Drivers Ed: module 9

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The instrument panel contains the following gauges:
The instrument panel contains the following gauges:

a Speedometer, which indicates speed in both miles and kilometers per hour.
a Tachometer, which indicates the engine rotation in revolutions per minute (RPMs).
an Odometer, which indicates the total number of miles your car has been driven since it was manufactured.
a Fuel gauge, which shows the fuel level in your car's fuel tank.
an Oil gauge, which shows oil level.
Warning lights
Warning lights are provided on your car's instrument panel. They light up in case of a serious problem. There are three kinds of warning lights:

Oil Pressure Warning Light
Temperature Warning Light
Battery Low Warning Light
Temperature Warning Light/Gauge
Temperature Warning Light/Gauge: This light activates when the engine temperature or the radiator's coolant is too hot. In some vehicles, a needle gauge indicates the temperature rising in the warning zone of HOT.
If this warning light goes on while you are driving, STOP as soon as possible at a safe place and shut the engine off.
NEVER REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP TO CHECK THE COOLANT LEVEL WHEN THE ENGINE IS HOT. The coolant is at boiling temperature and under pressure. If the cap is released, the hot coolant will release with pressure and can cause severe burns if you are standing too close.
Oil Pressure Warning Light
Oil Pressure Warning Light: This light goes on when the engine oil is not circulating at the required pressure. Some vehicles have an oil pressure gauge that reads LOW when the engine's oil pressure drops. If you see an oil pressure warning while driving, STOP immediately at a safe place and turn off the engine.
Battery Low Warning Light
Battery Low Warning Light: When this light goes on or the battery gauge reads LOW, the power needed for your car starter is limited.
ignition
The ignition is located either on the side of the steering column or on the dashboard. It is a multifunction switch, into which you insert your key and turn to energize the electrical circuits and activate your starter motor.
Ignitions usually have three positions or "notches," which serve different purposes. You turn your key clockwise to go to a higher position, and counter-clockwise to deactivate it.
The first position, which is closest to you, is the off position. The second position causes the dashboard instruments to activate. The final position starts your engine.
accelerator
The accelerator is the far-right pedal located on the floor under the steering wheel. This pedal controls the amount of gas being fed to the engine, which determines the speed of the vehicle.
With your heel resting on the ground, use your right foot to push the accelerator.
Do not rev the engine. Push the accelerator gradually while your car speeds up.
brake pedal
The brake pedal is located on the floor to the left of the accelerator. When pressed, it applies the brakes, causing the vehicle to slow down and/or stop. You must use your right foot (heel on ground) to press the pedal and cause the brakes to engage. If your vehicle has standard brakes, the pedal will move a little bit before it resists. If you have power brakes, you do not need to apply as much pressure on the pedal to bring the car to a stop.
gearshift
The gearshift is either a lever protruding from the right side of the steering column or a lever on the floor to the right of the driver. The gearshift changes gears to maintain proper speed. It immobilizes the power train when parked.
clutch pedal
The clutch pedal is found only in cars with manual transmission. The clutch pedal is located on the floor to the left of the brake pedal. When pressed, it disengages the clutch which eliminates the transmission of power from the engine to the transmission. When released, it smoothly applies power through to the transmission. The clutch must be operated with your left foot, again, with your heel resting on the ground.
horn
The horn is usually located in a pad at the center of your steering wheel, but in some cars you'll find it as a button on the steering wheel, on the dash, or on the signal lever. Make sure your horn is fully functioning and can be heard at a distance of 200 ft.
rear view and side mirrors.
Your vehicle is equipped with both rear view and side mirrors. Make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted before driving. The rear view mirror is located at the top center of your windshield. It is rectangle-shaped and allows you to see what is happening behind you. You must be able to view the highway at least 200 ft to the rear.
Lights
Lights are important because they allow you to see your surroundings, give others a way to see you, and indicate to other road users your next move. Cars are required to have certain lighting fixtures, and these generally have luminosity regulations. Make sure that your vehicle has these fixtures in place and that they are fully functional.
Vehicles must be equipped with low-beam as well as high-beam headlights.
Vehicles must be equipped with low-beam as well as high-beam headlights. Low-beams must be turned on when it gets dark or in any moment of low visibility due to bad weather.
Your vehicle must be equipped with:

