Car Care for New Drivers
“Most young people can’t wait to drive, but their car care education should begin well before their parents hand over the keys,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Understanding the basics of car care before taking the wheel will help keep new drivers safer on the road.”
The experts with the Car Care Council offer these 10 car care inspection procedures so young drivers can better understand the importance of maintenance, enhancing the longevity and performance of their vehicle.
- Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and coolant.
- Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
- Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
- Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
- Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
- Schedule required maintenance to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
- Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
- Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
- Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.
Helpful resources at every turn
Beyond basic maintenance, there are various resources available for young drivers to keep their vehicle in tip-top shape.
- The Car Care Guide is a free, easy-to-understand booklet that includes descriptions of major vehicle systems, questions to ask a professional technician and a vehicle systems checklist.
- An online custom service schedule and e-mail reminder service can help young people be more responsible and remember to include car care in their busy schedules. This easy-to-use resource is free of charge and can be personalized to help make auto care more convenient and economical.
- Also, a general service schedule can be printed and followed. New drivers should be sure to consult their vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations by the carmaker.
For these resources and more, visit www.carcare.org.