Setting teens up for success by teaching them some common car repairs and safety precautions will help ensure young and inexperienced drivers stay safe on the roadways.
Parenting teenagers comes with its own unique set of challenges as young adults struggle to establish their identity and gain some independence. Teens are doing their best to manage expectations during the pandemic. They are coping with remote school, isolation and canceled sporting events. Despite this unique year, one of the biggest milestones for any teen is still getting their driver’s license.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hosted National Teen Driver Safety Week the week of October 18 this year. Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel, NHTSA reports. As a result, they are encouraging parents this week to discuss the importance of driving safely with their impressionable young drivers. They are also reminding parents not to hand over the car keys until their teen knows the rules of the road.
Sadly, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence, the NHTSA reports. Six out of 10 teen crashes involve distracted driving, such as chatting with passengers, using a cell phone or simply finding a new song on the radio, the American Automobile Association reports. Keeping the lines of communication open between parents and teens will help improve their driving and keep them safe. Teens also need to take responsibility for their new privilege by learning common car repairs and precautions as they venture out on the roadways.
Local experts from Mr. Transmission and Milex Complete Auto Care are recommending important routine maintenance schedules, as well as do-it-yourself tricks all inexperienced teen drivers should know. Here are some simple car maintenance tips for young drivers:
Battery. Car batteries can deteriorate quickly and without much warning. Most batteries have a lifespan of 4–5-years. Having the battery checked or replaced in advance is much better than having the car refuse to start when you are heading out with friends.
Engine Fluids. It is important to check each of the car’s vital engine fluids, such as transmission, coolants, braking and steering, on a regular basis. Regular oil changes are considered the single most important thing anyone can do to maintain the life of their vehicle, according to Consumer Reports. Failing to change the oil on a regular basis can shorten the life of your engine.
Windshield Wipers. Wipers should be replaced every 6–12 months, or if they start to crack or rip. New wipers are inexpensive and easily changed by the car owner.
Tires. Car owners should monitor the proper air pressure and amount of tread on each tire and have them properly aligned and balanced. The air in the tires expands when the weather gets hotter, so owners will want to make sure tires are not over-inflated. A simple way for young drivers to check the proper tread is through the Abe Lincoln test. Insert a penny into the tire tread. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered, you’re good to go.
Keep You and Your Car Germ-Free
In addition to regular maintenance, teens need to take new precautions with their vehicles following the outbreak of COVID-19. Use a sanitizing wipe or alcohol to clean the most commonly touched areas inside your vehicle, including the steering wheel, door handles, seat belts and keys. Don’t forget to clean the seat adjustments, Autotrader advises.
Soap and water will work, but make sure not to use bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Both will kill germs, but they can damage the vinyl and plastics inside your cars. Another pro tip is to make sure to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it every time you enter the car to help stem the spread of germs. This is an especially important practice after touching a pump handle and buttons at a gas station.
Taking simple steps to help your teen stay safe on the road and teach them responsibility for their car will give your teen the tools they need to navigate the highway and life.
If you have any other maintenance questions about your car, make sure you visit the experts at your local Milex Complete Auto Care location.