3 Things Every Car Owner Should Know How To Do

Did you know there are more than 250 million registered vehicles in the United States alone? While this figure does include cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and other motorized vehicles, it’s still pretty impressive given our country’s population is around 325 million. And yet studies reveal only about 47% of us feel certain we could jump-start a car, and even fewer of us know how to change a tire.

In this post we’ve provided a handy guide with the steps you’ll need to:

  • Change a Tire
  • Jump Start Your Car
  • Check Your Oil

Sherwood Auto Repairwants you to have the information you need so you can be more confident when one of these situations arises. Feel free to print this out and put it in your car for future reference.

We hear you millennials out there are saying, “But, why? I can always Google or YouTube that.” You sure can! Except when you can’t. What if you were without your phone? What?!? Even those of us who aren’t digital natives (raised using technology instead of learning it as an adult) have become dependent on our hand-held devices and feel vulnerable without them. But it does happen and sometimes an old-fashioned printed copy can be useful.

How To Change A Tire

IMPORTANT: Go to your car -- (do it now, we’ll wait) -- and check to be sure it has the following items so you’ll be able to change a tire when it becomes necessary:

  • A spare tire that is inflated and ready to use
  • A lug wrench
  • A jack
  • Any special tool needed to remove your hubcap or wheel cover (some can be removed using the flat end of your lug wrench)

Step 1:

If you’re driving when you find out you have a flat tire, slow down and look for a safe and level place to stop. A large parking lot or at least an area with a good-sized shoulder that keeps you safe from nearby traffic. Never change the tire yourself if you can’t put enough space between you and passing cars.

Step 2:

Always turn on your hazards to alert other drivers. If you happen to have a parking cone set it out for added protection.

Step 3:

Put your parking break on.

Step 4:

If you’re changing a rear tire, place tire wedges under the front tires to help prevent the vehicle from rolling. If it’s a front tire that needs to be changed, put the tire wedges in the rear. We didn’t include tire wedges as a required item because if you don’t have them, a large rock, a brick, or a solid piece of wood can serve the same purpose.

Step 5:

Loosen the lug nuts.

Step 6:

Place the jack under the vehicle in the appropriate spot--usually a flat, metal area. If you aren’t sure, check your manual for proper jack positioning.

Step 7:

Using the jack, raise the vehicle so the tire is lifted off the ground (about 6 inches is good).

Step 8:

Remove the loosened lug nuts and take the flat tire off of the lug bolts.

Step 9:

Position the spare tire on the lug bolts and screw on the lug nuts as tight as you can by hand so you can lower the vehicle.

Step 10:

Lower the car so the spare tire is touching the ground.

Step 11:

Use the lug wrench and your body weight to be sure the nuts are as tight as possible.

Step 12:

Lower the car completely and remove the jack.

You did it! Now put everything away and drive safely to the nearest technicia. Spare tires aren’t meant to be driven at high speeds (over 50mph) or for long periods of time.

How To Jump Start Your Battery

IMPORTANT: Go to your car and check to be sure you have jumper cables.

  1. Park the car with the good battery close to the front end of your car so the cables can reach from their battery to yours.
  2. Turn both cars off
  3. Connect one end of the RED cable to your battery (the dead battery)
  4. Connect the other end of the RED cable to the good battery
  5. Connect one end of the BLACK cable to the good battery
  6. Connect the other end of the BLACK cable to the bare metal of the dead battery
  7. Start the vehicle with the good battery and wait 2 minutes
  8. Start the vehicle with the dead battery and wait 2 minutes
  9. Disconnect in this order: remove the end of the BLACK cable from the car that had the dead battery, then remove the other end of the BLACK cable from the good battery, then remove the end of the RED cable from the good battery, and lastly the RED cable from the previously dead battery
  10. Drive your car for at least 10 minutes to give the battery enough time to charge

Bring your car in and we can test your batteryso you know if it needs replacement.

How To Check Your Oil

IMPORTANT: Put a rag or some paper towels in your car for emergencies, and be sure you know where the engine oil dipstick is. If you don’t, stop in Sherwood Auto Repair and let us show you. To keep your car running as long as possible we want our customers to feel comfortable keeping an eye on things between service appointments. That way you can bring your car in the moment you think there might be an issue.

Checking (and changing) your oil regularly is the best way to help keep your car running. To check your oil:

  • Park on a flat area
  • Turn off the engine
  • Open the hood
  • Pull out the engine oil dipstick and wipe it off with the handy rag you’ve stored in your car for just this purpose
  • Push the dipstick in all the way, pull it out and inspect
  • The upper line or mark indicates “full” and the marks or line closest to the end of the dipstick means “minimum”

Is the oil level higher than the “full” mark or lower than the “minimum” mark? If so, bring it to your mechanic. And take a look at the consistency of the oil. It should be honey-colored and smooth. If it’s dark brown or black, or you feel any particles in it, you’ll want to bring it in for serviceso our technicians can take a look.


Sherwood Auto Repair is proud to announce we are now officially a “Certified Female Friendly® Location” with AskPatty.com. Keep an eye out for more about this exciting development in the New Year.>

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