As I drove home today on this damp and dreary October evening, I noticed my car just wasn't right. What is that I thought, it’s a bit wobbly? It dawned on me that the tyre pressure was probably a bit low and I guess I’ll have to haul myself out of the car at the service station and pump them bad boys up. I knew I didn't want to engage in any movement other than the 4.5 second mini-run I always do from my drivers seat to the front door of my house, but nonetheless I knew it had to happen. Just as I pulled into Texaco the dread rushed over me like the hot flush you get when a flashback occurs on a Sunday afternoon (who told me I could dance?). This fear is of course caused by the “stare” I will get from all other road users in the petrol station, let’s just say predominantly male road users. They look upon with interest trying to establish if this poor crayture knows what she’s at at all! When I began driving this was much more of an issue, but now I measure that PSI with confidence. This really made me reflect on how far I’d come since I started driving about 7 years ago. Even though I have always been quite an independent person, for some reason when it came to cars I tended to go all “damsel in distress”. Life alterations caused me to re-evaluate my attitude. Below is a short list of actions I regularly undertake to maintain my wheels.
Engine oil – Imagine that petrol is to a car what food is to a person. Well oil is like your blood and without it you die. Some cars seem to use more than others, but mine is pretty moderate. Every now and again I get myself down to Halford’s in Galway (there you got your plug!) and get some oil. Most recently, when the sales assistance offered me help, I said no. As much as I don’t want to get oil on my shellacs and I can’t really remember where it goes I know I need to be self-reliant. I pop the bonnet and look for the cap that says ENGINE OIL, open and pour in the oil. Simps.
Check the tyre pressure – As mentioned above this can be a daunting one. I have had manys the embarrassing experience here. From not knowing what pressure I should have to actually letting what little air is left in the tyre, out. Genius I know. I tended to practice this one early in the morning when there was no one around. My advice is look for a station that has an electronic air pressure machine thing, you just set the pressure and it fills automatically. I always go back to this machine.
Keep water in the squishy thing for the wipers – Not far from where the oil goes the water goes. I throw in some Evian (only the best for my baby) and a bitta fairy liquid and I’m off.
Keep it clean – There is nothing cool about cruising around with Nicky Minaj blaring and my Rayberrys on when my car is covered in bird poop. Some may dispute this but I try to keep it looking clean and always have a funky air freshener. Not too funky though, I spent a number of years with hair smelling of Black Ice. Not cool.
Jump leads – I always have jump leads in my car. Everyone remembers the “cowld” winter of 2010. 23rd of December, -10 degrees, just finished work at 10pm, car won’t start. Really brings meaning to the saying “Don’t get caught out in the cold”.
Changing a tyre – This is one I have thankfully never had to execute. It’s certainly one I know I will encounter at some stage and I should probably practice but right now, meh. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
As much as I want to be as self-sufficient as possible, if I ever notice really strange smells or smoke/fire coming from anywhere in the car I think it’s acceptable to seek assistance from my father, brother’s, co-workers, passersby..... anyone. Seeking help can be a sign of strength too ya know!