One day, they’re spitting up green bean puree on your shirt, and the next day you’re sitting in the passenger seat as they put the keys in the ignition for the first time. Teaching your teen to drive is an important moment during parenthood; it’s one of the quintessential “they grow up so fast” moments you get the pleasure of experiencing. But before you take a moment to contemplate how old you are, it’s important to think about your teen’s life after they start getting behind the wheel regularly. They’ll need to know how to take proper care of their beloved automobiles. Here are five things you should teach your teen about car maintenance.
The Basics Are More Than Just Knowing When To Get Gas
1. Putting Air In Your Tires
Keeping an eye on your tire pressure is a must for basic car care, especially when cold weather strikes. The cold can bring about low-pressure systems that can reduce pressure in your teen’s tires, so it’s important for them to have a tire pressure gauge in a convenient place; the glove compartment is good for this purpose, as well as housing the manual to their vehicle, which will tell them the appropriate amount of pressure their tires require. Take your teen to your local gas station and show them how to use the air pump; they should be checking up on their tires at least once a month, especially before particularly long trips.
2. Changing Oil
On average, a car will need an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. It’s essential for optimal engine health! Tell your teen to check their vehicle’s manual and consult with an automotive professional to determine what is best for their vehicle.
3. Taking Care Of Your A/C
The air conditioning system is often overlooked when having maintenance done. That is, until it’s the middle of July and you’ve suddenly got no A/C on your morning commute. “When you’re not thinking about your heating or A/C, that’s when it stops working,” says A/C repair experts at Edgestone Automotive, an auto repair shop in Austin, TX. Receiving timely maintenance on your A/C will ensure you’re never stuck in the freezing cold or the scathing heat!
This may come as a surprise to many, but your air conditioning will affect your car’s gas mileage. If your vehicle’s performance is being hindered following issues with the A/C, do not hesitate to have it inspected by a professional!
4. Preparing For Winter
Your teen needs to understand that the maintenance needs of their vehicle will change seasonally. For instance, windshield wipers should be replaced once a year; during the winter, they should be pulled away from the windshield to prevent ice and snow from building up. It’s also a good idea to swap out the tires for new ones equipped for snow, slush, and ice. Lastly, check the performance of your car’s battery; drastic temperature changes can affect its performance. Replace it if necessary. Some auto repair shops, such as Edgestone, offer special deals on extensive seasonal checks to prepare vehicles for the winter months.
To Be Young & Insured
5. Buying Car Insurance For The First Time
There’s no sugar coating it; if your teen needs their own insurance plan, they’ll be paying more. Drivers under 25 are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident. Your teen isn’t married (hopefully), isn’t a homeowner, and isn’t a college graduate; those discounts aren’t even on the horizon yet. Some insurers won’t even touch drivers under 25!
Fortunately, there are some pros! If your teen is exiting your policy to pay for their own, they’re considered previously insured; this will lower their bill. If your teen has been driving for some time, their previous good driving record can also save them a few bucks. Most importantly, take the time to determine exactly how much insurance your teen needs, and find a plan that’s most suited for them.
Hopefully, this article has demonstrated something all teens should know: cars are not toys! Driving is a privilege, and taking care of a car is a big responsibility. Think of it as taking care of a pet; a pet that weighs over a ton and can push 110 on the freeway. Happy driving!