Thursday, December 24, 2015

where in the truck is...

As I was composing my last post, I kept thinking of vehicle-related "common sense" stuff that newbies may not be aware of.

In consulting, we tend to drive a wide range of vehicles - our own, various rentals, and/or company trucks/vans. We also tend to hop into each others' trucks to move them out of the way or grab something, so we may not be that familiar with whatever we're driving. However, the rest of the field staff is going to expect newbies to know these things. So here's a guide to the non-driving aspects of cars/trucks/whatever.

1. Gas cap: if you can't flip it open, push on it. If pushing on it doesn't work, it probably has a lever down close to the floor by the driver's door with a little gas pump icon.

2. To open the hood: there's usually a pull lever under the dashboard to pop the hood. To actually disengage it, you need to feel around the front inside of the hood for a lever.

3. The fuel gauge has an icon with a gas pump. The arrow next to the icon indicates what side the gas cap is on.

4. Emergency blinkers are marked with a red triangle, and may be on the top of the steering wheel or somewhere in the middle of the dashboard/center console.

4. The rearview mirrors should be extended out so that you can just barely see the edge of the car in them without moving your head. Most rearview mirror adjusters are located on the driver's side door, and have a switch or toggle for the left or right side mirrors. If not there, look around the center console.

5. If you're being towed/pulled out of a ditch, put the vehicle in neutral.

6. Yes, you can buy an inverter to plug into a car's cigarette lighter/auxiliary power supply, so that you can plug in a pronged cord. But you cannot run energy-intensive equipment (like, say, a drill or a big printer) off that power supply, as you'll blow the fuse.

7. You can replace fuses easily - all vehicles start out with spares tucked away somewhere. But if you have an old or rental vehicle, chances are the spare fuse you need has already been taken. Fuse boxes used to be reliably tucked under the dashboard, but I've also found them in the engine bay.

8. If you need to lock in 4-wheel drive, most modern vehicles will have a switch or button somewhere around the dashboard for that, and that's all you need to do. The dashboard should indicate that you're in 4-wheel drive. Some may require you to cruise forward for a bit for 4-wheel drive to engage. A few require you to put it in neutral first. And rare older trucks will require you to physically get out and lock the wheels (turn a lever on the center of the wheel).

9. It's ok to open the manual to find something! If you're using a rental vehicle, the odds are about 90% that the manual will still be sealed in its original packaging.

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