General, How to, Problem solving, Tips

Taming Your Car

Olumide Olasope Written by Olumide Olasope · 2 min read >


Being nice to your car will keep it reliable. This article will guide you on simple things you can do as an absolute beginner who just wants a car they can trust.

What Car Do I Buy?

If you are planning on getting a car and not sure what car is a good idea and what is not, you are not alone. If you want to play it safe, Honda and Toyota are hands down the most reliable vehicles around, no other manufacturer is anywhere close. Their cars can take some serious abuse before dying. Even after dying, repairs are often inexpensive and straight forward. They are also simple machines to maintain.

Then we have the brands that you should buy only if you have deep pockets. BMWs are at the top of that list; they break down if you even look at them wrong and the simplest problems could require a full engine replacement. I have seen people buy two identical BMW models just so they can have spare parts.

Obviously; if you can afford luxury brands like Jaguar or Cadillac, you should be able to deal with their headaches. Simple rule of thumb, if you cannot afford to comfortably buy two Jaguars or Cadillacs, then you cannot afford one.

Preventive Care

The single best way to keep your engine alive is routine maintenance (Oil Change). How often you change your oil depends on usage and oil type used, but generally ranges from 3 to 12months, with synthetic oils giving you longer times between oil changes.

Oil changes are extremely simple and can be done even by absolute beginners. But I recommend it be done with a mechanic as they can spot anything wrong with the car while changing the oil.

The second tip is equally simple, if you hear a weird sound do not turn up the radio and ignore it. With most mechanical components, these weird sounds are designed into them as an early warning of something going wrong. If you wait too long, a simple and cheap 15minute repair can evolve into having to change your entire engine.


As a beginner, these are simple things you can check when your car isn’t acting as it should.

Car Does not Start

If the lights on your dashboard light up and you hear a loud clicking, the battery is either dead or a terminal is loose. Start from the simple step, tighten the battery terminals. If this doesn’t help you might need to jumpstart the car.

If jumpstarting does not work, then you will need to consult a mechanic; but in a large number of instances, jumpstarting works.

There are three main reasons your battery may be dead. If you forgot something on with the engine off, e.g. headlights, radio or some funny thing plugged in your cigarette lighter socket. Secondly, if there is a problem with your cars electrical system. Thirdly, your battery is just old and tired. Luckily, it is rarely your electrical system’s at fault, so it is usually an easy fix.

Car Overheats

This isn’t for a beginner to fix, just more of a PSA. Do not open your radiator cover when the car overheats. This will bathe you in the hottest water/steam you can imagine.

If your car overheats, stop immediately and wait 20minutes minimum with your bonnet open for the engine to cool. Do not pour cold water into the radiator, this doesn’t help and can actually crack your engine. And a cracked engine cannot be fixed, only replaced.


This post is nowhere near exhaustive, it just serves as an introduction to taking care of your car as a beginner. Simple things to prevent your car from breaking down on you

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