If you are getting a car or truck, there are a lot of things to consider. Cars and trucks do a lot of heavy lifting in our lives. That goes well beyond just getting us to and from work, for example. Every year, about 650,000 use trucks from professional moving services to make a move.
There are a ton of reasons you might be looking into getting a car or truck. No matter what those reasons are, it can be helpful to understand some basic automobile technology, as well as the various ins and outs that you might need to understand. This includes things like insurance, repairs and even legal advice if you get into an accident.
Basic automobile technology is a broad topic, but we’ll break down 6 key areas you might need to focus on if you’re getting a car or truck.
1. Loans and Insurance
The first thing you need if you want to get a car or truck is a way to pay for it. Even before you worry about basic automobile technology, you need to consider how you will pay for the vehicle. A new car or truck can be a large investment. You should be sure you can afford it before you invest too much.
Many people start by getting an auto loan. However, getting an auto loan will be easier or harder depending on what your credit is like. You of course want to get the best rate you can. Cars can get expensive, between gas and insurance and repairs, so saving a few dollars by getting a good rate on a loan is a must.
Typically, you will want a credit score in the 500s or, even better, the 600s to get a more favorable loan. There are companies that will offer loans to people with no credit, but it is always wise to be at least a little wary of those lenders.
There are a few lenders that are considered among the best for getting you a car loan. They include:
- Lending Club
- Consumers Credit Union
- OpenRoad Lending
These companies focus on different types of loans for different types of people, but it doesn’t hurt to start here and see what you can find. It is always wise to shop around when you need a car loan for a new vehicle.
It isn’t just the loan you’ll be worrying about before you can get to the fun parts, like nerding out about basic automobile technology. You will also have to consider automobile insurance before you can fawn over your new ride and hit the open road.
Insurance is a lot like loans in that rates can vary widely and it’s a good idea to do a lot of shopping around before settling on a company.
You might be able to score deals by being a smart consumer. For example, you could investigate what your state’s minimum insurance requirements are. When you are shopping for plans, you might find several that go well beyond the minimum requirements. If you’re on a tight budget, going above and beyond on insurance might not be the best call for you.
Whenever possible, you should budget to pay for routine repairs yourself. If you are particularly interested in basic automobile technology, you could even learn to do a lot of those repairs yourself. This will not only save you money at the mechanic’s shop, but also with your auto insurance company. You can choose a plan with a higher deductible, knowing you’ll take care of a lot of routine repairs on your own.
No matter how you go in terms of insurance, you should ensure that you’re covered for an amount equal to the total amount of your car. In the unfortunate event of an accident, you would need to get compensated for the full price of the vehicle. Otherwise, you could end up needing to pay for a whole new car on your own.
2. Car Repairs
The next thing you will need to consider when getting a new car or truck is repairs. Sadly, these are just a reality of owning any kind of vehicle. Whether you’re getting a car for personal use, a truck for a commercial use or anything in between, your vehicle will take damage over time and require repairs.
This can be an opportunity to throw yourself into some basic automobile technology and information. You don’t always need to go to an auto body shop to get simple repairs done. In fact, there is a lot that a vehicle owner can do on their own.
Some great car repairs you can do yourself include things like changing your brake pads, doing an oil change, replenishing fluids, changing the battery, or replacing a headlight or taillight. These are all simple tasks that don’t take extensive knowledge of even basic automobile technology. There are step-by-step guides available online and you should only require some basic tools to get the job done.
It’s worth the slight investment of time here to do some repairs. Even knowing enough about basic automobile technology to change out the oil can save you hundreds of dollars over time.
There are, of course, some repairs you just can’t do yourself. A knowledge of basic automobile technology won’t be sufficient if you need to deal with something more major breaking. If you need something like air conditioning repair or engine repair, or if you just don’t know what’s wrong with the vehicle, you should seek out a professional.
While you can save yourself some money by doing basic repairs on your own, doing major repairs you don’t have the knowledge, skills, and tools for can end up costing you money in the end. If you break something accidentally or cause damage while trying to do a repair, it could cost you, even more, to get the problem fixed. When in doubt, seek out a professional with expertise in more than just basic automobile technology.
3. Truck Repairs
Cars are one thing, but trucks are an entirely different matter. The basic automobile technology you understand when it comes to cars may not transfer over directly to understanding the ins and outs of trucks.
