Teens and Auto Maintenance
Teens have to learn how to drive in order to get their license and get on the road, so you would think that learning how to properly take care of their care would be something that they would learn at about the same time. But the truth is, it’s rare that teens get a class on how to take care of their car, like they do with learning how to drive. With the exception of kids that grew up around an auto shop, or who had mechanics for parents, most teens are completely clueless about how to properly take care of their car.
We had a customer bring in a vehicle one time that hadn’t had an oil change in who knows when. The vehicle was a daily driver for a college student, and her father initially brought it in. When our technicians started to change the oil, there wasn’t much oil, but there was a thick sludge- the bi-product of not getting a regular oil change in forever. It was pretty remarkable that the vehicle hadn’t broken down already or suffered any other lasting damage. The student wasn’t willfully neglecting to get an oil change, she just genuinely did not know that it was something that needed to be done regularly.
So what can you do to teach your young driver about how to take care of their car?
- Set a good example. Make sure your oil is changed regularly, and that you meet all recommended manufacturer maintenance schedules. The next time you take your car in for maintenance, take your teen with you to see how the process works.
- Help them remember. During the first couple of months, you might need to help your young driver remember that they need to take their car in for maintenance. Driving is a big life step for teens, so they’ll likely be pre-occupied with their new abilities before thinking about all the responsibility that a car actually entails. Try checking up on them by asking them when their next oil change is, or what’s next for their car’s overall maintenance.
- Teach them responsibility. If not taught the responsibility of being a car owner, driving is just another freedom and fun thing to do for a teen. Young drivers need to be taught that driving is more about just going places and having their own ride, and that they have a responsibility to make smart choices and save money by keeping their vehicle in good condition.
Driving and car ownership aren’t really natural for people, so your child won’t know how to do these things unless you show them how. To raise a safe driver, good car-owner and responsible adult, make sure you teach your teen about the basics of good auto care and maintenance before something goes wrong.