It’s that time of year when you might finally get to see your kids after a long semester at school. Now you’ve got them for a couple months, and hopefully are able to spend some quality time together. Ideally, they have returned home with themselves in acceptable condition. And if you’ve raised a great specimen, they might have even brought their car home in great shape, too! For everyone else, now might be a good time check in on what condition their car is in. Even if you taught your kids everything they should how, how many people do you know, children or otherwise, who can pick everything up the first time? Take the time to check in on their car with them, so they can return to school with their car in great shape, and know how to bring it back in great shape for their next visit.
Head out to the car with your son or daughter, and before you start the car, see if there are fluid leaks, and make sure the tires are in good shape. Then start it up and get out to see if there’s smoke coming from the tailpipe, or any vibration, ticking, or other signs you can hear from outside the vehicle. Open the hood while the engine is running to make sure nothing is leaking or otherwise potentially troublesome looking. Take a look at the console, and see if the check engine light or other warnings are lit up. Lastly, hop in the car to make sure the steering and brakes feel good, and also aren’t generating vibrations, sounds, and so forth. Take the car for a drive around the block, making sure to test sharp left and right turns. It’s also good a good idea to go to a freeway and make sure that everything works at higher speed, too.
There’s a very long list of things that warning signs can indicate, the important takeaway for your children is to start building the awareness to act on them. If they’re still an automotive novice, they’re not likely to retain much about what specific warning signs mean, so don’t overwhelm them. Instead, it’s important that they learn to not ignore them, and how to get help for them. After performing such an inspection, some of you might discover signs that are now leading to repair bills. This might help drive home the importance of keeping an eye out for their vehicle.
Finally, while learning to observe warning signs is important so that your children can be aware when something out of the ordinary is going on, it’s just as important to remind them that many automotive needs are entirely predictable. For automotive novices, you can start with tire replacement, checking and adding oil, and oil changes. Drive home that checking oil and changing it are different things, then open the hood and show them how to read the dipstick and add oil to the vehicle. Your vehicle’s oil change needs will be predictable based on make and model, and tires with worn treads are easy to diagnose, even for a novice. Building these habits early are one way you can prevent automotive headaches in the future.