September Means Back to School Driving
7 Car Maintenance Signs Your Teen Needs to Know for a Better, Safer Car
SIGN #1 – Car Alignment
There are many things that can cause car misalignment. One of these causes is constantly hitting potholes. We all hit them, but if your teen just got access to a car and the car was perfect beforehand, then he/she might need to be told about avoiding potholes.
There are also alignment issues from hitting curbs. There aren’t many reasons why your teen should be hitting the curb. Perhaps your teen is in need of some more parking lessons.
Speed bumps/Railroad Tracks.
Another cause of misalignment is going over speed bumps and railroad tracks too fast. Even after many years of being on the road, adults also tend to forget there’s a speed bump until it’s too late to slow down. You might let that one slip a little except driving too fast is dangerous. Your teen can lose complete control of the car. This car maintenance sign might save your teen’s car, but most importantly, your teen’s life.
SIGN #2 – Tires
Wear and Tear.
Another sign often seen in teen cars due to lack of car maintenance is over worn tires. Going too fast on the road and then having to brake will cause a lot of damage to the front tires.
Tires should have enough air pressure. If you teen isn’t checking his/her tires’ air, then it’s likely he/she isn’t checking other less obvious areas that need car maintenance. An overinflated tire can pop on the road if the temperature is too high. One way to check for an overinflated tire is by checking if the wear is across the center of the tread. An under-inflated tire will wear on both outer edges of the tire.
SIGN #3 – Fluids
Check the engine oil. Black oil tends to indicate bad maintenance.
Yet another sign is the coolant levels. If they are below the necessary level, then your teen may need to learn this car maintenance tip. The car can easily overheat without enough antifreeze and/or water.
(FYI #1: Brake fluid is one of the most important fluids in the car. You need it for safe driving. Therefore, it’s better to have a professional car center change it for you. Of course, we can do this for you at Mark’s Auto Service).
SIGN #4 – Air Filter
Staining on the air filter can be an indication of engine wear.
(FYI #2: Changing the air filter will improve gas mileage.)
SIGN #5 – Brakes
Squeaking brakes can also indicate bad car maintenance. Brake pads are made with a warning tab, which measures how much surface you have left on your brake pad. When it produces a squeal it means it’s become worn. Ask your teen how long the squeaking has been going on. If it’s been a while and he/she hasn’t mentioned it, then he/she most likely hasn’t mentioned other car maintenance issues, or may not know about them.
Pedal Pulsing or Thumping.
A pulsating brake pedal, which may be accompanied by a shuddering or jerky stop during normal braking, usually means a warped rotor or an out-of-round drum — although it can sometimes be caused by loose wheel bearings, a bent axle shaft or loose brake parts. If the vehicle is equipped with ABS, however, some pedal feedback and noise is normal during panic stops or when braking on wet or slick surfaces. But you should not experience any ABS pedal feedback when braking normally on dry pavement.
SIGN #6 – Battery
Check if the battery light is on. Always an indication of a problem
You can also check the voltage meter. This should be located near the temperature dial. The volt reading should be on or around 14 volts when the car is on. When the car is off, the volt reading should be on or around 12. Anything significantly off indicates a battery problem. A bad battery might be caused by leaving the car lights or radio on too long without restarting the car. A common issue among teens.
SIGN #7 – Engine Noises
Any noise is a bad noise when it comes from a car. It can indicate many bad car maintenance issues, especially if it’s coming from the engine. If your teen’s car engine is making a noise it could be caused by revving the engine too hard.
If you hear noises when accelerating, it could be due to engine overheating from not refilling the coolant fluids.
Deep rapping or knocking sounds coming from the engine could mean a neglected oil change.
As parents, we know teen car maintenance is a serious matter. It can be lifesaving to our kids and everyone else on the road. Make sure you student drivers are prepared for Back to School Driving.