Whether you allow your child to get their permit at 15, as is allowed in many states, or you decide to wait until he or she is older, learning basic car maintenance is every bit as important as parallel parking or merging safely. Keeping the vehicle in tip-top shape can help avoid accidents and stop small problems before they can blossom into costly repairs. Here are five skills your child needs to know about how to care for a car.
How to Change a Tire
While being able to get the tire off the rim isn’t necessary, being able to use the jack and swap out a flat for the spare is essential. Even if you have roadside assistance, being able to change a flat tire will allow your child to get moving again. This is a matter of safety, especially if you live in a rural area or where the weather is sometimes harsh.
How to Change Windshield Wiper Blades
Some auto shops will snap on new blades for free or for only a few bucks, but why go through the hassle? Show your child how the wiper blades are attached and how to install new ones. Driving around with bad blades is an accident waiting to happen, so make sure to stress the importance of a clear, unobstructed view out of the windshield and the rear window.
How to Top Off Fluids
Take a Saturday afternoon and show your child the access points for all of the car’s fluid reservoirs, including power steering, brakes, windshield washer fluid and the radiator. If you have a car with a ‘closed’ radiator system that cannot be opened, point this out to your child and make sure they understand not to trifle with it even if the car is overheating.
How to Check the Oil
Plenty of vehicles leak or burn oil, especially if they aren’t brand new anymore. Teach your child how to check the oil level using a rag to clean the dipstick first. Caution them not to overfill the oil and to have it changed at a professional auto shop, such as Speedy Apollo Auto Service Centres or another nearby shop.
How to Change the Light Bulbs and Headlamps
This will require some effort and, usually, consulting of the owner’s manual for your car, but it’s definitely worth it. Trying to fumble around with no dome light or drive with only one headlight is not fun or safe. Show your child how to replace each and every bulb in the car. For halogen headlamps, remember not to touch the bulbs with your bare hands or they will burn out quickly from the oils on your skin.
Teaching a child car maintenance tips is every bit as important as teaching them to drive. Ideally, your children will know how to operate their vehicle safely and keep it in good condition by performing routine maintenance on their own.
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