Did you just buy a car? Then you need to know how to look after your car. Here’s a car care guide for teens!
by Troop Atomic Mommy
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When it comes to your car you need to ensure you are looking after it in the best way possible as it is a huge investment. It is not even an investment that is going to make you money in the future unless, of course, you own a vintage or rare car. But it is your only form of transportation, so taking care of it needs to be your top priority.
To help you on your car maintenance journey, we’ve put together an easy guide full of tips to care for your car. Let’s dive in so you can keep your car running smoothly for a long time!
Check Your Tires Before Every Drive
Before you head out on the road with your car it is essential to check your tires. The first thing you’ll need to check for is whether the tread is in good condition or worn down. A great way to know this is if the design on the tire looks like it’s gone. The next thing you need to do is check the air pressure in all the tires. You can do this by visiting a local gas station’s air pump or by purchasing a tire air pressure gauge. Our favorite is the digital gauge which you can check out on Amazon. Finally, you should also rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. This will help keep the balance of the tires fresh.
Refill Your Fluids
There are many fluids in a car that needs to be checked and maintained at the appropriate levels. These levels include power steering fluid, anti-freeze, oil, windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Let’s go over why each is important to keep full and/or change out.
- Motor Oil – Your engine needs oil to run smoothly and well. Without it, the engine could stop working properly, wreaking havoc on all the parts within it. Your oil needs to be changed out every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, and depends on the type of oil you use. If you use regular motor oil, aim to change this at the 3,000 mile mark. If you use full synthetic oil, aim to to change the oil closer to 5,000 miles.
- Anti-Freeze – A mixture of coolant and water, your radiator needs this fluid and without it, can cause your car to overheat while driving, or in colder months, cause your engine to freeze. This is why you need to always make sure your levels checked and refilled.
- Power Steering – This is exactly what it sounds like. This type of fluid helps you turn the steering wheel easily. Without this fluid, you will feel like you’re driving an old car from the 1930’s, which felt like pushing a stalled car around a turn.
- Windshield Washer Fluid – Bird poop, tree sap, dirt, algae, bug guts, are all things that stick to windshields. The longer it goes without being cleaned, the harder it gets to get it all off. Windshield washer fluid ensures that your main view point to the road is pristine so you can drive easily without causing an accident.
- Transmission Fluid – This fluid helps you shift gears, 1st gear to 3rd, as easily as possible. This fluid is important for both manual and automatic transmissions, and should also be checked every 3 months.
- Brake Fluid – When you brake fluid is low, you will find that your brakes do not work as sharply as when you first got your car. You need to avoid this so that, in the case of needing to stop short, your brakes won’t fail you.
Replace Your Air Filter
With every oil change, you should opt to change your air filter. There are several reasons to do this, the main one being that the air blowing from your AC and heat will smell clean rather than putrid. Another important reason to do this is because it helps your exhaust system and engine run very smooth.
Check Your Battery’s Life
An aspect that most car owners forget to do, it is in fact one of the most important parts of your car. Every car comes equipped with a battery, and regardless of whether the car is new or used, your battery’s life still needs to be checked by a professional. The reason for this is because even if the car is new, the battery within it could be low on power or even defective. So it’s always a smart idea to have your battery’s life tested. As well as the connectors that connect the battery to your engine. Sometimes the battery’s acid can leak onto them, causing the acid to burn through the cable connectors, cable, and even other parts under the hood. So also check your battery for leaks, but always wear acid-proof gloves so you don’t burn your skin.
Check Your Windshields and Mirrors
When you own a car, it is important that you keep the glass free from too much dirt as this can limit your view while driving, and even cause an accident. Another thing to check is for cracks or chips in all the glass. If you do find a chip, it is best to take it to a professional who can tell you whether it is safe to continue driving or if it needs replacement. The faster you take your car to your nearest auto glass shop, the likelier you are to avoid an accident. Don’t forget, a simple car wash can help you figure out if your windshield and mirrors are need of repair.
Store It Correctly
Finally, where do you keep your car when it is not in use? Where you keep it could cause your insurance premiums to rise or fall. If you keep your car on the road when it isn’t being used then there is more chance of something happening to it. If you keep it locked away in a garage then you may be able to find discounts on your insurance each month. While your car will be much safer in your driveway or in a garage, it may not be feasible to have access to these options. Instead, you can opt to face an outdoor camera towards your car this way you have visual access and recordings of anything that happens to your vehicle.
Owning a car, driving a car, and maintaining a car, are huge responsibilities and as a new teen driver, you need to be prepared to know how to do all of these things. Using the tips above, plus any extra guidance from parents, will help you never to forget to take great care of your car. Remember, without your car, you’d be back on a bicycle or in the backseat of your mom’s van!