Thank you to our referral partner Bear Car Care for sharing their expertise with us!
Most of us rely heavily on our personal vehicles for almost every aspect of our lives. From commuting to work, getting kids to-and-from school, or grabbing groceries, there aren’t many things we don’t use our cars for. We need them to start and go every time we turn the key. Unfortunately, like most things in life, 100% reliability is not possible. Luckily, there are things we can do to minimize unexpected downtime and be prepared when the unexpected happens. Take it from us at Bear Car Care, we are a family-owned business with decades of auto repair experience. Here are 5 things every car owner should know so you can be a safe and informed driver:
1. Panicking doesn’t help
When things go wrong with our cars, it never happens at a good time. There will be a number of logistics you need to think about: from making sure you and others are safe, to figuring out how to deal with the problem, and then notifying people you will be late – and that’s just to name a few. Panicking will not help. Here’s a tip before a problem strikes: take some time to think through things that can go wrong, and assess what you would do in that situation. Know what supplies or contact information you need, and where they are stored ahead of time.
2. Flat Tires Happen
The automobile has been in mass production for over 100 years, but no one has yet come up with a better transportation idea than rolling down the street on black rubber balloons. Properly inflated tires are essential to operating your car safely. Most vehicle owners should be able to check their tire pressure, add air if needed, and install a spare tire. And yet, most don’t. Plan ahead and know where a tire gauge, reliable compressor, and spare tire tools are before you need them. If these are things that you are not able to do, have a plan for someone who can help if you end up needing it. . Most car repair shops will check tire pressures and add air for free. There are towing and roadside assistance companies that can install a spare at any hour. Your Cincinnatus Advisor can ensure you have Roadside Assistance on your auto policy.
3. Cars Need to Be Maintained
Car maintenance is not cheap and no one likes to have to pay for it, but it is essential if you need your car to be ready to go when you are. It’s easy for vehicle owners should be able to check their oil and top it off if needed. Our shop made a video showing you how to do it. Regularly scheduled maintenance is important. Most of us still drive vehicles that burn fuel, so regular maintenance includes oil changes. Find a place to do your maintenance that you trust that can be your go-to. Car care can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. A good relationship goes a long way to trusting that you are getting good advice, and not just being sold. Beyond your repair shop, get to know your own vehicle and when services are due. Include both for routine maintenance and unexpected repairs in your budget.
4. Cars Break Down
Even if you have the best mechanic and keep up on all of your maintenance, breakdowns happen. When a major failure happens, make sure not to panic. First, in the case that it happens in traffic, make sure to contact 911 or emergency services so someone can help keep you safe while you wait for help. Have a plan for a tow company to call. Check with your Cincinnatus Advisor to see if you have roadside assistance coverage through your insurance, or some subscription service. If so, make sure you know how to get ahold of them. If not, make a plan for who you will call for a tow. In addition to having a tow company in mind, make sure you have a plan for where to tell them to take your car for service.
5. Accidents Happen
Every car owner should keep in mind what needs to happen in the case of an accident: Check on injuries. Move to safety. Call for help. Make sure you have good insurance coverage and your insurance information is readily accessible. Have a plan for your preferred body shop for your car to be taken to for repair.
Now You’re Ready
The unexpected can and will happen. Prepare for it, and hopefully, the impact can be minimized. Take time to think through before hand what maintenance your car needs, what you can and can’t do yourself, and who you will call for help if you need it – you can save yourself a significant amount of stress in the moment. Take some time to collect the contact information of roadside assistance, towing, a good mechanic, a good body shop, and a good insurance agent. Bear Car Care and Cincinnatus Insurance are a great place to start! Doing these simple things will provide invaluable peace of mind and allow you to keep your cool in a crisis.
Andrew Schneider is the owner of Bear Car Care, which has been family owned and operated since 1948. When he’s not providing quality auto repair service that is easy and an affordable, Andrew can be found kayaking with his wife Emily, caring for his beloved pair of cats, or watching every Tom Cruise Movie ever made with his Bros Gina, Christina, and Jesse.