Shelby Hale, Parts Specialist at America’s Car-Mart, at a dealership

Shelby Hale talks car safety

Maintaining your car for safety and driving safely

When you’re handed the keys to your new ride, there’s so many things to consider. The #1 factor to remember is safety for both vehicle maintenance and safe driving. Safety should be a priority anytime you get behind the wheel of a car no matter whether you are headed for a cross-country trip or a mile down the road.

“People just get in their cars and drive. But, there’s much to know about keeping your car safe and driving safely,” says Shelby Hale, Parts Specialist for America’s Car-Mart. “A car is a complex machine comprised of so many parts.”

Shelby knows the ins and outs of a car from the radiator and alternator to pistons and spark plugs. In this article, Shelby answers questions about safety and vehicle maintenance, as well as safe driving.

When you think of an automobile and safety, what are the top things that come to mind?

Shelby Hale standing by a stack of tiresThe list is long. First tires, then brakes and lights. Plus, there’s regular maintenance items such as belts and hoses and fluids – coolant and oil. Keep your tires properly inflated and rotated. Check your lights. Get regular brake checks. Make sure your wiper blades are ready for rainy days.

It’s important to keep your car properly maintained and good to go for safety purposes. Maintaining your vehicle will give you peace of mind so you won’t get stranded with engine trouble or experience a flat tire.

Plus, it’s always a good idea to review the owner’s manual to determine the car’s safety features. Finally, check your seat belts and make sure they are functional.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our other articles on vehicle maintenance:

What’s the #1 thing that most people do NOT do when it comes to safety and their vehicles?

Shelby Hale changing wiper bladesThere are two things – brakes and tires. Obviously, brakes are critical to your safety on the road and the most important mechanism of your car. Tires, too, should be checked regularly as they affect the handling of your vehicle and braking. Tires need the correct air pressure, tread depth, balance, and alignment.

Also, ineffective windshield wipers can also impact your safety. If it starts raining, and you haven’t checked your wipers, you’ll wish you did.

When you put your head under the hood of a vehicle, what do you think of when it comes to safety?

I look for leaks underneath the car. If the fluid is brown, black or amber, it’s probably engine oil. It could be the oil, so you’ll need to check it to make sure you have the right amount of oil in your vehicle. Driving low on oil could cause your engine to fail.

Shelby Hale holding a car partIt could also be transmission fluid, which, if low, could cause your gears from shifting smoothly and could cause damage to the transmission.

I, also, watch out for odd smells. You can smell antifreeze. I, also, look at the battery cable to make sure they are not caught or frayed.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our article: 8 things to know about oil changes.

What should drivers keep in their vehicles for safety?
Car Emergency Kit
Some of the basic items for a Car Emergency Kit.

Never travel without a basic car jack and spare tire. Know where they are located and how to use them and make sure your spare tire has air.

It’s also important to include a car care kit in your vehicle to help you should you experience roadside emergencies. A first aid kit is good for minor injuries.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our article about emergency roadside kits.

What are the safest vehicles?

Bigger cars are safer – four-door sedans or SUVs.

Editor’s Note: For more info, see The 15 Safest Cars for 2020

What is the safest family vehicle?

Larger SUVs or minivans.

Editor’s Note: For more info, see Top 10 Safest Cars for Families

What is the safest color?

Well, that was a tough one, so I looked it up and learned that white cars have been found to be the safest color. Yellow vehicles are another safe color. However, statistics also show that dark-colored cars – black, gray and midnight blue – are more accident-prone. They’re harder to see on the road.

Source: Consumer Reports

What do you tell your 20-year-old daughter about getting behind the wheel of a car and being safe?

Shelby Hale standing in front of a car on a lift in a shopThis is another long list! First, pay attention and stay alert. Follow the rules of the road. Buckle your seat belt. Drive slow and easy – no speeding. Watch for cars in front and behind you. Leave enough room to stop. Stay off your phone. Don’t text and drive. Adjust your mirrors so you can change lanes safely.

All this goes back to your driving schoolbook. Overall, be safe and smart, and focus on driving when driving.

Editor’s Note: Check out our safe driving blog.

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