Car Questions 101: Answers for the Everyday Driver

Published On: October 24, 2018Last Updated: September 25, 2023

Car Driving Tips

Despite the ubiquity of vehicles in our fast-paced, on-the-go society, most people still have plenty of questions about how cars work, what can go wrong and how to fix those issues.
Indeed, gaining some valuable Car 101 knowledge can go a long way in learning the ins and outs of maintenance and repairs. With that in mind, here are the answers to some of the most common as well as uncommon questions the public has about cars and trucks.

Lightbulb Replacement

car maintenance jobs

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You may be surprised to learn a majority of today’s cars are home to more light bulbs than the number of holiday bulbs you typically string up on your home each Christmas. Of course, this is truer of newer cars with modern LED taillights, headlights and displays, although the rear of many vehicles houses more than 100 specialized bulbs.

With all these light bulbs in and on today’s vehicles, it’s safe to say many people wonder about their shelf life. Experts say it really depends on the type of bulb, but many service stations offer free bulb checks when you’re getting your oil changed or tires rotated.

But, with so many lights, replacing them can get expensive. In fact, the No. 1 killer of bulbs is moisture in the form of condensation, which often builds up in bulb casings and is common in headlights.


replace the tires

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At best, extreme tire wear causes flats and car accidents at worst. Thin tire tread can easily be punctured by road debris or any sharp object, while balding tires increase the chances of hydroplaning. But how and when do you know you’re in need of new tires?

To keep things simple, try the penny test by inserting the coin upside down into the tread of your tires. If Abe Lincoln’s head is covered, your tires are in good condition; but if his whole head is showing, you need new tires, pronto. Not sure about which set of tires is best suited for your vehicle? Experts say it all comes down to the type of driving you typically do.

For instance, if you own a truck, all terrain-tires may be a good pick, as they hold up well on city roads, but can also handle rugged, unpaved roads filled with potholes. If commuting to and from work is the primary use of your vehicle, then investing in a set of all-season tires is likely more practical.

Windshield Wipers

windshield wipers

Image Source: Flickr

Windshield wipers are one of the most important car parts to maintain. Whether you use your car for commuting or your truck for hauling goods and parts, winter weather can be a pain if you don’t have wipers that work optimally. The most common reason for wiper replacement are tears in the rubber wiper blade.

While torn wipers will still work, dirt can get lodged in the tear and scratch your windshield. But if your wipers won’t move back and forth whatsoever, it’s likely your wiper motor has failed and must be replaced immediately. Acting quickly is the best approach, particularly if you plan to or must drive in rainy or snowy conditions.

Another reason for inert wipers may be due to the motor fuse burning out. Just make sure your mechanic checks the motor fuse when you take your car in for service, as purchasing a new fuse is much less expensive than a new motor.

Drive with Care

There’s a lot to know about cars and trucks. Luckily, uncovering some information about how these simple (yet not so simple) accessories work will not only save you money, but also keep you safer while on the road.

Identifying when you need new headlights and windshield wipers, as well as a tire rotation and new tires, is all part of responsible car ownership. By following a proper maintenance schedule, your car will definitely last longer and go farther.

About the Author: High Stuff

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