Handing over the car keys to your teenager for the first time can be nerve-wracking. You have taught them how to drive and now it is their job to implement everything they have learned. But this does not mean your job is done. In addition to teaching your child to operate a car safely and responsibly, you should also teach them the basics of car maintenance. This way, they can be prepared to address the mechanical issues that will inevitably arise on the road.
This guide will serve as your maintenance teaching checklist for your child.
It’s easy to get in the habit of dropping your car off at the mechanic and not really understanding why it needs certain fluids. This is an opportunity for you to refresh your fluid knowledge and spread this information to your teen driver. Ask the mechanic if your child can observe a maintenance appointment to learn about:
- Engine oil
- Wiper fluid
- Automotive coolant
- Transmission fluid
This way, your child can learn about fluid maintenance schedules and know when their car is in need of a change or flush. Even better, you can change some of these fluids at home with your son or daughter.
Since the average car in the U.S. is 10.8 years old, and since most teenagers tend to drive used cars, it’s important that your child is aware of the physical maintenance needs of their car. This includes learning how to change a tire, what to do if the engine smokes, and knowing the importance of keeping the gas tank at an adequate level. They should know how to test the brakes, mirrors, power steering, and other features as well.
If their car has any specialized equipment like a wireless backup camera, it’s important that they learn how to test it out. The same goes for any features like cruise control or four-wheel drive.
Teenage drivers should also know that ignoring warning lights can have serious consequences. Teach them what each one means and what to do when a light comes on. This knowledge could keep your child safe in the event of a mechanical emergency.
As a parent, it is your role to teach your child about car safety and maintenance, but that does not mean you need to do it alone. Professional driving classes and mechanics can help you educate your child on taking care of their car. From engine fluid to the wireless backup camera, it pays to take care of every car feature. More info like this.