How to Teach Your Teen Essential Car Maintenance and Repair Skills

If you’re worried about whether your teen driver can perform basic auto repairs in an emergency, you’re not alone. Studies from Auto MD have found that nearly two-thirds of teens don't know basic auto repair.

This lack of knowledge and preparation could leave your teen in a vulnerable and precarious situation when faced with a flat tire or breakdown. Plus, simply having this knowledge and know-how is quite important: Experts say failing to maintain your vehicle can reduce its lifespan of being driven around 200,000 miles to 150,000 miles or less.

Teach your teen drivers about the essentials of vehicle maintenance and repair to keep them safe, all while instilling more personal responsibility. Here are five skills to teach your teen driver before they hit the open road.

Invest in Quality Tires

Teaching your teen how to change a flat — and staging an actual simulation so they can learn the entire process — is crucial for roadside safety. But taking care of your tires is more than changing flat tires and coping with an emergency.

Show your child how to check their tires' air pressure with the free air from a gas station or air pump. Next, educate them about the tell-tale signs of worn down tires and how to properly research and purchase new tires.

For example, cheap tires can cause a blowout as many are unable to hold the requisite air pressure. Bad tires can also deplete your gas mileage. Teach your child to look for quality tires with all-season performance like Falken tires from TireBuyer.com. These tires can be delivered straight to your mechanic, while teaching you responsible budgeting principles without skimping on quality.

Change Your Own Oil

A poll by Cheap Car Insurance found that almost 60 percent of drivers are clueless or aren't very confident about performing an oil change. However, here's the fact of the matter: A regular oil change can help maintain the health of your car and extend its life cycle. Oil changes also help keep your engine clean, extends the life of your engine, and can actually lower vehicle emissions and gas mileage.

Co
nduct Routine Fluid Checks

Don't let routine fluid checks fall by the wayside. A fluid check done between oil changes can check the level of your oil as well as the levels of your power steering fluid, coolant and wiper fluid. Create a home school lesson around checking fluids, including brake fluid and what color it should be, for optimum performance.

Jump a Car Battery

Learning to safely jump a dead battery is crucial for your teen's safety. Instruct your teen where to pull over during an emergency or who to ask for help when they're in a pinch. If your teen would rather rely on others in these emergencies, tell them to always keep their smartphone fully charged, so they can always call you, another family member or friend for help. You may also want to equip your teen's car with jumper cables as well show how to jumpstart their vehicle to ensure they're always safe on the road.

Be Prepared for Anything

All the maintenance checks in the world won’t replace being prepared with enough provisions and an emergency back-up plan. That's why it's always important to equip your teen’s car with extra water, gasoline, a flashlight and even a solar powered external battery to give their smartphone a boost.
You should also instruct your teen to always make sure their car manual is handy and to review its contents periodically to ensure they understand how everything works. The better prepared your teen is for success, the better their chances are for a safe and happy driving experience.

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