Car Maintenance and RepairsLong before our children were old enough to drive, life skills training for car maintenance and repairs began. Probably in part due to being the daughter and granddaughter of mechanics, I consider these essential life skills.
Our family home is also our farm, so a great deal of learning begins with farm equipment. But, even those in a more urban environment can benefit from these teachings.
We start early
In the elementary ages, children can learn to check for oil and gas in the push mower, and later in the riding mower. Spark plugs can be checked and changed, too. At this age, most children show an interest in how things work, offering an introduction to simple mechanics and maintenance.
By the time they are teens, our children graduate to riding mowers and tractors. We don’t consider this an age issue, but more of a readiness issue. Some are ready well before the teen years, while some may not be ready until late teen or beyond. Offering them exposure to watching and helping as you work with the machinery gives the opportunity to learn more quickly.
Begin with the basics
Yes, we are working toward car maintenance. Before we feel they are ready to begin learning to drive the family car, our children learn basic car maintenance. These skills include the following:
- filling the gas tank
- checking oil, transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid
- checking other fluids such as brake fluid, antifreeze/water
- cleaning the car, inside and out (this begins very early in life!)
- changing the oil and filter
- changing a tire
- checking tires for wear and deciding when to replace
- basic tune-up
- recognizing when the engine sounds normal and when there might be a problem with it
- changing light bulbs, fuses, etc
This seems like a long list….
While this might seem like more than the average car owner would do, our family believes that it’s better to know more than you need to know. As adults, they might choose to go to an oil change station, rather than changing it themselves. If they do, at least they know what they are paying for.
Unlike those raised off farms, our children have driving experience before they get their permit. They also have basic maintenance experience. And when they are ready to drive, we feel more confident in their ability to manage basic maintenance and even emergency situations on the road.
Ready to drive?
Of course, driving training needs to go beyond the maintenance. But if they know maintenance and basic repairs before beginning to drive on the road, they can more easily concentrate on gaining experience behind the wheel.