Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Essential Life Skills: Car Care

teaching car care to your students

Many teenagers count down the days until they can drive.

Whether they drive the family car or their own car, they need to know how to maintain and care for the car.  

Car care and maintenance should, ideally, be part of your driver education program.  If it wasn’t, be sure to teach your child the essentials before they head out on their own.

Before a car can be driven, it must have three things:
    an inspection
    current tags
    insurance

Let your student go with you the next time you get the car inspected and get the tags renewed.

For required insurance, have the student use the internet or  call three different agencies and get quotes.  If your student is not required to pay their own insurance, that will be an eye opening experience.

A driver should also know basic car maintenance.

1.  Check fluids - oil, power steering, anit-freeze- and know what to do if the fluids are low.
    As a bonus, a student could be taught how to change the oil and filter in a vehicle.
    My husband taught all my children how to change the oil.

2.  Change a tire  
All drivers should not only know how to change a tire, but how to check the tire pressure and add air as needed. A tire changing lesson should include the student pulling out the car jack and actually taking the tire off and putting it back on.

3.  Jump start a battery
    This is easier if you carry jumper cables as part of an emergency kit in your car so that
    you (or your student) don’t have to find someone with jumper cables.
    Teach drivers where the cables go and how to use them.

4.  Pay attention to warning lights
    Drivers should be taught to notice the warning lights in the dashboard and know what
    to do if one comes on.  We recently realized our negligence of this skill when one son
    didn’t realize the car had overheated and he continued to his destination.  Yep, that
    ‘86 Toyota is gone.

One day your student may choose to pay someone to do many of these jobs, but until then, they need to know how to do them themselves.
There are many car repair jobs that students can learn to do by following a repair manual or looking up online how to do the job.  My oldest daughter does many of her own car repairs.

Car care and maintenance is best learned by doing.

Don’t neglect to teach your child these important life skills.

Trust me.  Do it.

Other posts in this series: Clothing Care, Money Management, Cooking
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