Your first motor at age 17. The sports hatchback of your 20s. And the full flung mid-life crisis muscle car. Cars make us feel great and feel, well, cool.
But that doesn’t stop those automotive mistakes that leave us red-faced amateurs. Let’s look at the top six, and how to get them fixed before your friends finds out.
If you drive an automatic, you might be unfamiliar with this phenomenon. It usually occurs when you’re in a busy city centre, surrounded by builders, or driving away from waving in-laws.
So, what can you do to avoid embarrassment?
If you’re a new driver, aim for mid-level revs before you take your foot fully off the clutch. And practice clutch control on steep inclines to achieve a Zen-master stationary position. If you do stall, remember to put on the handbrake. Then mirror, signal, manoeuvre.
Locking your keys in the car
It’s an oldie, but it still happens. Even fancy new fobs can still end up stuck inside a locked car with you staring bemused outside.
If it does happen, and you’ve not locked your phone in there too, call specialists such as Locksmith Plus, Inc. These firms are available 24/7 to come to the rescue.
Putting diesel in a petrol car (or vice versa)
You’ve never felt less a man or woman than telling your dad/mum you put diesel into your new petrol car (or vice versa). But don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to the RAC, it happens every 3 minutes in the UK with roughly 150,000 motorists filling their tank with the wrong fuel every year.
If you make the mistake, never try to drive home. Call specialists such as RAC’s Wrong Fuel Recovery Service. They’ll drain the fuel and flush your engine (hopefully before anyone you know pulls into the service station.)
Leaving the handbreak off
Yup, it happens. You’re crossing the parking lot to your office – chatting with colleagues – as your car slowly rolls into the boss’ new Mercedes behind you. So, what can you do? Well, you could try rolling the car back to the parking bay and hope for the best. But we recommend you own up and call your insurer.
Reversing into a bollard
It’s a classic. Your brand new SUV is great for everything except, say, reversing and parking. Bollard and kerbs can cause havoc, denting bumpers and even cracking axils. Thankfully, gadgets such as parking sensors and onboard cameras can spare blushes.
Leaving the lights on
You know that beeper that beeps if you try to leave the car with the lights on. Well, that sometimes breaks down, too. So, when you return and try to start the engine, it’s lifeless.
That’s why you should always carry jump leads which you know how to use. If you live in a remote part of the world (away from other drivers), consider buying an automatic jump starter. Discover more common breakdown issues you can easily avoid.
Whether you’re a boy or girl racer, BMW exec, or at smug supercar age, cars have a way of bringing us back down to earth and feeling human. Which is probably a good thing.