Generally speaking, teenagers think that a car needs two things: Gasoline and a key. With those in place, the car is expected to take them anywhere they want to go with no interruptions. Of course, adults know that is not the case at all. When you have a teen driver in the family, you need to teach him or her the basics of vehicle maintenance to keep the car safely running. Be sure to address these issues.

General Performance

Many young drivers think that the car is doing just fine if it starts, drives, and stops. They may hear abnormal sounds, but they often ignore them or use the radio to drown them out. Impress upon your young driver that anything other than the expected sounds and smells should be addressed, as should issues with handling or brakes. Explain that taking the vehicle to auto shops, such as Renault servicing, is important to prevent expensive problems. Help them follow an appropriate preventive maintenance schedule.

Fluid Levels

Beyond general performance, teach them about specifics. Make sure they understand how important it is to check the levels of oil, coolant, and transmission fluid. When you were a new driver, you were probably taught to check your oil every time you filled up. With modern cars, however, you really only need to check it once a month. Teach your young driver to be alert for any leaks of these essential components, and what to do if they detect any fluid loss.

Tire Rotation

Proper rotation extends the life of tires and improves their performance. It also creates better traction. Explain to your teen driver what happens if tires aren’t rotated on schedule; it’s easy to find pictures online that will give them an idea of what unbalanced wear looks like. Have them keep a log of all service work so that they stay on track. There are even apps that help you track your vehicle maintenance, which your teenager will undoubtedly appreciate.

Radiator Service

A final important issue in car maintenance is monitoring the radiator. On top of checking coolant levels, as already mentioned, your teen driver also needs to know about the cold tolerance of his or her car. Show them how to use an antifreeze tester to determine to what temperature the car is protected. Explain why proper coolant system function is essential for the vehicle’s long-term health.

Most adult drivers have learned a hard lesson or two about their cars. Once you have a teen driver in your own home, it’s important to educate him or her right away on the things that you never knew (or never paid attention to) so that they can avoid costly breakdowns that can take them off the road for days. While your newly-licensed teen may not have the patience for your thorough instruction, it’s still essential to go over these strategies with him or her. It will help your child develop good habits that will benefit him or her for decades to come.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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