If you’re like many parents of seniors that graduated this past May, you are likely looking towards sending your senior off to school as many campuses are starting their classes in the next couple weeks. It’ll be the first time that they are away from home and your guidance for extended periods of time, and likely they will have to take care of things that they typically weren’t responsible for while at home. Let’s face it, if we all depended on our teenagers to wash the household laundry, we’d likely never have anything clean. Along with the house and home tasks that they should learn, they should also know basic car maintenance before heading off to college. Here’s five things they should know to get them started.
Check & Maintain Fluid Levels
Learning to check fluid levels on your own care is extremely important to make sure that everything continues to be in top condition and working properly to prevent accidents and breakdowns. Some of the most important fluids to stay on top of is oil, power steering, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, and brake fluids. When checking these levels, the car should be parked on a level surface and the engine should be turned off. After this, every car is just a little different, so it will be beneficial for you to read the manual together and walk through the proper procedures a few times before sending them on the way.
Check Tire Pressure and Add Air
One of the most important parts on any vehicle is the tires. Much of the safety features from stopping power, grip to go, and traction all depend on your tires to be properly inflated. Under or overinflated tires can be dangerous by reducing the amount of traction your tire may have in weather conditions. It’s therefore important for them to know how to put air in their tires and how much air they should be putting in the tires. They should know what the tire pressure monitor signal looks like and understand that they should check and fill the air on their tires as soon as possible. Knowing where to find tire pressure information, how to read the pressure gauge and how to check tread levels are important car maintenance skills to have.
Know the Manufacturer Maintenance Schedule
Keeping on top of fluid and tires aren’t the only maintenance that is important for the vehicle. Every manufacture has guidelines for when oil filters, air filters, and other maintenance should happen on the vehicle. Teaching your teen to be familiar with the standards for their vehicle and understand the consequences of not performing regular maintenance is important. Staying on top of maintenance not only keeps a car running well, but it also helps keep your teen driver safe on the road. Showing them where to find the information for how often oil changes, tire rotation, alignment and tune-ups should be maintained in the manual and giving your teen driver the responsibility for scheduling preventative maintenance and tune-ups on his or her vehicle, can help create good car care habits early on to keep them safe and their car in top condition.
Clean Your Car Inside and Out
One of the most overlooked pieces of car maintenance is cleaning the car both inside and out. Understanding the amount of damage that not cleaning will do to your car is important. Things like dirt, grime, and salt will eat away at the paint over time, and eventually damage the metal if left too long. Similarly, the longer that the inside is dirty, the harder that it will be to maintain the interior fabrics. Inside is even more important because it can accumulate bacteria on all the places that you and your family touch from the steering wheels to the upholstery and dashboards. Just like the mechanical maintenance, working with you teen to take care of the cleaning of the car is important to starting and continuing good car care.
What to do in case of an emergency
Finally, even when we maintain our car as much as possible, there can still be emergencies that occur from being stuck in weather or bad conditions to being involved in a wreck to mechanical failures. Whatever the case, your teen should be prepared for a wide range of emergencies. Some of the most important things they should have is a list of important numbers to call and a charged phone. Should they be out of range of cell service, they should also have a small kit that could either get them back on the road or safe until someone can help them. Having an emergency kit with things like jumper cables, tire repair kit, tire pressure gauge, flashlight, first aid kit, hazard signs, flares, water, snacks, candles and matches, and blankets is recommended.
These five things are a great starting point in teaching young adults to becoming conscientious car owners.
This article was brought to you by Infiniti of Cool Springs. Infiniti of Cool Springs offers new and pre-owned vehicles. Infiniti of Cool Springs is located at 211 Comtide Ct., Franklin, TN 37067.