Getting your first driver’s license is an exciting milestone for any teen. However it’s important to make sure your teenager understands good car maintenance habits. Many young people forget to do basic checks on their vehicle, or they might be turned off by the cost of maintaining a car.
Teaching your teenager proper car maintenance will ensure that they’re safe on the road, and it will save them money in the long run.
Here are some of the best ways to teach your teenager good car maintenance habits.
1. Read the car’s manual
Go through the car’s manual together with your teen. The manual will provide you with information on the car’s features, basic maintenance tips, and advice on things such as what type of oil to use. Every vehicle is a little different, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the manual.
2. Keep an eye on gauges
Teach your teen how to read their car’s dashboard and what the various warning lights mean. Does the oil need changing? Does the engine need to be checked? Keeping a close eye on the car’s gauges will mean your teen isn’t left stranded because they’ve run out of petrol or ignored an overheating engine.
3. Check the car’s fluids regularly
Open the car bonnet and show your teen where the fluids are and what levels they should be at. Changing the oil regularly will keep the engine in prime condition and you can teach your teen how to do this in 30 minutes. Coolant should also be topped up regularly to help keep the engine from overheating.
4. Make sure tyres, lights and wipers are in good condition
Teach your teen to check their tyres every time they fill up their car. Tyres that are overinflated or underinflated won’t wear evenly and will need replacing more often, which can be expensive. Make sure your teen knows how to check that all their lights are working – this means front and rear indicators, high beam and low beam headlights, brake lights and reverse lights. And finally, check the windshield wiper blades and belts. If they feel worn or rough, it’s time to replace them.
5. Get regular servicing
The car’s manufacturer will recommend how often to get a routine service, and it’s important to follow this advice. A mechanic will perform all the regular checks necessary to keep your teen’s vehicle safe and running smoothly and efficiently.
6. Pay attention to any changes
Make sure your teen is familiar with how their car should feel and sound when it’s performing properly. If the car bounces or wanders, it could be a sign that the suspension needs checking. Or if the steering wheel pulls to one side when braking, the car’s brakes and alignment might be the issue. Teach your teen to listen to the engine (without loud music playing!) so that they will know what the engine sounds like when it’s running normally. This way they will be alert to any changes that may indicate a mechanical problem.
7. Clean the car regularly
Nobody likes washing the car, but keeping a vehicle clean will ensure your teen’s car is safer to drive. A dirty windshield can reduce visibility, particularly at night or in fog.
8. Be prepared
Stash some emergency items in your teen’s car so that if they break down they will be prepared. Jumper cables, a tool kit, torch, first-aid kit and empty petrol container are all advisable. Make sure the car’s spare tyre is properly inflated and that the jack is the right size for the car. You can also store a high-visibility vest in the car boot in case your teen needs to change a tyre at night. Ask your teen to check these items regularly.
9. Check your windscreen
A chip in your windscreen should be fixed before it grows and becomes irreparable.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? SHARE with us in the comments below.
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