By MIKE KEFALAS
It’s that time of the year again – Back to School season! As your teen gears up for a fresh school year filled with academics, sports, and social events, ensuring their safety on the road is paramount. Mike Kefalas, an automotive expert who operates JK Volvo in Pasadena, California, shares the most essential car maintenance tips for parents to make sure their teenager’s car is ready to hit the road in his article, “Back to School” Car Maintenance Tips for Your Teen’s Safety: Advice From an Automotive Expert.
1. Check the Brakes Regularly Brakes are the first line of defense in preventing accidents. Mike says, “Ensure the brake pads have ample thickness. If you hear squeaking or grinding, it might be time for a replacement.” It’s also a good practice to check the brake fluid for its level and quality.
2. Regular Oil Changes are Essential An engine running on clean oil will run smoother and more efficiently. “Sticking to a regular oil change schedule can prevent many costly issues down the road,” advises Kefalas.
3. Keep the Tires in Check Mike recommends checking tire pressure at least once a month. “Incorrect tire pressure can affect fuel efficiency, tire wear, and safety. Also, routinely inspect the tread. If it’s too worn out, it’s time for new tires.”
4. Inspect All Lights With the school year starting, your teen might be driving in the dark more often. Check all the lights – headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. “Replace any burned-out bulbs and clean foggy lenses for maximum visibility,” Mike adds.
5. Replace Windshield Wipers Mike says, “A clear windshield is crucial for safe driving. If the wipers leave streaks or miss spots, replace them. It’s a small expense that can make a huge difference in visibility during rain.”
6. Check the Battery Ensure the battery terminals are clean and free from corrosion. “A failing battery can leave your teen stranded. If the car struggles to start or the interior lights seem dim, it might be time for a new battery,” warns Kefalas.
7. Don’t Forget the Belts and Hoses Over time, belts and hoses can become worn or brittle. Mike suggests, “Inspect them periodically for signs of wear, and replace them as needed. A snapped belt can lead to a breakdown.”
8. Emergency Kit is a Must-Have Prepare an emergency kit for your teen’s car. This should include items like jumper cables, a flashlight, basic tools, first aid supplies, and non-perishable snacks. “It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared,” Mike remarks.
9. Schedule Regular Maintenance Apart from addressing immediate concerns, Mike emphasizes the importance of regular car check-ups. “A routine inspection by a trusted mechanic can identify potential issues before they become major problems.”
10. Educate Your Teen Last, but certainly not least, ensure your teen knows the basics of car maintenance. “Understanding the importance of upkeep and recognizing early signs of trouble empowers them to take proactive measures,” Kefalas advises.
As we usher in a new academic year, your teen’s safety should always be at the forefront. By following these maintenance tips from Mike Kefalas, you can ensure their vehicle remains in top shape, allowing you to worry a bit less when they’re out on the road.
For some tips on cleaning windshields and windows for best visibility, check out this story.
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