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If a flat tire or a blowout happens, get a firm grip on the wheel, brake gently, and pull to the side of the road where the surface is even and hard enough to support your car when it is jacked up. Before jacking up the car, loosen the lug nuts. Then follow the directions in the car owner's manual. Make sure the car stays balanced.
This is caused by many things-a leak in the radiator or hoses, a bad water pump or thermostat, or a broken fan belt. Learn where your thermostat needle usually stays so that you can tell when the engine is getting too hot. If the car is hot from being overworked, you can do several things:
If you have reached the danger point on your indicator or steam is rising from the hood, pull to the side of the road and turn the ignition off. Do not remove the radiator cap while the engine is still warm. The contents of your radiator are pressurized and can severely burn you. Once the engine has cooled, check the coolant level. If it is low, add coolant not water. Water is bad for your radiator and cool liquid added to an overheated engine could cause the engine block to crack.
If the radiator will not hold coolant, look for breaks in the hoses or radiator leaks. If this is a problem, try to temporarily repair it and go immediately to a service station. Never drive and overheated vehicle--this could cause severe and expensive engine damage.
Dealing with this emergency is simple, but dangerous. If you are going to jump start your car, do not smoke and always use eye protection. Follow these steps in order:
Fires are generally caused by a fault in the electrical system or a leak in the fuel system. Do not confuse a fire with an overheated engine. If you suspect fire, pull off the road, turn off the ignition, and get everyone away from the car and as far away as possible. Call the fire department. If the fire is not located near the gas tank, you can try to put it out. Do not attempt to put out a car fire with water, since this may only spread the flames.
If you notice a wobble or hear a rattle from your wheels, you may have a loose or missing lug nut. Immediately pull off the road to check or tighten it. If you have one or two missing, drive to the nearest service station. If there are more than two missing, take one or more from another wheel and have new ones put on right away. If you cannot use any from another wheel, do not drive your car because the wheel might fall off.
This may happen because the oil level is low or the oil pump is not working. Pull over and check your oil level. Add more oil if necessary. Otherwise call a mechanic because it can permanently damage your engine.
If your throttle (gas pedal) sticks while driving, try to pull the pedal forward with your foot. If this does not work, shift into neutral and carefully coast to a stop. Do not continue driving if the problem is not fixed.
TIP: When there is inclement weather, make sure you find out about school closing announcements.
If you start to float on a wet road, take your foot off the pedals and hold the steering wheel firmly and straight until the tires touch the ground again. To prevent hydroplaning, reduce speed, don't tailgate, keep a firm grip on the wheel, and keep tire pressure high.
Always use headlights. Low beams are usually recommended, but check between low and high beams regularly to see which offers better visibility.
Always be alert, maintain a steady grip, and be prepared for the effect of strong gusts.
The following are some items you might want to have on hand in your car for emergencies: