Automotive Maintenance For Teens

With the fall comes a whole new crop of young drivers. Some are just getting their learners permit, others have managed to acquire their first drivers license. Many will be taking drivers ed at school to help them learn all the legal and safety aspects of responsible driving. Some of our young drivers will be getting their first cars, even if they are older models of a Honda or Toyota. Whatever the case, it is a very exciting time for our young drivers when they can finally put car keys and fobs in their backpacks, and cruise around town with their friends, and drive to school and work. Just about the last thing on their minds is that the car they are so joyfully in control of needs maintenance to avoid repair issues and other problems.

Many young drivers don’t know — or even care — how a car works, or that it needs regular maintenance to continue working. Things like tire pressure and fluid levels simply don’t enter their thoughts, what with so many other vital ideas running around in their minds.

Some young people will know that a car needs maintenance, but have no clue what that maintenance is. Others will actually have the knowledge to maintain a car, and keep it in good shape, avoiding an embarrassing trip to to the local auto shop because they let the radiator run dry, or tried to drive home on a flat tire.

At Fort Collins Foreign Car Service, we want our new drivers to know the basics of car care, as well as have a basic understanding on how the vehicle functions and operates. They are probably enamored with the whole status upgrade to their lives with being able to drive, and want to push their car a little hard, and probably neglect some basic maintenance needs, simply because they are not aware that a car requires attention and servicing to remain healthy and functional.

Car CC Photo Courtesy of William Creswell

Way back in the day, cars did not operate as efficiently and generally trouble free as they do today. Drivers, no matter their age, of 50 years ago knew they had to constantly maintain their cars to keep them functional. Since contemporary cars run so much more efficiently, new drivers will be rather oblivious to some simple care procedures they need to undertake to keep their vehicle well maintained. Yes, driving is seriously a blast, very cool, and incredible fun. However, being aware of what’s under the hood, and what needs to be done about the machinery and mechanical components of the car will insure new drivers stay on the road, and can avoid some unnecessary down time while their car is being serviced by a Fort Collins automotive provider.

Show your young driver whats under the hood. There are numerous fluids, and these have to be full and clean to keep the car running. Start with coolant. The levels need to be maintained and checked regularly. Next, show them how to check motor oil levels. Be sure and let them know to do this when the engine is cold to get an accurate reading. Follow up with brake fluid, wiper fluid, transmission fluid and all other lubricants the car needs to run. If you don’t understand the actual mechanics of how the car operates, look at some videos online that explain basic automotive operation and functions. Knowledge is power here. With this information, your young driver won’t be so apt to freak out if the car acts up, and will have some idea of what could be causing a problem. A little knowledge concerning how to proceed taking car of the mechanics of their first car gives young people quite an ego boost and builds a lot of confidence. If your young driver still has questions concerning auto maintenance, have them bring their car to Fort Collins Foreign Car service, or any other local auto shop, for advice from the pro’s on how to care for their vehicle.

Give them some basic safety tips, such as never opening the radiator cap if the car is running or overheating, and using their seat belts, as well as not texting or talking on the phone while driving.

Texting, web surfing, and talking on the phone are very bad habits that distract drivers and lead to needless accidents. In Colorado, If you are under 18 years old or driving with a learner’s permit, it is illegal for you to use a cell phone while driving. And, it is illegal for drivers of all ages to text while behind the wheel in Colorado. During certain emergencies, Colorado law allows the use of cell phones while operating a vehicle. You may use a wireless telephone on the road in the following situations:

  • You have reason to fear for your life or safety.
  • You witness a criminal act or believe one may occur.
  • To report a fire, traffic accident, road hazards, and medical or hazardous materials.
  • Cell-phone use is also permitted in designated parking areas or the shoulder lane.

The basics of understanding how the car operates, and what is required to maintain it, will keep our young drivers more safely and securely behind the wheel as the joyfully undergo the ritual of finally being able to legally drive.