Give your new driver the knowledge and resources needed to handle issues they will encounter as every day drivers with these car maintenance tips for teens.
Have you taught your teen driver everything they need to know about driving? Safety and basic laws were probably at the top of the list. Then, your rules were the next thing you laid down, and of course a lecture about what a major responsibility it is to drive. In there, did you also offer practical advice about basic car maintenance and upkeep or how to change a tire?
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With technology at our fingertips, it gets easier and easier to call for assistance or have an app alert us to an issue. The only problem with this is that it doesn’t teach our kids how to be self sufficient. It isn’t teaching them to rely on instincts and abilities. If you have a teen driver, don’t forget to show them how to take care of their car and detect potential problems.
When I started driving, I had basically no one with car knowledge to teach me about anything. Therefore, whenever I ran into a problem, I felt helpless and stranded. I have had many tearful phone calls to my mother to come get me when my car had a flat or my engine light was flashing and my car was smoking. It wasn’t until I was married that my husband offered practical advice about car problems. Now that my niece has started driving, I want her to be as prepared as possible for the issues that arise as an everyday driver. I have given her the best tips I have and that every teen driver should know. Have you shown your new driver how to handle these basic car maintenance issues?
Check the Engine Oil
This important detail in car maintenance is one that often gets overlooked by both new and experienced drivers. (I have been known to push off changing my oil many miles after I should have!) Make sure they know when an oil change is needed and remind them the importance of keeping track. Be sure to give them a lesson on how to check the engine oil to make sure it is full and that the color is a dark brown or black. A milky appearance or any particles present, and they need a mechanic to take a look. When they do add oil, make sure they know what kind is used on the car.
Refill Windshield Washer Fluid
As one of the easier maintenance tasks, be sure your teen knows how to refill the windshield washer fluid. Whether they are driving in the rain or navigating their first winter, make sure they are prepared. PrestoneⓇ carries a variety of windshield washer fluid including de-icer, bug wash, and all season 3 in 1 to help maintain constant visibility by preventing streaking and glares.
Checking the antifreeze is an important part of maintaining a car, and your teen should know how to check it as well as what to do if their car starts to overheat. Show them where the radiator is located and never to open it or add coolant if the car is hot. They can be burned or it can crack the engine block. They can check to see from the outside if the liquid reaches the full line. If the car isn’t hot, they can open the cap and see how much fluid is in the radiator. Have them fill the radiator accordingly if it is low and the car has cooled. Keeping coolant handy in the trunk is a good idea just in case they need it.
Add Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is another thing your new driver should be aware of when it comes to basic car upkeep. Many cars have instructions right on the cap. Find where the brake fluid goes, check to see if it is low and the color of the fluid. If it is dark brown or black it should be drained and replaced. If it is just low, add the appropriate amount and be sure to use the correct kind of brake fluid. You shouldn’t mix different kinds, and the cap should say what kind it calls for.
Add Power Steering Fluid
If your teen ends up having an issue with their steering or there is a high pitched whining when they turn, they might need more power steering fluid. Show them where the power steering fluid is located and how to check it. If the color is black or dark brown, you need to have a mechanic take a look. If it is just low, have them add more.
Check Transmission Fluid
A car might need more transmission fluid if there is some hesitation before the automatic transmission shifts gears. Teach them how to locate the dipstick for their transmission fluid and how to check to see if it is full. If the fluid smells burnt or if it is black and gritty, a mechanic should flush and replace it. If it is low, have them fill it up.
Change A Flat
The dreaded flat tire is something we all try to avoid, but it eventually happens to all of us. Make sure your teen’s car has everything needed to change a flat from the jack to safety reflectors. Then, have them practice! Go through the process with them step by step starting with the proper placement of the carjack and working your way through to getting the spare tire on. It might just help them in a bind and keep you from having to make a trip to rescue them.
Stop Costly Leaks
If there is a major problem like a leak in a radiator, engine block or head gasket, and they happen to be far from home, Prestone’sⓇ line of Triple Seal Stop Leak might be able to help. This would have definitely come in handy at least twice in all the years I have been driving. Made with DuPont™ Kevlar® resin, it helps seek out leaks and temporarily fix them. Even if it is never a problem, it is a great product to know about just in case. It could help extend the life of your car after a costly leak occurs.
Give your novice driver the know how to handle problems that may occur as a driver. It will give them more confidence and help keep them a little safer as they work on their driving skills.
I received a PrestoneⓇ product for review. All opinions remain my own.