High-beam headlights (bright lights). Objects 450 ft ahead should be visible with use.
Low-beam headlights, which must show objects 150 ft ahead.
Two red taillights mounted on the rear, which must be visible from 1000 ft.
A white light that illuminates the license plate and makes it visible from 50 ft.
Two red stop/brake lights, which should activate when the brake is pressed and be seen from 300 ft in the day.
High-beams are also located at the front of your vehicle and have a higher luminosity for greater distance. High-beams are to be used when visibility is low. However, you must not use high-beams in fog, as they only reflect the dampened air and blind other drivers.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles lists the following requirements for lighting on vehicles:
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles lists the following requirements for lighting on vehicles:

All vehicles must have at least one white light in front that is visible from at least 1,000 ft away.
All vehicles must have two red lights at the rear that are visible from at least 1,000 ft away, or one red light at the rear visible from 1,000 ft and two red reflectors visible from 600 to 1,000 ft.
hazard lights
Your hazard lights warn other drivers of an emergency situation you may be encountering. All four turn signal lights turn on when you activate the hazard lights. Consult your owner's manual for the exact location of the hazard light switch in your car.
Seat belts
Seat belts are defined as active restraints because they work ONLY if you are wearing them.
The driver and front seat passengers must wear seat belts. Laws regarding seat belts apply to cars manufactured from 1968 on and trucks manufactured from 1972 to the present.

According to the Florida Driver Handbook, the only exceptions to the seat belt law are:


Any person certified by a physician as having a medical condition that makes seat belt use inappropriate or dangerous
Drivers delivering newspapers
School buses
Buses used for transportation of persons for compensation
Farm equipment
Trucks with a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds
Motorcycle, moped, or bicycle operators
air bags
Most new vehicles have air bags to provide vehicle occupants extra protection in a collision. They provide a protective cushion between the person and the steering wheel, dashboard, and windshield. Note that seat belts and air bags are designed to work together, and injuries may occur if seat belts are not used in air-bag-equipped vehicles.
Air bags are passive restraints. They are stored in the steering wheel or dashboard and inflate during a serious crash, usually a front collision that occurs at over 10 mph. To do its important job, an air bag comes out of the dashboard at up to 200 mph. This is faster than the blink of an eye. They take about 10 inches of space to inflate. The force of an air bag can hurt those who are too close to it.

Air bag related injuries can be prevented by following these safety tips:

Driver and front seat passengers should sit as far back as practical, particularly people of short stature. It is recommended that you sit at least 10 inches away from the air bag.

Everyone should wear both lap AND shoulder belts and remove any excess slack in the belt.

Children 12 and under should ride buckled up in the rear seat.
If your steering wheel is adjustable, tilt it downward. This points the air bag toward your chest instead of your head and neck.

Never place a rear-facing infant in the front seat if the air bag is turned on.

Types of Air bags:

1. Frontal air bags inflate to prevent vehicle occupants from hitting the interior of the vehicle in moderate to severe head-on collisions.
2. Side air bags inflate to protect your head and/or chest when your vehicle is hit from the side. There are of three main types of side air bags: chest, head, and head/chest combination. Side air bags are designed to protect your head and/or chest in a severe side-impact collision. Unlike frontal air bags, some of the side curtain air bags may stay inflated for several seconds during a collision to provide additional protection in case your car rolls over.
child restraint
It is the responsibility of the driver transporting children to ensure that each child is properly protected. A child restraint is a child seat with a safety harness which is fastened by vehicle seat belts per the manufacturer's instructions.
Florida laws states that every driver, even if his or her vehicle isn't registered in the state, needs to properly secure children five years old and under in a child restraint device
According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

Infant carriers or child car seats must be used for children three years of age and younger.
A separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used for children ages four through five.
Antilock Braking System ABS
An Antilock Braking System simply keeps your base brakes—whether drum or disc—from locking up. In vehicles not equipped with ABS, the driver can manually pump the brakes to prevent wheel lockup. In vehicles equipped with ABS, the driver's foot remains firmly on the brake pedal, allowing the system to automatically pump the brakes.

