More and more teens are learning to drive, which means more parents are entrusting their teens with the family car or buying them their own cars. In fact, it’s part of the many reasons why Ford Motor Company’s revenue hit a whopping $127 billion in 2020. But as any parent of a new driver knows, teaching your teen to drive is just the beginning. You also have to teach them how to take care of a car, i.e., the basics of vehicle maintenance. Here are tips to help you get started.
1. Schedule Regular Maintenance Appointments
The first step is to make sure that your teen driver understands the importance of regular maintenance. Schedule appointments with a trusted mechanic or dealership service department and help them understand what types of services their vehicle will need. This can be anything from oil changes and tire rotations to more comprehensive services like brake repairs or engine tune-ups.
Encourage your teen to ask questions and take an active interest in maintaining their vehicle. This will help them better understand how their car works and what they need to do to keep it running smoothly.
2. Check Vehicle’s Fluids
One of the most important aspects of vehicle maintenance is checking and changing fluids. Teach your teen driver how to check their engine oil, coolant level, and power steering fluid. They should also know how to top off these fluids if they’re low.
It’s also important to show them where the dipstick is located and how to check the fluid level. Many newer vehicles have electronic displays that show the current fluid levels, but it’s still good to know how to do it manually.
Finally, teach your teen driver when these fluids need to be changed. Most fluids should be changed every few months or after a certain number of miles, but it’s always best to check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
3. Importance of Using OEM Parts
One of the most common mistakes that new drivers make is using aftermarket or cheap replacement parts when their car needs repairs. It’s important to teach your teen driver that using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts is always the best option.
This is especially true for foreign brands. For example, BMW cars require an average of 0.9 repair visits per year, with a 15% probability of a severe repair. But if you use aftermarket or fake parts, that number could go up significantly. So, it’s important to make sure your teen driver knows always to use OEM parts when their car needs repairs.
4. How to Read Their Vehicle’s Dashboard
Most modern vehicles have a variety of warning lights on the dashboard that indicate when something is wrong. It’s important to teach your teen driver how to interpret these warning lights and what they need to do if one comes on.
For example, the check engine light is one of the most common warning lights. It can indicate various issues, from a loose gas cap to a more serious problem like an engine misfire. If this light comes on, your teen should know to take their car to a mechanic as soon as possible and not continue driving until the problem is fixed.
There are many other warning lights that your teen should be aware of, so take some time to go over the dashboard with them and explain what each light means.
5. How to Change a Tire
One of the most common problems that drivers face is a flat tire. It’s important to teach your teen driver how to change a tire to be prepared if they ever find themselves in this situation.
Start by showing them how to locate the spare tire and jack in their vehicle. Then, explain how to use the jack to lift the vehicle and remove the lug nuts. Once the flat tire is off, they can put on the spare and lower the vehicle. It’s also good to show them how to check their tires for tread wear and proper inflation.
In the last decade, the average duration of vehicle ownership for new and used cars has risen by 60%. This trend will likely continue as cars become more reliable and people keep them for longer periods. As a result, it’s more important than ever to teach your teen driver the basics of vehicle maintenance. By following the tips above, you can help your teen driver keep their car in good condition and avoid costly repairs in the future.