Teaching Your Teen How To Properly Maintain Their First Car

There are so many benefits in teaching your teen how to properly maintain and take care of their first car. The importance of these is that a well-maintained vehicle is likely to be much safer and more reliable which significantly reduces the chances that your teen will have an accident or breakdown in an inopportune place. 

Then there are all the additional benefits such as helping them to take pride in and responsibility for their car, teaching them valuable life skills, and ensuring they can be independent when the time comes. The good news is you can find out all about the car maintenance basics that you need to teach to your teen below. Keep reading to find out what they are. 

How to.Maintain a Car

Checking the manual 

Before asking your teen to do any maintenance on their car, you need to encourage them to get familiar with their car manual. This is so important because each make and model of vehicle will have different recommendations for basic maintenance tasks such as changing their air filter, tires, and servicing, and your teen must understand this and know the specifications for their particular vehicle. 

Essential Tools 

As well as getting familiar with their car’s manual, your teen will also need access to some basic equipment and tools, to be able to maintain and take proper care of their vehicle. In particular, a pressure gauge (digital or pencil), a spare tire, a tire iron, a car jack, and a wrench will all be necessary. 

It’s also a good idea to provide them with the materials and tools they need to keep the interior and exterior of their vehicle clean. Don’t worry too much about investing in the most high-tech detailing options though. Instead, some basic wash, a bucket, a sponge, and a handheld vacuum should do the trick.

How to.Maintain a Car

Cleaning the interior and exterior of the car

Once you have set up your teens with the right equipment, one of the most straightforward and valuable tasks you can encourage them to complete is to take responsibility for cleaning the interior and exterior of their car. 

Indeed, keeping the outside of their vehicle clean is essential because it helps your teen take pride in their car, something that can encourage them to drive more safely. A wash with car shampoo and a good rinse will usually be sufficient. Although your teen may like to wax their vehicle too as this can help it to stay looking shiny and clean, and help protect the paintwork too. 

​Keeping the inside clean, on the other hand, is all about ensuring a pleasant atmosphere that doesn’t distract your teen when they drive, something that once again is vital for safety. For cracks and crevices that are hard to reach, you may wish to treat your teen to some ‘car cleaning slime’ that picks up small bits of debris and can fit into almost any space.  

Replacing a part 

At some point, it is quite likely that a part will fail, become damaged or wear out in your teen’s vehicle, something that means this part will need to be replaced. Of course, there are two options here, going to a professional mechanic to get a new part swapped in for the old, or working with your teen to allow them to replace the part themselves. 

Indeed, helping your teen replace a faulty part means you can help them to make their car safer and more reliable on the road. Minimizing the risk of breaking down in the middle of nowhere, or on a busy highway where there could be significant risks. 

Of course, when DIYing this task it’s always best to opt to buy replacement parts from a licensed dealer like the one specializing in Ford parts you can click here to find more about. This is because using official parts will ensure maximum efficiency from your trends vehicle and ensure dependable performance from their car for longer. 

However, not all teens will want to involve themselves in maintenance tasks past the basic ones. If this is the case, or you are unsure that either of you has the expertise needed, you can always take the vehicle to a mechanic and have them complete the job for you. 

Maintaining the air filter

Another important car maintenance task your teen should be familiar with is how to change and maintain the air filter in their vehicle. Having an air filter in good working order is so vital because it helps to prevent particles from getting into their engine and clogging it up. 

The air filter can be found in the engine compartment of your teen’s car. Remember to advise them to wipe off the cap before they touch it as it’s likely to be dirty, and in this state, hard to remove. Some air filters will also require the removal of screws so make sure you have a screwdriver with the correct head on hand. Changing the air filter is pretty easy though. All your teen will need to do is remove the old one, clean the seal and housing, and install the new filter, tightening screws where necessary and that’s it! 

Changing a tire 

Last, of all, every teen needs to know how to change a tire on their own vehicle. A word to the wise though, it’s best to have them practice this several times beforehand in the safety of your own drive before you expect them to be able to do it at the roadside. 

Happily, changing a tire can be pretty simple if you instruct your teen to follow the steps below:  

  • Step one: Get them to assess whether it’s safe to change a tire. 
  • Step two: If it’s safe proceed by using the parking brake and then remove the hubcap. 
  • Step three: Use a wrench to loosen the lug nuts surrounding the tire 
  • Step four: use a car jack to raise the vehicle (never go underneath the car when it’s jacked up) 
  • Step five: completely remove the lug nuts
  • Step six: remove the tire 
  • Step seven: Replace the tire with the new one 
  • Step eight: Tighten the lug nuts by hand
  • Step nine: Lower the jack so the car is just touching the ground 
  • Step ten: Tighten the lug nuts with a wrench
  • Step eleven: Lower the car to the ground properly, check that the lug nights are tight enough, and replace the hub cap. 
  • Step twelve: Check the air pressure. 
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