A cheat sheet on what you actually need to know about your car.

Thanks to our brand partner, mycar

I am a person who has never cared much about cars.

Yes, I’ve been driving one for over 20 years, but my questions about cars have always been simple – "does it go?" and "is it safe?"

I’m sure you’ll agree that these are probably the most crucial questions a car owner should ask, but they do indicate my limited car knowledge and that can be a problem if anything goes wrong, or if I want to keep my car in good knick. 

Recently, though, my car interest has started to grow, and I’ve realised it’s probably not a bad idea that I learn a little bit more about cars, particularly my car, and how it works. 

There are two main reasons for this shift. 

Firstly, I now work in a job where I drive a lot more. 

Every week or so, I clock up a decent number of hours driving to meetings and events, often an hour or two from home. Alongside this, my children are getting older, which equals more activities and much more driving, there’s swimming, soccer (the dreaded "away" games), playgroup, birthday parties, and the list goes on. 

With this in mind, it's crucial that my car is running smoothly, which means it's more important than ever I learn the basics. 

The second reason my interest in cars and caring for them has piqued is that I want a new one, and I want it to last. 

You see, one of my girlfriends just bought a really nice car. It’s not a fancy car, but it’s lovely and zippy and cute in a fresh green shade. 

To my surprise, upon seeing it, I was influenced. 

As a result, I've decided I also want a new, cute, zippy car to do all this extra driving in, and if I'm to spend that kind of money, I will definitely need to take excellent care of it. 


Both these reasons mean it is time for me to actually understand a little more about cars – what’s going on, how do they work, how can I look after them, why do they make noises, what do the lights on the dash mean, what is an oil filter, coolant and tire tread? 

Decoding car language.

Lucky for me, mycar chose the exact moment my interest has piqued to launch a new amazing resource packed with information I need to understand my car! 

Auto-Translate is a simple, new utility which mycar developed to help people learn the language of car by translating technical car terms into something easier to understand, making people feel more car confident. 

Already, I have found it so helpful, and super easy to use. (Did you know an alternator generates electricity for your car, just like a hamster running on a wheel to power a light bulb? I love a good analogy.) 

For example, a few months ago, I had a clogged fuel injector. At the time, I had absolutely no idea what that meant, and why it was critical for that to be fixed. 

Enter the mycar Auto-Translate utility. I could’ve looked up what a fuel injector is (it sprays the right amount of fuel into the engine, just like a coffee machine), and had a super simple and relatable way to better understand what it does.

So, as I transition from being an absolute car novice to someone who is slightly more car-savvy (mainly thanks to Auto-Translate), I have compiled a top five list for car owners to keep their cars running smoothly in their best condition for as long as possible.  


1. Check your fluid levels often.

This means your engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and windscreen wiper fluid. Choose a day each month and add it to the calendar (I promise it's as simple as it sounds). 

2. Regularly wash your car.

I’ve never been good at this (until now). But this is a basic one – keep your car clean, wash off sap, bird droppings, dirt, and grime to protect the paint job and keep it looking fresh. 

3. Check your tyre pressure.

You can do this at any servo, and there should be a sticker on the side of the driver's door or written in your owner's manual telling you the right tyre pressure. This helps with fuel efficiency and helps your tyres last longer! While you’re there, give the tyres a good look over to make sure there’s enough tread and check for any punctures, cracks, or damage.

4. Keep loose items secure. 

Whether it's in the cabin or boot of your car, it's always best practice to keep loose items safe in place. This is one of those things that might not always be top of the to-do list, but it can often mean the difference between a safe or risky drive down the road. Keep duct tape or zip ties around as your go-to for keeping loose items secure!

5. Check your windscreen wipers. 

Just like you can’t always predict the weather, you can’t always guarantee that your windscreen wipers are in the best condition! That's why it's so important to look for warning signs, such as squeaking and streaking, that mean it's time to get these replaced. 

Check out mycar's new utility, Auto-Translate, is designed to help people feel more car confident.

Feature Image: Getty. 

With 275+ locations across Australia and over 1,300 employees, mycar is one of Australia’s largest names in the automotive industry. mycar provides a full range of automotive services including servicing, tyres, brakes, suspension, batteries and general mechanical repairs. Head to [mycar.com.au/auto-translate] to access Auto-Translate for free and learn the language of car. To see Luke Heggie’s video on how Aussies know very little about their car, click here.