If you have a new driver in the house or are one yourself, this article is for you. Us at Heritage Autopro, located in S.E Calgary, have seen it all. So here are just a few tips and tricks every driver should know to keep you on the road safely. And yes, it’s OK parents if this gives you a hand up also. 

1. Having troubles opening your hood doesn’t help the macho persona at the gas pumps.
When you’re starting to drive a car consistently, make yourself familiar with where a few things are. Believe it or not, you’ll need to be able to get under the hood at one point so you should know how to open it. Your thinking it’s easy, just release the main latch in the cab of the vehicle, and your ready… duh? You’re good to go until you walk around to the front and pull up the hood and it doesn’t open. Well, there is one more latch that needs to be released as you’re pulling up. They are positioned differently depending on the car. So take a few minutes when you’re orientating yourself with your car. No, finding the steering wheel and the gas peddle isn’t enough. By knowing how to easily open your hood, will surprisingly reduce your stress if a situation arises, or in the off chance that you feel the need to actually LOOK like you know what you’re doing.

2. A dipstick is not just that annoying neighbour you hate.
Now once you get the hood open, look for the dipstick. Its usually a tube like piece coming up from the side of the engine and has oil written on it, or indicated with a symbol. This is a very important little apparatus. It tells you how much oil you have in your car, which is the life blood of your engine. Without it, your engine dies… literally. When checking your oil, make sure the engine is cold or the car has been turned off for at least 10 min. From there it’s simple, pull the dipstick, wipe it off with a paper towel or clean rag, and put it back in, then pull it out again. Check to see how far up on the stick the oil goes. If it’s on the “add” line, just add a little oil one litre at a time, and re-check your dipstick for how much has been added. Repeat till the oil on the dipstick is passed the “add” line. If you’re driving a vehicle that is 5 years or older, you should really check your oil every time you fill up at the pump.

3. Speaking of oil.. oil changes should happen at least every time you have a new girlfriend / boyfriend.
Kidding aside, your oil needs to be changed at least every 5,000 km. The health of your engine and keeping you on the road can be directly related to how good you are at maintaining your car. Oil changes are one of the main maintenance service items that should never be ignored. And really, an oil change is much cheaper then a new engine. Like up to $10,000 cheaper. Also, putting better parts such as brakes and shocks every 80,000 km will only improve your safety – not to mention the car’s handling.

4. Only Dummy’s ignore dummy lights – Just saying.
Check engine lights come on for a reason. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by just getting them checked out sooner rather then later. They are trying to tell you something isn’t right. Whether it’s a big problem or a little problem, there still may be a problem. And if budget is an issue, there are many parts supply stores that will check what the engine is really trying to tell you for free.

5. The candle in your car isn’t for those quiet romantic nights with “you know who”.
Living in the cold climate like we do, you need to make sure you leave a few things in your car that in the event of a break down on the coldest day of the year – which if it’s going to happen, that is usually when it does. Keep a warm blanket and believe it or not, a candle in your trunk all winter long. A candle, during a mid winter break down could truly save your life and keep you from freezing to death. And well, the blanket helps too.
Of course, this isn’t it when driving a car, they are complicated machines. But the last and final tip should be to find a good mechanic that you trust who you can confidently take your car too when it needs service. If you ever need advice or assistance they should be like your doctor and take the time to explain what needs to be done. Not just give you a prescription and shove you out the door. With that, you’re on your way to… honestly wherever your little heart desires. For more information check us out at www.heritageautopro.com.