For example, if you needed a new truck transmission, that is probably a repair you would want to be handled by a professional. This is a complicated and delicate piece of machinery that is crucial to how the truck runs. It helps provide speed and torque as the truck operates.
A lot of shops that will do truck repairs offer a wide range of services, from fuel pumps to oil changes to electrical system repair. Sometimes, if you have an SUV style truck and not a large commercial truck, you can also look at conventional auto body shops for some of your repairs. It isn’t always necessary to go to a specialist, who might also be more expensive.
4. Do-It-Yourself Repairs
As mentioned above, there are a lot of repairs you can do yourself for your vehicle with just some basic automobile technology understanding. This includes things like oil changes and replenishing fluids in the vehicle. Depending on how knowledgeable you are, it could also include more advanced types of repairs.
Those who are truly ambitious might even start acquiring some tools for making repairs at home. You don’t need an extensive garage to start building up the types of tools that could really help you up your DIY game when it comes to basic automobile technology.
Some tools you may want to invest in if you plan to do repairs yourself include things like a hearty socket set with lots of different sizes, as well as things like pliers and wire cutters. Here are some additional tools you should consider:
- Torque wrench and other wrenches, including an impact wrench
- Screwdrivers of various sizes
- A dead blow mallet
- Lighting for your workspace
- Gloves and masks
- Zip ties
- A multimeter
- Various lubricants and cleaning agents
- A drip pan
- Duct tape and electrical tape
- Service manuals for any vehicles you own
This is not an exhaustive list. Think of it more as a helpful starting place if you are considering getting more into repairs.
As you advance, you might even find you need some machinery. This gives you a lot more capacity to do repairs, including complicated repairs. However, it comes with its own complications, as sometimes these pieces of machinery will need repairs themselves. You could find that you require machine services to repair the tools you’re using for repairs!
5. Your Garage
This talk of repair ties into concerns around your garage. You don’t need to use your garage for doing repairs, but if you buy a car or truck you will likely at least need it for storage.
A garage is a great place to keep a car in order to protect it from the weather, as well as damage from passersby. A garage can also be an incredibly useful space for the tools you require for maintaining your vehicle. Even if you only possess some basic automobile technology, you will need a place to store and organize it.
You can make your garage as extensive or simple as you like. If you want to really go for it, you can practically turn your garage into an entire mini repair shop, complete with tools and machinery. Personalize the space to make it suit your needs. You don’t only need to stick to tools. You can add flooring, decorations, even something like a mini-fridge for some snacks and drinks while you’re working.
Of course, this means you’ll need to take care of your garage just as you take care of your car or truck. Even a garage can require some cleaning and repair over time. Because it is an exposed room, the weather can take a hefty toll on your garage. Check for things like pests and water damage, two very common issues when it comes to garages.
The garage door is one of the places where damage occurs most frequently. A fresh coat of paint can help a lot in this regard, but don’t neglect the deeper underlying damage. If the door isn’t functioning the way it should be, look into garage door service that can help repair the mechanisms that raise and lower the door.
It’s not fun to contemplate the worst-case scenario, but accidents do happen. They’re the reason you get insurance when you buy your new car or truck. If an accident should occur, the best thing you can do is be prepared. Knowing what to do and how to handle an unfortunate situation can make a trying time a little less harrowing to deal with and set right.
You might be surprised to learn that having some basic automobile technology knowledge can even prove beneficial here. If you are involved in an accident, you may need to go back and forth with your insurance company. Having basic automobile technology knowledge can allow you to navigate insurance claims more skillfully and get a better reimbursement in the end.
In the worst cases, you may need an accident attorney after an accident. This is, of course, a more dire situation, but if you need a lawyer on your side after an accident, you should try to find one quickly. The longer an issue goes on, the worse it could potentially become.
An attorney can help you with filing claims and dealing with legal issues related to an accident. Whether or not the accident is your fault, an attorney can ensure you get the best possible outcome.
That said, if an accident is your fault, it is especially crucial that you have a lawyer. For things like a DUI, there may be legal requirements. A bit of basic automobile technology that could result from an accident is ignition interlocks, which are used like a breathalyzer test every time you try to start your car.
Basic Knowledge, Big Benefits
Regardless of the specifics of why you are getting a new vehicle and what you plan to do with it, some basic automobile technology knowledge can go a long, long way. It could get you a better rate on insurance or a loan, help you do repairs yourself or even get you a better outcome if you are involved in an accident.