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Getting your first car is something of a rite of passage — even if it’s a beater that probably shouldn’t be on the road anymore anyway. While kids get the driver’s ed classes necessary for getting their driver’s licenses, most of them don’t learn basic car maintenance. Although it’s one of the most valuable skills that a teen can learn, it isn’t taught in high school anymore. As a parent, though, you can take your teen’s automotive education into your own hands. Here’s why should you teach your new teenage driver to change their own oil.
It Will Save Them Money in the Long Run
Even if you don’t change your oil every 3,000 miles, you can still end up paying $30 or more two or three times a year for oil changes, or even more if you neglect to get your oil changed for an extended length of time.
If you teach your teen to change their own oil, they’ll save money on labor costs, and on oil and filters if they pick them up on sale at your local auto parts store. When you’re working your first job for minimum wage, anywhere you can save a little money is a blessing.
It Helps Them Learn to Take Care of the Environment
Oil spills are a nasty business. An oil spill in a natural area can devastate wildlife and damage ecosystems. That’s where we get all of those heartbreaking pictures of birds coated in oil, being cleaned by big-hearted volunteers with gallons and gallons of blue Dawn soap.
Teaching your teen to change their own oil is a great opportunity to talk about what goes into recycling oil and why properly disposing of your used motor oil is so important. Sure, the five or six quarts of oil isn’t going to hold a candle to the Exxon-Valdez or Deep Horizon spills, but the overall adverse effect is cumulative.
It Teaches Them About Their Car
How many people actually think about what makes their car tick? Most drivers don’t take the time to consider it until something breaks down. Even then, they only think about long enough to describe what is wrong to their local mechanic. Teaching your teen basic car maintenance helps make them learn about how their car works.
Preventative maintenance, even just regularly checking oil, tire pressure and other fluids, can help car owners spot small problems before they become big ones. Low oil, for example, could be indicative of a leak. Water in the oil could be a sign of a blown head gasket, which is a common problem with older cars, especially those whose haven’t had regular maintenance throughout their lifetime.
It Teaches Them Responsibility
Teaching teens to be responsible for their property can sometimes be like pulling teeth. It seems like they either come by it naturally or they never learn what it means to be responsible for their stuff. Making your teens accountable for the maintenance on their car helps to reinforce the fact that it is necessary for them to learn these types of things. They’re not going to be teens forever, and you won’t always be around to pull their butts out of the fire if they get in trouble.
It’s a Great Way To Spend Time With Them
If teaching your kids to be responsible is like pulling teeth, getting them to spend time with you once they hit those teenage years is akin to herding cats across a river. Teaching your teens how to take care of their car is a great way to spend time with them while showing them a skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
Your teen may never become a mechanic, but basic car maintenance should be a skill that everyone learns. It’s one skill that we believe should be taught in high school, though most haven’t even had shop classes in their curriculum for the past 10 years or so. Take the time to show them how to take care of their car and they’ll use that skill for the rest of their lives.