(Mikey is Canadian, so for the benefit of U.K. readers, when he talks about the ‘hood’ that’s the ‘bonnet’, the ‘trunk’ is the ‘boot’ and ‘tire irons’ are ‘tyre levers’)
Ok, lets say you’re one handed and you like to do your own regular maintenance checks (full serve stations charge more)
Check oil level:
My car has an 80 pound hood with a prop. The one handed trick? Park car nose in to curb leaving enough room to stand on the curb (I’m short). Pop hood, lift with good hand then wedge your head under it while you put the prop in place. Check your fluids. The best bet is to get a car with hydraulic hinges (no prop). Note check engine oil while motor is hot but off. For automatic transmission check with motor hot and running in park. Safety tip: keep your 5 remaining fingers away from the fan. Newer cars have electric fans that may turn on even if the vehicle is not running.
Seems simple enough? “NOT”. All the new stations here use the two handed type pumps. One hand has to hold the nipple on the valve while the other presses a button to fill the tire. The one handed trick? Find a station that has the old style pump that you just stick on the valve
(careful as they overfill quickly). A portable tire pump that runs off the cigarette lighter works well once you figure out how to flip the latch that locks it onto the valve. (Fancy bpi thumb action required).
Call roadside assistance. Ok who wants to pay for that right? The trick to this is having the proper tools in your trunk. The manufacturers jack and tire iron are woefully inadequate. The best bet is to have the small version of a mechanics floor jack (pump with handle). It’s not enough to jack the whole car up but more than enough to lift one side of the car. The cross style tire iron is the best; you can hold it on the lug nut with your good hand and stand on it to break the nuts free. Mechanics tip: loosen lug nuts before raising the vehicle. Always carry a can of tire inflator 9 times out of 10 this will get you to the next service station.
For the most part a bpi can be just as self sufficient as any other driver with a few simple tools and a bit of