One of the scariest things a teenager can do is wave at you as they’re heading down the driveway because this means they are off into the world on their own. And while parents go out of their way to teach their children about the world, many may neglect to educate them on the basics of car maintenance so that the vehicle they’re taking off in is as safe as can be. Here are a few preventative maintenance tips that you can share with your child. The first bit of advice is to have them know about the maintenance schedule in their owner’s manual. This list of routine maintenance involves everything from oil changes to air filters and transmission flushes to tire rotation. Knowing when to have these completed will ensure that the car runs smoothly and efficiently. When it’s due for service, head over to our Plymouth, MI shop for honest and reliable customer service. There’s a lot on a dashboard for a driver to take in but it’s imperative to pay attention to the warning lights that come on because these signal that there might be an issue. Not everything is decipherable just by its glowing icon so if they aren’t sure what it means then they should look in the owner’s manual under the dashboard section. The check engine light is especially important because continuing to drive the vehicle when it’s on could cause considerable damage. Tell your teen that if it’s blinking they should pull over immediately and contact you for assistance, or contact a company to tow their vehicle to a mechanic. If the check engine light comes on and stays illuminated then it’s probably okay to continue driving – just take it into a mechanic as soon as possible. The four tires that the car rests on are extremely critical to maintain. Tires should be properly inflated to ensure they’re getting the best performance and energy efficiency out of the vehicle. There’s also a series of dangers to both an underinflated and overinflated tire. If your car has an automatic sensor, it can tell you the tire pressure (although the sensors should be reset when you get your tires rotated). It’s worth spending a couple bucks on a manual pressure gauge which will help your teen know the pressure when they’re filling the tire up. In regards to tires, make sure your teen knows that temperature greatly alters the tire pressure. For instance, on a cold morning the tire pressure may be at 31 psi but after cruising for a while, due to friction, it will increase. Tell them to make sure that the car doesn’t run low on gas. Duh, right? Having your car run dangerously low on gas can put more strain on the engine which, in the long term, may lead to costly repairs. You also don’t want them stuck on the side of the road so a good idea is to fill up when it reaches the quarter-tank level. Also, make sure they know not to go cheap and that they should fill the car up with the proper octane. Using a lower grade to save some change can cost real dollars in the future. Knowing that your teen is equipped with some of these tips may make you feel a little more at ease with them driving off. Remember, if they’re in the Plymouth, MI area and they’re in need of repairs or maintenance, have them bring their car in to our certified mechanics.
February 2, 2016