Your teen driver may not be an auto expert, but before they hit the road with their shiny new license in hand, they should know the basics of auto care. Teaching your teen the essentials of car care and maintenance can help keep him or her be as prepared as possible when a situation arises, and we all know they need all the help they can get!
If you have a new teen driver in your house, use this quick auto care checklist to teach them what they need to know before a maintenance issue comes up. It will also give you some piece of mind knowing they’ll not only have the car and their personal safety top of mind, but also the maintenance knowledge they need to keep their “ride” in excellent shape.
You never know when you (or your teen driver) may end up on the side of the road with a flat tire. You first want to make sure your teen’s car has a spare and the proper tools to change a tire. Next, you want to teach them how to change the tire out.
If you’re not too sure how to change a tire yourself, here’s a great video that will help. Remind them to always drive slowly and non-stop home, or straight to an auto-repair shop after they’ve replaced the tire.
Under or overinflated tires can be dangerous when operating your vehicle. Teaching your teen how to put air in their tires and how much air they should be putting in the tires, is important. If the tires are unevenly worn or have bald spots on them, it’s probably time to purchase some new ones.
Oil, power steering, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid – your teen should know how to check the levels on each of these, especially the oil. To check the fluid levels, the car should be parked on a level surface and the engine should be turned off. You can also review the cars owner’s manual for the proper procedures.
Staying on top of preventative maintenance not only keeps a car running well, but it also helps keep your teen driver safe on the road. Oil changes, tire rotation, alignment and tune-ups should be maintained on a regular basis. Give your teen driver the responsibility for scheduling preventative maintenance and tune-ups on his or her vehicle so they can develop good auto care habits early on.
Every driver should know how to safely jump start a car battery. To get started, both vehicles should be in park, or neutral, with engines off and parking brakes engaged.
The red positive (+) cable should first be clamped to the disabled vehicle’s red positive (+) battery terminal. Then the other end of that same cable should be clamped to the booster vehicle’s red positive (+) terminal. Next, clamp the black negative (-) cable to the booster vehicle’s black negative (-) terminal. Finally, clamp the other end of the black negative cable to a large, unpainted metal surface in the disabled vehicle’s engine bay, away from the battery and engine itself. After cables are connected, try to start the disabled vehicle. Once it starts, allow both vehicles to run while connected for three minutes.
Every car should be equipped with emergency supplies; including jumper cables, tire pressure gauge, a flashlight and hazard signs. It’s also a good idea to keep a bottle of water and a snack (such as protein bars) in the car should the driver ever become stranded.
AutoMD, a comprehensive online auto maintenance guide provides a Teen Driver Car Maintenance and Repair Guideto help educate teenage drivers. The guide includes a do-it-yourself vehicle maintenance checklist, step-by-step instructions on these and other basic car maintenance tips, as well as vehicle safety information, roadside safety tips and a vehicle diagram.
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