As a busy mom, you probably spend quite a bit of time in your car chauffeuring your kids to and from school, playdates and a variety of extracurricular activities.
Despite your extensive to-do lists, you strive to bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance and try to have at least a basic understanding of car repairs. After all, you trust this car to tote around your most precious possessions and want to be sure it’s in good working order.
Lately, however, you’ve felt like you should teach your kids some general car maintenance lessons. You want them to appreciate what it takes to keep their own personal limo road ready, and you want them to be able to handle whatever life — and bad roads — can throw their way.
Fortunately, it can be easy and enjoyable to teach your kids the basics of car maintenance, so check out the following tips:
Managing Worn Tire Treads
While your kids likely understand tires need air to function properly, they might not have a grasp of regular tire care. That’s okay — all you need is a few minutes and a handful of quarters to teach your kids one of the most important lessons about tires: how to check the treads.
Feeling a bit in the dark? Then refresh your memory by visiting sites like TireBuyer.com, which, in addition to selling a wide selection of tires, also features educational content on how to check treads and perform other tire maintenance. Take your kids out to your car and hand each one a quarter.
Then explain to them that just as old shoes with slippery soles can cause them to slip and fall, tires that have lost their tread — and subsequently have become rather smooth — could cause your car to lose traction and overall control on the road. To check for tire wear, ask your young ones to stick a quarter upside down in the treads of each tire to see if they can spot the top of George Washington’s head.
If the tread covers the former president’s head, assure them the tires still have plenty of tread. But if anyone can spot the top of his noggin, tell them the treads, or “soles,” are too bald and no longer safe and must be replaced.
Changing a Flat Tire
This is one of those important life lessons that’s important for you to learn, too. Basically, everyone who drives should know how to change a flat tire. With that in mind, teach your kids that if they ever experience a flat tire, they should pull over to a safe spot before attempting to change it.
Then, show them where the lug wrench and jack are stored in your car; you can refer them to the owner’s manual for a reminder, as well as tips on where to place the jack underneath the car. Have them practice unscrewing the lug nuts, remove the “flat” tire, and then put the spare on before screwing the lug nuts back in place.
As each child take their turn, try it as well, so that you’re also confident in your ability to handle this situation.
Checking and Changing the Oil
Tweens and teens should also learn how to check their fluid levels, including the actual motor oil, in their car. If your kid is a fan of YouTube — and most are these days — sit down and watch some videos about changing the oil and watch them together.
From there, you’ll want to head to your car to practice. Show your child where the dipstick is located and how to remove it, as well as how to wipe it off and then reinsert it before checking the oil level.
Car Maintenance: You’re Never Too Young to Start Learning
The sooner you teach your kids some basic car care tips, the better off they will be. Ultimately, they will come to appreciate your vehicle as more than a magical carpet to take them places and, instead, will enter their teen driving years with some solid safety skills. Plus, you’ll get to spend time with them while going over the tips, which is always a nice bonus.