Everyone who has owned a car knows how reliable it is to break down. How stubborn it is in its own special way.
The good thing is that with time comes nostalgia, and nostalgia can fix memories that have been bugging us for a very long time, allowing us to laugh at wedding disasters, beach fails, and even all the annoying car issues we've been through.
For the newest "Hashtags" segment on The Tonight Show, its host Jimmy Fallon asked his viewers to share their worst car stories, and it was just like always: people responded to the prompt on Twitter, the showrunners picked the funniest entries and they got a feature on live television. And, just like every time, they were hilariously entertaining, too.
According to experts, taking care of your car starts with three rudimentary things you should be doing every other fill-up to ensure it stays in tip-top shape.
First, clean the windshield. A dirty, bug-splattered windshield is a safety hazard (it obscures your view of the road), so give it a regular cleaning. Using the spongy part of the gas station squeegee, soak the whole windshield with the cleaning fluid. Then pull the squeegee tightly from the middle of the windshield to the sides, finishing off the remaining streaks by pulling it top to bottom. If your headlights are dirty, give them a squeegeeing too.
Next, check tire pressure. Maintaining this department will keep you safe and even save you a little money. Improperly inflated tires — and this means both over-inflated and under-inflated — don't handle or stop as well as tires with the correct pressure, and they are more likely to suffer a blowout. Plus, tires with the correct pressure last longer and increase your fuel efficiency, even if very slightly.
Lastly, check the oil level and top off as needed. Motor oil is your car's blood and is essential to its performance. It lubricates all the moving parts in your engine so they don't grind and tear themselves into a disaster. It also transfers heat away from the combustion cycle and traps and holds all the nasty byproducts of combustion, sending it to the oil filter. If your engine doesn't have enough oil, your car is at great risk.
To ensure your car always has enough oil, you simply need to keep regularly checking it. Your owner's manual might recommend that you do this at every gas fill-up but every other is usually sufficient.
Checking your car's oil level is very easy. All you need is a clean paper towel, adequate light, and a few minutes. But before you start, make sure your car is on level ground so you get an accurate reading. Then, locate your engine's dipstick (it typically has an image of an oil can or just says "OIL"). Pull out the dipstick. No laughing. Wipe it clean with a paper towel (gas stations sometimes have them available near the pumps). Put the dipstick back, making sure it goes all the way in. Pull the dipstick out again, (don't turn it upside down to look at it—this makes the oil run upward and ruins your reading). It will have two marks at the bottom. The oil level can be read by looking where the oily part ends and the dry part begins: if the oil line is between the two marks, you’re good to go. If it’s below the bottom mark, you need to add some more oil. But never add more than a quart at once without driving and taking a new reading of the oil level. Too much oil isn't good for the engine too.
All you need to do now is follow the maintenance schedule suggested in your vehicle's owner's manual, keep the car clean and it won't break down. Much.