As a busy dad who chauffeurs his kids to different activities, you may feel as if your children think of your car as a way to get only from Point A to Point B. As adolescents, they likely don’t have a solid understanding of the many different responsibilities regarding car ownership and the cost to buy a new one.
Fortunately, it can be both easy and fun to teach your kids about cars — everything from maintenance tips to costs and more. To get started on these important lessons, check out the following tips:
Rotating and Replacing Tires
Depending on where you live, your car’s tires may not have a long shelf life. In order for tires to support your vehicle and get you where you need to go, they need to be well-maintained and eventually replaced. With that in mind, show your kids what tire treads look like and teach them the classic penny or quarter test that will help determine if the treads are getting too low.
Even your youngest kiddos can stick a penny into the treads to see if they can see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head; if they can, explain that your tires are wearing down and that it’s time to purchase new ones. You can even take your kids along to shop for new tires and/or sit down with them and check out the selection at online retailers like TireBuyer.com.
For example, browse from a slew of brands and choices, including the Nitto Terra Grapplers, and explain why you would, or would not, choose each one. In the case of the Nitro Terra Grappler G2, this tire is ideal for trucks and SUVs that spend time on both smooth and rugged roads. So, if this describes your driving habits, explain to your kids why this tire is ideal for your car.
Checking the Fluids
Kids tend to love hands-on activities. Plus, teaching them all about your car’s many fluid levels offers ample opportunity for them to roll their sleeves up and get busy. When the engine is cool, teach your kids how to safely unlock and lift the hood and secure it with the long arm. From there, point out the oil dipstick and have them take turns cleaning it off with a paper towel.
Additionally, you can show them how to check the end of the dipstick to see if there is enough oil in the car. If your motor oil appears to be low, let your kiddo assist you in adding more through a funnel.
Those aren’t the only important fluid levels, though. So make sure to show them how to gauge when their windshield wiper and power steering fluids need to be replaced.
Teaching Important Spending Lessons
If your child’s largest car-related purchase has been a set of Hot Wheels toy cars, they may be in for a case of sticker shock when learning about the price of a real car. With that in mind, visit the websites of some local car dealerships, which will show your kids the price tag of their favorite whips.
This way, they can get a better understanding of how much they would need to save to buy a new Ford Mustang or Bugatti Chiron. Then, use an online car calculator to get a solid estimate of their potential monthly car payment. You can even tell your kids your monthly car payment and the importance of always putting money aside to pay it off on time.
Sneaking in Some Safety Lessons
Of course, your kids can’t take advantage of the various safety features found in newer-model vehicles unless they’re familiar with them. Thus, if your car features front and side airbags, motion detection and a backup camera, then teach them how they work.
For example, place a bike off to the side of your vehicle and have your kiddos check the backup camera (while you’re inside the car) to see if they can spot it. Experts also suggest telling your kids to be aware of their surroundings, never make assumptions about other drivers and that the white tail-lights on other cars mean it’s about to back up.
Before You Know it, You’ll be Teaching Them to Drive
Teaching your kids about car maintenance and safety is a great way to spend time with them while getting across some important life lessons. So don’t be alarmed if you spot your kids with coins checking the treads or ask if they can go tire shopping with you, all of which means your teaching sessions are definitely having an impact.