Remember the stereotype that women don’t know anything about being mechanics and auto repair? Well, I quite resemble those remarks. I’m not completely ignorant, but I would not be able to change my own flat tire. I know what a car jack is, and I know the general idea, but no, I don’t think I’d be able to get it installed onto the car, nor do I think I could change the tire by myself. But did you know; that knowing tire maintenance is a very important feature of road safety? I know how to check the tire pressure and how to refill my tires with air when they get low. But the other important feature that all women need to be educated on, is not just how to change a flat tire, or how to check the air pressure, but to also be able to judge the wear and tear of the tire and when they need to be replaced! This will greatly improve your road safety when traveling long or short distances.
Check your tires for road safety!
I never thought much about my tires or how they apply to road safety. I mean, I have a husband! He takes care of all the “manly” jobs, why should I bother and stress about it right? WRONG! With a husband who was deployed and gone months at a time while in the army, I should have learned my lesson then about the need a woman has to be independent especially when it comes to the safety of her vehicle! But time passed and I just relied on the husband to check things out and always make sure it was in working order when he arrived home for leave or when ever the car started to run rough.
Now the Husband is a full time engineering student. He either rides his bike to school or drives his own little car. He rarely ever uses the van any longer except when we are doing family outings, which is usually just the short block and a half drive over to his parent’s house for Sunday dinners. He doesn’t have much opportunity to keep an eye on the van, nor to drive it and feel if something is wrong.
I knew our tires were getting worn, but I had no idea just how worn! My uncle posted a short video on our family site, about the importance of having the right tires on your vehicle, so I was curious and went and looked. I realized that our tires did not have an optimum tread. So I called my Dad and said, “we need new tires! Can you help me order some?” My brothers are mechanics and my Dad has a shop on the farm. They got us some tires ordered and once they arrived at my parent’s house, I made a spur of the moment trip with the kids to Wyoming the weekend before memorial day so my brother could change my tires for us.
After I arrived my brother took our van into the shop to replace our tires, and was met with quite a shock. My tires were in worse condition than I could have ever imagined.
My tires were completely bald! See how smooth those tires are? Well, tires are NOT suppose to look like that. Without deep tread you are a driving hazard. These tires were perfect for fish-tailing, hydro plaining and more! But that’s not even the worst of it.
One of my tires had completely worn out and had even shredded the chords that hold the tire together. Yes, I made a 2 hour drive on this tire; and I made it safely solely by the Grace of God! My brother showed me my tire and said I should NOT have survived our trip. My tire by all mechanical means should have exploded on our trip. It should not have survived through such a taxing trip, as it really shouldn’t even survive a short jaunt around town.
And mind you, it wasn’t just our tires that were shot! Our front brakes! Oh my goodness! Well, let me just show you! These are our brakes! Yes, there is suppose to be padding on those petal plates. You shouldn’t see metal at all. I had ZERO brakes left. And there i was driving through steep mountain canyons with curves, twists, steep grades and more!
Again, I’m so thankful for the safety our Heavenly Father placed over us this day. I know we would not have survived the trip were it not for His helping hand. But we can’t always say, “Oh Heavenly Father will protect us” and blindly and stupidly continue in our lives. We need to educate ourselves and do all we can to keep our families safe, and that includes being educated on automotive safety, even as women!
What You can do to protect your Family and improve Road safety:
One of the best things you can do is educate yourself on the basics of mechanics for your vehicle. Even as women we need to:
- Check our own vehicle fluids- oil, brake fluid, radiator fluid, windshield washer fluid
- Change a tire,
- And be able to check our tires and brakes and make sure they are safe to drive on!
1. Take a basic Automotive class. Look around your local town and see if there is a place to take a basic automotive class. If not, look online for basic automotive instruction so you can learn the basics of caring for your vehicle.
2. Check your fluids monthly and before and after each trip. If you run out of fluids in your vehicle, you could cause a lot of damage and also end up stranded or worse. It is vital that you regularly check your vehicle fluids. It also helps your vehicle run at optimal performance.
3. Check your tires routinely and before and after each trip. Check your tire pressure on a regular basis. Also check the tire pressure before and after each trip you take as well as the quality of your tires and your tire tread. Also keeping your tires in good maintenance, you also improve your gas mileage.
As for myself, I will be keeping better track of our vehicle fluids, tire pressure, and from now on I will be keeping a closer eye on our tire tread and the condition of our tires. I also had my Dad teach me how to check all the fluid levels in our van while we were visiting, and next I will have my mechanic brother teach me how to change a tire, and pray my carpal tunnel will allow me to actually do it!