Your teenager got their license and their first car! While they’re navigating how to drive, there’s something else they need to learn, too.
Cars are complicated machines that need proper care. To prepare your child for various situations, it’s great to teach your teenager some fundamental car fixes.
Jump Starting a Dead Battery
If your teen’s car won’t start or if their buddy needs some help with their vehicle, your child should know how to mend the situation. The two key things you’ll need to do to support your child are to demonstrate where each of the clips goes on the battery and equip them with a sturdy pair of jumper cables.
The red or positive clamp goes on the positive terminal, and the black or negative clamp goes to the negative terminal of the dead battery. Then, do the same and clamp the clips on a fully functional battery. Attempt to start the vehicle with the dead battery, then safely remove the cables from each battery.
Checking Tire Pressure
Many cars give alerts when the tire pressure is low. However, it’s great to know how to recognize a low tire on your own.
Most cars will recommend 32 psi to 35 psi. Encourage your teen to check their tire pressure at least once every month as a routine practice. Checking the tires more frequently in the wintertime is a great habit since air is more likely to expel gradually during cold weather.
Changing a Tire
One of the most common problems drivers face is blown-out tires. Whether this issue is due to a malfunctioning tire or a nail slashing the surface, you never want to feel stranded on the road when you cannot drive the vehicle.
You’ll need a manual car jack, a spare tire, a torque wrench, and wheel wedges stored in the vehicle to replace a tire. Demonstrate how to remove the tire carefully. Then, show your teen the correct way to add a new tire or a temporary replacement so that they can safely reach an auto shop.
Filling the Oil and Transmission Fluid
Checking the fluid levels is one of the best tips to prevent transmission problems for your car. Transmission fluid and oil are two of the most essential parts of a properly functioning vehicle.
It’s important to know how to check the status of both types of fluid. Occasionally, vehicles need a little extra fluid. Take out the dipstick, wipe it clean, then place it back into the reservoir. The dipstick will have a line that communicates if the fluid is at a healthy level or if it’s too low.
Remember that each fluid will eventually need replacing as time passes. Oil changes should occur roughly every 5,000 to 7,500 miles for modern vehicles. This equates to about every six months depending on how frequently the vehicle is driven. You only need to change the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. However, until this time, it’s important to teach your teenager this fundamental car fix.
Being Aware of Warning Lights
A telltale way to know if there is something wrong with the vehicle is by paying attention to the symbols on the vehicle’s dashboard. Go through what the symbols mean with your teenager. These warning lights include:
- Check engine light
- Battery light
- Tire pressure warning
- Engine temperature warning
- Anti-lock brake system warning
If your teenager is aware of the potential issues, they will know when to contact a mechanic to get to the root of the problem so that they can continue to drive safely.