The euphoria and excitement that comes with acquiring or personally owning a car for the very first time is a feeling I am sure no one would want to trade for anything, especially those that have tasted such a feeling.
I remember the day my mom betrothed her old Toyota Matrix to me. She had gotten an Highlander and since my older siblings already owned their rides, giving it to me was just the logical thing to do. I almost could not sleep that night. The few minutes of sleep I caught were filled with dreams of me in the car and how I was going to ‘paint my school red’ the moment I returned to school for the new session.
If only I knew that owning a car was much more than just driving it round!
Here are some of the things I learnt in caring for a car and I’m sure a number of them apply to whatever car it is whether old or new. Some I learnt early enough, others I got to know about after using it for a long while.
READ UP ON EVERY MATERIAL YOU CAN FIND ON THE CAR
An avalanche of knowledge does you nothing but a great deal of good because what you do not know will definitely control you in the long run. After using my feeding allowance to pay for some repairs I could have done myself, I woke up to the reality of doing things myself needless to say. The manual was no longer in the car, but I had online platforms to educate me. I just typed in my car brand and model and voila! And if it happens that you are not a reader like me, you can see videos to the same effect. They are just as effective.
GET IT INSPECTED BY A MECHANIC
Before you start tweaking things by yourself especially considering that it is your first car and you might not know so much about cars generally, get a professional to do a general servicing on the car. Get them to check all fluids, filters, pressures and every other such thing. It might cost you some money to repair so much stuff at once but you will enjoy driving your car stress free for a while. Honestly, I didn’t know to do that for my first car.
STOCK UP YOUR CAR WITH THESE ESSENTIALS
So, I was only able to paint the town red with my new car for just a short while because some minor problems started rearing their heads and sadly, I did not have the simple equipments to tackle them. Don’t blame my mum, she had to take her own stuff to stock up her own new (used) car and she thought common sense would make me do same but then… Thank God I had friends in the hostel I could beg for these from till I could buy mine. It was sometimes embarrassing though.
At the very least your car should have a spare tire and jacks, a keg of branded and recommended engine oil, a rag (for cleaning the dipstick when checking oil), jumper cables, tire pressure gauge, a cell phone charger and an extra source of light.
INSURE YOUR CAR
So I asked my mother if the same insurance she did on the Matrix would pass down to me once I resumed ownership. I mean, why not? It’s the same car anyways. You might be laughing at me now but I did not know that I had to go change the documents on the car as well as update insurance under my name. Again, my mother thought common sense would tell me that. Anyway, lest you fall into the same ‘wahala’ as I did of whose details I will spare you, insure your car. And by that I mean every car. Thank goodness Third party insurance is compulsory at car purchase point. If your money can do more than that for you, look for a reputable insurance firm and go premium!
DRIVE IT WITH CONFIDENCE
Truth is the euphoria of owning a car might soon disappear and give in to fear the moment you sit behind the wheel to actually drive it. This factor is even more prominent if you’re just fresh out of driving school and your first car is your first shot at mainstream everyday driving. Muster up some courage fam! The red ‘L’ sign in front of the car does not define you. Plus don’t let other road users intimidate you. Every Jason Statham and Nicholas Cage you see out there started out as rookies too. The best you can do for that car is to cruise it right, but with care. The road won’t swallow either of you and you will be just fine. Honest.