Stop Relying on Your Parents for Everyday Car Troubles

If you’ve ever had a flat tyre or been stranded on the hard shoulder with some suspicious looking smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe, then you’ll know how unpredictable car maintenance can be. The worry of unexpected garage bills is enough cause for concern, but it can also make you feel totally clueless about how to plan for these problems before they occur.

Unsurprisingly, many of us haven’t got a clue what to do when the inevitable happens and end up calling our parents for help in the first instance. New research from reveals that young drivers in the UK are turning to Mum and Dad when faced with driving related problems, as opposed to calling a dedicated helpline.

If you’re sick of relying on your nearest and dearest to get you out of a bind, read on for our tips on how to save that dreaded phone call for when you really need it, and take care of everyday car troubles on your own.

Get cover

If you’re still learning make sure you get as much practise without your instructor as possible. Ask nicely if a family member will let you drive their car – supervised of course – and remember to get insured beforehand. If you’re an experienced driver make sure you have breakdown cover and have the emergency number saved in your phone. You can compare breakdown cover prices online to get the best deal.

Learn how to change a tyre

Why call for help to do a job that you can do yourself? It’s not something you want to do for the first time alone, so ask an experienced user to show you how. Most cars come with the required tools and a spare wheel, but bits can be missing in used cars so make sure you have what you need now rather than when you’re stranded on the side of a road.

After you’ve found these essentials, we recommend you try them out and get familiar with how to use them, so you’re comfortable performing the job under pressure. Waiting to learn how to use your tools on a dark, rainy night can be dangerous. We recommend doing a practice run when your tyre is fully functioning so you can get more comfortable.

Read the manual

It’s amazing how many problems can be solved by simply referring to your car manual. Keep it stored in the glove compartment and have a glance at it, especially is you have a light on your dashboard you’re unsure of. It can put your mind at ease when you realise it’s something simple and save money in unnecessary call out charges.

Be prepared

No one wants to think about being broken down at the side of the road, so we tend to avoid planning for that eventuality. To ease your mind, consider making a basic emergency kit which lives permanently in your car in case you ever need it. Things you may want to include are jump cables, tyre sealer, inflator can, tire gauge, rags, work gloves, a torch and a basic toolkit with screwdrivers and pliers. Whilst you’re there you may as well make a first aid kit too and include a blanket, drinking water and some snacks. Just remember to restock the perishables when you inevitably break them out the next time you’re stuck in traffic.

Check your tyres

Did you know that under-inflated tyres are less efficient, wear down quicker and that over-inflated tyres can lead to poorer breaking distances? You should check your tyre pressure every few weeks especially in warmer weather. You can add more air at most petrol stations and find the recommended tyre pressure in your vehicle handbook or printed either in the sill of the driver’s door or on the inside of the petrol cap.

Don’t run out of fuel

Download a fuel delivery app and register your details in case you run out of petrol in an emergency. There’s a service called Zebra Fuel which allows you to pick a time slot and someone will come and fill up your tank there and then. There’s no need to be anywhere near garage or even be in the car yourself! Great for emergencies and saving time every other day.

Fiona Reid

Fiona Thomas is a lifestyle blogger based in Birmingham. She graduated with a degree in Commercial Music where she snuck into several journalism classes and realised her real passion was writing. She had a successful career in management for several years before returning to her calling and started developing Fiona Likes to Blog, whilst working freelance for other websites. She is a keen advocate of positive body image, mental health awareness, fitness and wellbeing.