Does your teen's automotive know-how begin and end with pumping gas? You can boost their skills, confidence and safety when you teach them these six basics for taking care of a car.
Fluid levels. Check and, if needed, top off oil, transmission, brake, power steering, radiator and windshield-washer fluids.
Tires. Check tread (at least 2/32 of an inch) and pressure (specifications are usually in the door frame or owner's manual). Over-inflation leads to skidding in wet conditions; under-inflation causes sloppy handling and premature wear. Don't forget the spare tire!
Wipers. Inspect them for cracks and separation. Wiper blades should be soft and pliable, and they should be replaced every year.
Lights. Test all turn signals, brake lights and headlights, and replace burned-out bulbs if needed. Check headlights' alignment to make sure they don't blind oncoming drivers.
Battery. Carefully remove corrosion around battery posts to help ensure top performance.
Hoses and belts. Check for proper fit, and replace anything with signs of blistering, fraying or splitting. Summer heat speeds rubber breakdown.