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.

Main image source: Shutterstock

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  • Ever tried to change a tyre and find your not strong enough? Thats me. :(


  • i know someone that had no idea about checking the oil in their car and they wrecked it


  • When my daughter first got a car and her license, I booked and paid for a short basic car maintenance course. So she could change a tyre, check fluids etc. She attended the first 2 or 3 classes and stopped going because it was boring. Now she’s stuck and has to call dad when she breaks down


  • Fantastic article, I need to remember these myself!


  • These are all fantastic tips and ones I hope my husband shares with our son. Me, I’m not big on car details at all. I would also add RACV membership as a must with Roadside Assistance. That way you can have help anywhere, anytime.


  • Great tips and ones my parents taught me so that I could be an independent person. I keep trying to pass these tips on to my young.
    But one is not interested – doesn’t want to learn – and says ‘if something goes wrong, I’ll pay for someone to come and fix it’.
    Where did I go wrong? This child is only interested in playing on his computer and although his siblings are good at fixing any problems with their cars and were always watching and learning whenever I was in the garage fixing something, this child just doesn’t want to know.
    I despair of him for his future.

    • Sounds to me you taught your children well and didn’t go anywhere wrong ! Every child is just different and they all have different interests. You can only teach them certain ways, up to them to do something with it.


  • You should make sure your windscreen and rear window is clean every day. You may get distorted vision in your rear vision mirror is your rear window is dirty. Also check your exterior mirrors. In some areas where spiders are prolific they will spread their web quite well within a couple of days. It is best to wash your car every week. Remove the little rubber plugs at almost the bottom of the insides of your doors. The reason for this is water that runs down your doors past the seal past the outside of windows will go into the doors and the bottoms of your doors will gradually rust out.
    It is also a good idea to teach your child how to check the depth of the tread of the tyres.

    • Another suggestion I have is to keep a clean container of water in the car in case of an emergency. If your cooling system overheats you can wait at least a 1/2 to an hour or a little more then add some water to it if needed. Make sure the fluid in the car has cooled down. Release the cap on it slowly. Remember that coolant actually has an oil in it. It will burn you severely if it comes out the top while it is warm or hot. You can get it flushed later, repairs done if necessary and re-filled with coolant. If you are unfortunate enough to break down for any other reason, if the water is drinkable if will help you to stop dehydrating until help arrives.


  • Great tips and regular servicing of the car is a must for every-one!


  • This article is very comprehensive. It might also be adviseable to know what to do in the case of an accident – call police, exchange information etc.


  • These are great tips that my parents taught me.they also taught me how to change a tyre


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