It happened in the blink of an eye, but suddenly your kids are 16 and driving. This is a skill they’ll use for the rest of their lives, so how do you teach them to maintain their vehicles? Knowing about their car and its required care can save them time and money on expensive repairs in the future.
Knowing the basics about tires is important. Children should be able to measure the wear on their tires by checking the tread groove with the “penny test.” If you stick a penny with Lincoln’s head facing down into the groove and you can see his entire head, it’s time for new tires! Children should also learn to check their tire pressure and have them rotated about every 5,000 miles or oil change. Most auto shops will rotate tires for free.
Show your children how to check each light, especially taillights. It’s sometimes hard to know when you have a taillight out because it is behind you, but it is something you can get ticketed for. Teach your kids to check their lights and show them how to replace a bulb when it does go out. You can also polish the headlights together for maximum light.
Windshield wipers need to be replaced from time to time when the rubbery part on the blade begins to wear down. Teach your children to notice when the blades start to become less effective, and buy new blades together and replace them.
Oil and Antifreeze Levels
Always be sure the engine is cool before looking at anything under the hood. Then show your child how to check the oil level. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with an old rag. Put it back in and remove it once more to see where the oil level falls and if it will need more. While you have the hood up, check antifreeze levels as well. Teach them that this can keep their car from freezing in the winter and keep it cool in the summer.
To keep a car looking shiny and new, it will require some maintenance. Show your kids how to clean the outside of the car, wipe down windows, and check for scratches, dents and signs of rust. Catching these damages early can help prevent them from getting worse.
Gauges and Warning Lights
Go through the owner’s manual together and discuss what each warning light looks like and what it means. Warning lights appear for a reason, but knowing their meanings can help your child to assess whether it requires an immediate response or if it’s an issue they can fix themselves.
Learning about the basic maintenance required for their car will keep your kids safe out on the road, and in the end, safety is most important! Good luck!