequently than we probably realize.
If you are experiencing car problems or simply want to be prepared for the next time you get a flat tire on the side of the road, check out my 6 tips for young women and their cars!
- Invest in AAA: Triple A has saved by butt more times than not. One weekend a friend of mine and I ran out of gas on the Ohio Turnpike and I simply called AAA. They were there within 20 minutes with gas. The average yearly cost of a membership is around $100, but if your parents already have an account and don’t mind you joining, the cost is typically between $30-$50 for an additional person. AAA also comes in handy when your car dies and you need a tow to your mechanic. Depending on how far your shop is, the tow may be free of charge! www.aaa.com
- Find a trustworthy mechanic: Typically, if you had a problem with your vehicle in high school or college you just took it to your parent’s mechanic. Though this still may be true, I highly recommend researching and asking local friends who they suggest as a trustworthy mechanic in the new city or town you reside in. It took a few months, but once I found a mechanic I truly trust, I have no problem calling him to ask a simple question and I am confident that his pricing is reasonable. (If you’re in the Nashville area I highly recommend Latondress Auto World on Alabama Avenue.)
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions: If you don’t know something-ask! If you are not sure about the process-ask! If you are questioning the cost-ask! Call your parents, get advice from your mechanic, research online; do what you have to do to make sure you car is cared for in an adequate and professional manner.
- $800 rule: My first year moving to Nashville it seemed like my car was at the shop once a month. I felt like I could not catch a break and every repair was costing me an arm and a leg. Each time my mechanic called to ask permission to move forward with a job I cringed at the price he gave me. That is when I started venting to my mom and she gave me an awesome piece of advice– when in doubt follow the $800 rule. If you need repairs (within reason) of $800 or less, than chances are you should probably move forward with it because in the long run you will end up paying a tremendous amount more on a new car than that $800 repair fee. Always get a second opinion on the cost if you think it is high and out of reason.
- Relax, it’s just a car: Don’t dwell on the one thing that has you down. A car can always be fixed–you can always buy a new one–you can take public transportation if needed–you can catch a ride with a friend. Not having a car is an inconvenience, but it’s not the end of the world. Relax, take a deep breath, and count the many blessing you have each and every day.
- Be prepared: I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure you have emergency “equipment” in your car at all times. Run to Walmart and grab the essentials: gloves, blanket, jumper cables, case of water, box of granola bars, ice scraper, and a pair of cheap sneakers. Especially in frigid weather it’s crucial that you are equipped with the necessities incase help can’t get to you immediately.
If you have any car care tips to share please feel free to let me know in the comments below!