A few weeks ago I got a call from a friend’s daughter who had just received her drivers license. Her mom had given her permission to drive to my house about ten miles away. On route Tiffany called to say she was going to be late as she stopped to help two nuns with a flat tire. I asked if she needed help and she said she was ok.
Thirty minutes later Tiffany drove up to my house. After telling her I was proud of her for helping someone, Tiffany proceeded to show me her drivers’ license gift from her parents. Her parents had given Tiffany a bag filled with supplies to take care of herself when driving.
In a canvas zip tote bag from LL Bean, there was a can of tire sealant, a tire inflator pump, flashlight with batteries, hand wipes, tire pressure gauge, work gloves, and jumper cables.
I laughed when I saw the bag and remembered back to the day I got my license. My Dad had taken me outside and told me I could drive the family car. But– only if I could change the tire and show him how to jumpstart the car.
All parents need to make sure their teens can handle minor car problems while driving. Now whether your teen is male or female there are some basics they should know before they ever leave the driveway with your car.
The basics include how to check for oil, water, change a tire, and jumpstart a car. With the basic knowledge and some easy to use tools they will be able to take care of most situations on the road.
Every teen needs to practice changing a tire, even if they never have to do it again. If you’ve never changed a tire yourself, take a look at these You Tube videos. Or you and your teen can watch the videos together.
There used to be only one option for a flat tire. Get the spare out, jack up the car and change the tire. Today there are several choices for your teen.
· They can change the tire.
· Call road service for help
· Call home for help
· Add a tire sealant to the tire and drive to a repair shop
· Use a tire inflator to re-inflate the tire
Tire sealants are quick easy ways to repair a flat tire. The can or bottle is attached to the air valve and the sealant goes into the tire. The sealant fibers cover the hole and keep the air inside the tire.
The downside of tire sealants?
They tend not to work well in temperatures below freezing. Tire mechanics don’t like sealants, as they are messy to deal with when repairing tire punctures. Sealants don’t work when the sidewall is ripped or punctured, when the air valve breaks or when the tire has separated from the tire rim.
Positives of tire sealants?
Sealants are easy to use. Using a sealant is fast and gets the teen or anyone off the side of the road quickly. The cost is under $10 either online or in most stores. You don’t need the physical strength required for changing tires.
Jumpstarting Your Car
It happens to us all at some point in time. We forget to turn off the headlights, leave the radio on low or leave a door ajar. Whatever the reason our car battery runs down and the car won’t start.
The options are calling a road service to jump-start the car or getting the car jumpstarted by a friend or passerby. It’s much easier to ask someone to help if you have your own set of jumper cables in the trunk. Here’s a YouTube video, which covers how to jumpstart your car and some other tips for car care.
Important things to remember?
Don’t cross your wires. Positive or red cable goes to the positive terminal on both vehicles. The negative or black cable goes to the negative terminal on the helping or car with live battery. The other negative cable goes to the engine block on the car with the dead battery. Turn off all electric devices like radio, CD player etc. Electronics don’t like jumps in electrical power like what happens with a jumpstart. Thank the person who helped you.
As a parent you want your teen to be safe when driving. Making sure your teen knows a few basic car care skills will help when the car breaks down.