Three Important Maintenance Tips For Teen Drivers

Posted on: 24 June 2018

As complicated as cars are, taking care of them on a basic level doesn't require a mechanic's knowledge, a big budget, or years of driving skill. The best way to take care of your car is to learn the fundamentals of everyday operation for the type of vehicle you own, and to know what tools are available for you when you need help. This can help save you money on routine maintenance and help your car last longer.

Learn Your Vehicle's Requirements

Some general tips -- like when to change your oil and tires -- are helpful, but it's even better to know what you need specifically for your type of vehicle. If you drive a large truck, the requirements for your tires will be a lot different than a small sedan's requirements in everything from tread size to how much mileage you can expect per tire. Here are some things to note.

  • When you should get your oil changed. This can be affected by everything from how old your car is, what kind of oil it requires, and what weather conditions you typically drive in. The good news is that oil changes are inexpensive, so playing it safe won't cost you, but getting a ballpark figure is a good idea to keep track of maintenance.
  • What size tires you need, how much mileage they're supposed to give you, and their recommended PSI. This is also a good time to find out about warranties and insurance on your tires; depending on where they were purchased, some minor repairs like removing nails and fixing leaks are discounted or even free. Your PSI can be found in your manual or in the frame of the driver side door. If you're ever in trouble and need to put air in your tires, most gas stations have air compressors you can use yourself for a small fee.
  • What kind of fuel you need. Different engines serve different purposes and will require different types of fuel. Check your manual to be certain; putting in the wrong type of fuel can severely damage your engine.

Learn What's Under The Hood

Taking a few minutes to learn about the different parts under your vehicle's hood can save you plenty of money on repairs and keep you up to date on your car's status. For example, this is where you can add more coolant to your vehicle, check your oil, add more wiper or brake fluid, and see if your engine belts are starting to show signs of wear. You don't have to know how to do any detailed work yourself, but make it a point to learn how the basics work, and how to spot problems. Make it a point to check under your hood at least once a month. You'll become more familiar with your engine, and spot any potential problems early.

Have Emergency Plans

Every driver will at some point have their first flat tire, breakdown, or accident. It's helpful to know what to do in these situations to avoid panicking or causing further damage, especially if you're in an unfamiliar area. Here are a few ways to prepare.

  • Know what paperwork you need to provide in the event you're pulled over or are in an accident. This can vary by state, but will usually include basics like your registration and proof of insurance; know what it looks like, where it is, and how to check if it's all up to date.
  • Know what to do if your car breaks down. If you're on a busy street or freeway and can't pull over, this can seem scary, but all you need to do is stay in your car, flip on your hazard lights, and call the police. If you're somewhere less urgent you can simply call for roadside assistance. Keep a list of phone numbers for various services in your car for situations like these. If you have a roadside assistance service like AAA, make sure this list includes their number and your account information.
  • Know how to jump your car if the battery dies. To do this, you only need a set of jumper cables and another running car or portable jumper, but it's important to know how every step of the process works and that you have the necessary cables to do a jump if need be.

To learn more, visit Car And Truck Services Inc.