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Important Car Maintenance Habits to Teach Your New Teen Driver

Newly licensed, all that’s likely on the mind of your teen driver is the major dose of freedom they’re about to receive. As thrilling as that freedom can be, though, it’s important that your teen understands the major responsibilities that come along with having a set of wheels. Among these responsibilities is the need to regularly maintain their vehicle to ensure they actually have something to drive. Whether they’re borrowing your car or they have a vehicle of their own, then, here are a few important car maintenance habits to teach your new teen driver.

Checking Fluids

Few car maintenance tasks are as simple or as important as checking the fluids. Whether it’s checking the oil to ensure the engine is properly lubricated or checking the windshield washer fluid to ensure there is always a clear view, checking fluids cannot be overlooked. Teach your teen the entire process, including opening the hood, locating the fluids they need to check, and adding the fluids if any are low.

Oil Changes

While it may be easy for your teen to understand the importance of regular oil changes, it may be difficult for them to keep track of how long it’s been since their last oil change, determining when they need to have another one. If the sticker on the windshield from the auto repair shop isn’t enough, you can have them set a reminder on their phone at the recommended time interval. Include in this reminder information about mileage to ensure your teen doesn’t waste their money by changing the oil prematurely.

Adding Air to Tires

One of the biggest worries you have as a parent of a teen driver is for their safety on the road. A great way to reduce the risks your teen faces is to teach them the importance of properly inflated tires. Show them how to locate the recommended air pressure for the tires on the vehicle they drive in the owner’s manual and on the driver’s door panel. Then, show them how to check the air pressure in each tire using an air pressure gauge. Finally, demonstrate how to use an air pump to inflate the tires to the recommended pressure, ensuring even wear and a safe trip for your teen.

Replacing Bulbs

Burned-out bulbs on a vehicle can be a major safety risk for your teen and other drivers. In some cases, your teen may not be near home when a particular bulb burns out, meaning they need to know how to replace the bulbs themselves. Teach your teen the importance of doing a walkaround prior to driving to ensure that all lights are operating correctly. Additionally, they should know how to replace the bulbs and what types of bulbs to purchase to ensure a proper fit.

An Ongoing Conversation

Teaching safe and effective maintenance habits to your teen isn’t a one-time event. Instead, good maintenance should be seen as an ongoing conversation in which you reward your teen with more responsibility, over time. This will allow your teen to gain confidence in what you have already taught them and give them a good foundation on which to build new concepts. Then, by the time they’re truly on their own, they will have a wealth of knowledge with which to take great care of their vehicle.

Tim Esterdahl

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