Teen Car Maintenance: Tips for Parents

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So you have a licensed driver! First, (in my best pep talk voice-firm yet confident) you can do this! Learning how to drive is the first step. Now it’s time to maintain – an equally important task! With a little guidance about maintaining their car, your teen will be equipped to stay safe and responsible.

The Manual

Show them where it is. (Ideally in the glove compartment.) Have your child flip through the book just for good measure. If you really want to nerd it up, put colorful tabs in specific sections for quick reference. Also, just for fun, put an atlas in the glove compartment too. “What is this paper thing with a compass and squiggly lines?” “It’s a map, honey.” #mindblown

The Oil

This may be the most important thing to show your teen. Teach them to pay attention to the mileage, when the car is due for an oil change and how to check the oil. If the car runs out of oil, the engine can seize, causing permanent failure. And a new engine. That’s very bad. Tell them that. No oil. No car. For a quick top off, have them refer to the manual for the weight of oil before they purchase. Recommended brand? Kendall Motor Oil for a consistently well-reviewed and smooth experience.

The Tires

Pay attention to any tire pressure alerts. Teach them how to use a tire gauge and fill the tires correctly. This can seem intimidating but don’t understate how important this is. Under-inflated tires are a common cause of accidents yet entirely preventable.  

The Wipers

Wiper blades dull and need to be changed periodically. Visibility is a safety factor so make sure you communicate the importance of good wiper blades. Which brings me to my next point.

The Fluids

Show your teen how to top the fluids off. (Oil, windshield washer fluid, coolant…) Calmly explain to them that these are things that may not be able to wait until the next oil change.

Change the Tire

Roadside assistance isn’t always readily available if at all, depending on your insurance. Sometimes, you just have to roll up your sleeves and fix that bad boy yourself. That day is today. Also, make sure there is a properly inflated spare and the tools needed to change it.


You’ve worked so hard and I’m proud of you. Helping teens navigate driving life is not easy. You’re going to rock this like a bag of gravel.

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