Rear wheel ABS prevents wheel lockup so that your car stays in a straight line. If your car has ABS control on all four wheels, you also keep steering control. If you have steering control, it is possible to avoid a collision by steering around hazards if a complete stop cannot be accomplished in time. The ABS engages when a wheel speed sensor detects impending wheel lock-up and prevents skidding during emergency braking. When the ABS engages, your car will feel a slight "shuddering"—resist the impulse to take your foot off of the brake when this happens. The ABS is working, and your job is to steer.
ESP
This computer program tracks a driver's steering with where the vehicle is actually going. When ESP senses a disparity between the two, it selectively applies any one of the vehicle's brakes to reduce the discrepancy and help the driver retain control and stability. These are designed to activate brake sensors that do not allow the wheels to spin. By controlling wheel spin, the vehicle stability, steer-ability, and acceleration are improved. The process is basically the reverse of anti-lock brakes and allows acceleration without loss of vehicle balance. Also since the brakes can be applied to the drive wheels individually, engine torque can be transferred through the differential from one wheel to another.
Tires
Tires should be frequently inspected for proper inflation pressure, tread depth, uneven wear, and cracks. They should be replaced when tread depth is low or if cracked.
There are several easy ways to check tire tread depth. You can measure tread depth with a tread depth gauge. You can also use a penny to check tire wear. Tire wear bars are also used on new tires as a hands-off visual indication that a tire needs replacement.
How To Check Tire Pressure
How To Check Tire Pressure

1. Remove the tire's valve cap.
2. Place the gauge over the tire's valve stem and press firmly so that no escaping air can be heard. The tire gauge will indicate how much pressure is in the tire. It is in your best interest to purchase your own high-quality pressure gauge. Gas station and convenience store gauges are sometimes damaged and inaccurate.
3. Adjust the tire's air pressure if needed. When adding air, push the air hose into the valve firmly until the air stops escaping. Check the pressure every few seconds to help judge the amount of air going into the tire until you reach the recommended air pressure. If the tire pressure is greater than it should be, use the valve on the tire gauge to press the center of the tire stem and release air.
4. Replace the valve cap.
5. Repeat the process for the other tires. Don't forget to check the spare tire.
Tire Rotation:
Tire Rotation:

Rotating your tires can prolong their life. Refer to your owner's manual for the recommended rotation interval and pattern (a rotation interval of 6,000 miles is generally recommended). The rotation pattern varies with different makes and models. Some vehicles have different size tires on the front and back or directional tires. This limits where the tire can be placed on a vehicle. When in doubt, check the owner's manual or consult a professional technician. Tire rotation also gives you a good opportunity to have the tires and wheels balanced. This is just one more step you can take to maximize your tire investment.
unbalanced tires
The most common signs of unbalanced tires are vibration and noise problems. When driving with an out-of-balance wheel, the wheel bounces rather than spinning smoothly. This can affect the speed, handling, and fuel consumption of your vehicle. It's a good idea to have your car's wheels balanced when rotating the tires. It's not uncommon for wheels to lose weight from time to time; so periodic balancing minimizes the impact of unbalanced wheels on your car.
Battery
Battery

Today's vehicles have more electrical demands than ever, and batteries play an important role. Do-it-yourself maintenance can maximize the life of your battery. It is also important to have your battery and charging system checked at least once a year. Early detection of a weak component can save you time and money.

