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September 01, 2009

Car Care Essentials for Women

090901-FRAM_Airfilter_WOMAN According to a study by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, nearly 9 out of 10 female motorists are involved in their household's vehicle maintenance and repair. After all, we're usually the ones who drop them off and pick them up from servicing! However, how much do most women actually know about what's under the hood of their vehicle--and the care it requires?

According to a recent survey performed by Jiffy Lube International, only 33% of women could identify the serpentine belt (vs. 77% of men) and only 63% of women could point out the engine air filter (compared to 90% of men). While the survey did uncover that 97% and 91% of women can identify their car battery and engine oil dipstick respectively, there are still quite a few areas where they could use some additional under-hood education.  For example:

  • 090901-pouring_windshield_washer_fluid -- Nearly 3 in 10 women only care about their oil levels when they're having it changed, though it's actually best to make a habit to check your oil every time you fill up.
  • -- More than 1 in 10 (11%) women cannot identify the windshield washer fluid reservoir. This large plastic container is usually tucked off into a corner of the engine compartment and the cap or container may be pictured with spurts of water. It's usually quite easy to find and refill yourself.
  • -- Only three-quarters of women can identify the transmission fluid dipstick. Find out how to check your automatic transmission fluid here at eHow.
  • -- Just three in ten (33%) can identify the serpentine belt. This single, continuous belt is used to drive multiple peripheral devices in an automotive engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, A/C compressor, air pump, etc.

You can find the location of all these items in your vehicle's owner's manual, or ask the technician to show them to you next time you take it in for an oil change.

According to the Jiffy Lube survey, women were also tricked by a few myths:
  • --35 percent of women believe that balancing the weight of people in their car will help their tires last longer (FACT: Keeping your tires properly inflated is the best way to maximize their safe performance and lifespan.)
  • --28 percent of women thought using premium gas all the time makes their car run better (FACT: Premium fuel only benefits those high-performance engines whose manufacturers specifically require it. Most engines will run just fine on regular fuel.)

090901-check-the-oil Want to ensure you keep your car running smoothly? Here are some tips to help women take better car of their cars. Follow the suggested maintenance schedule in your vehicle's owner's manual for proper intervals, and keep your receipts in a safe location so you'll always know when services were last performed.
  • --Create a preventive maintenance checklist - Have a car-care expert perform preventive maintenance services on a regular basis, such as topping off fluid levels, inspecting belts and hoses, checking tire pressure and the engine oil, and making sure all the lights work.
  • --Check your engine air filter - The engine air filter is like the vehicle's lung. Refer to your owner's manual to see when it should be swapped out to ensure your car is 'breathing' clearly.
  • --Check your engine oil and filter - Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. Check the oil level regularly and check your owner's manual for when to change the oil and which grade to use.
  • --Know how to check tire pressure and change a tire - Having a flat tire is never fun, but learning how to change it yourself can save a lot of time. Ask a car care professional to show you how. Make sure your tires are filled to the proper tire pressure as well. You can find the proper tire pressure in the vehicle owner's manual or on a decal in the doorjamb or glove compartment. And don't forget to check and fill the spare tire as well.
  • --Clean and replace worn wiper blades - Wiper blades should be replaced every six months, or at least as you enter the winter rainy season. Check for cracks regularly, and clean dirty wiper blades with a wet paper towel.
  • --Prepare ahead for emergencies - Make sure your vehicle emergency kit is restocked. If you don't have one, create one with items such as bottled water, a flashlight and batteries, flares, duct tape, energy bars, a blanket, phone number for roadside assistance, and can of Fix-a-Flat.

None of these steps is particularly difficult. Be an empowered woman and learn these car care essentials. We want you to give the correct answers next time Jiffy Lube calls up with a survey!


Jody-devere_president_askpatty Jody DeVere
President and CEO
http://www.askpatty.com
http://www.carblabber.com




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