If the battery has removable vent caps, remove the caps on a monthly basis and check the level of electrolyte (a solution of sulfuric acid and water found) inside your battery. This level should rise above the top plates of the battery. If fluid is needed, add distilled water. Be sure to avoid overfilling the cells. Use distilled water, not tap water. Tap water may contain mineral deposits that reduce battery life.
Alternator belt
Alternator belt

The alternator drive belt should be inspected often and replaced if cracked, oil soaked, glazed, badly worn, or otherwise damaged. The belt should be adjusted for proper tension following the vehicle manufacturer's guidelines. Too much tension can overload the alternator's bearings and shorten the unit's life. Too little tension may cause the belt to slip.
Lights
Lights

Checking your vehicle's lights is a simple process. Begin by walking around the car with the headlights turned on and checking each light to make sure it is lit. Don't overlook the license, parking, and side marker lights.

Next, turn off the headlights and turn on your four-way hazard lights. Then, check all four corners again. Most cars use the same bulbs for turn signals and hazard lights, so you can now also consider your turn signal bulbs checked.
To be sure the turn signal light is working properly; turn the ignition to the "on" position without starting the engine. Check each turn signal (in the front and the rear) once more.

Now shift the transmission to reverse. Have a helper look at the reverse lights and brake lights as you press the brake pedal.
Fuel system
Fuel system

Leaks in your fuel system can cause fires or expose you to toxic gases. These leaks can occur in the fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel pump, carburetor, and fuel injector lines, or by not having the car's gas cap securely attached.

If you can smell gasoline in the cabin after filling up, the evaporative emissions system should be checked for leaks.
This system includes the fuel filler cap, the opening and vent, the fuel filler tube (to the fuel tank), the fuel lines (running to and from the engine compartment), the purge valve and vacuum system, and the charcoal canister.
evaporative emissions system
The evaporative emissions system is designed to trap fuel vapors from the fuel tank and fuel lines and store them in the charcoal canister. The purge valve is controlled by the engine management computer and provides engine vacuum to the canister during startup. This draws any stored fuel vapors into the engine where they are burned.
Does your vehicle still have the original fuel cap? An incorrect replacement could leak fuel vapors.
Preventative Maintenance
Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance means that money is saved and breakdowns are avoided by having comprehensive inspections regularly completed. Your vehicle should be inspected by a trained professional at least twice a year.
What components should be inspected?
The inspection should cover components with a high probability of failure or excessive wear.
Servicing Your Brakes
Servicing Your Brakes

The most common type of service required for disk brakes is changing the pads. Disc brake pads usually have a piece of metal on them called a wear indicator.

The most common service required for drum brakes is changing the brake shoes. Some drum brakes provide an inspection hole on the back side where you can see how much material is left on the shoe.
Hoses and Belts
Hoses and Belts

Hoses, belts, and lights should be checked frequently.
Hoses should be inspected for cracks or leaks. If necessary, they should be replaced immediately.
Belts should be snug and in good condition. A loose or worn out belt can cause problems to many vehicle systems.
operate your motor vehicle efficiently and economically.
There are several things you can do to operate your motor vehicle efficiently and economically.
First, you should avoid making fast starts and stops and cornering too fast. This is not only unsafe, but this behavior also increases the cost of operating and maintaining your vehicle by wasting fuel and wearing out tires and brakes.
The second thing you can do to save money is drive slower. Fast driving requires more fuel to get you the same distance. Obey speed limits and you will save fuel and reduce the risk to others.
Another thing you can do is anticipate when you need to stop. Quick braking excessively wears your brakes and tires. Look ahead while you are driving so you can anticipate stops. Practice stopping smoothly and gently.
Periodic or preventative maintenance
Periodic or preventative maintenance of your vehicle will also lower your long-term operation costs. Periodic tune-ups reduce fuel consumption by making your vehicle run more efficiently. The money you spend on periodic maintenance can also save you large expenses due to major engine failure and breakdown.
Depreciation
Depreciation, the amount of value your car loses as it ages, is a significant cost in owning a vehicle. Depreciation is particularly high during the period immediately after buying a new car and for the next few years. After that, the rate of depreciation will plateau and your car's resale value becomes more dependent on its condition, mileage and specifications.