Beyond teaching your teen how to drive on the open road, they’ll need to know the 4-1-1 on how to change a flat tire. Of course, depending on your level of expertise and patience, that’s a little easier said than done. But you’re certainly not alone.
Almost half of all drivers â€” teens or otherwise â€” don’t know how to change a flat or balding tire, according to a study by Flexed. Additionally, 44 percent of teens aren’t familiar with the steps needed to check the tread on their tires, and 32 percent don’t know how to check their tire pressure.
Of course, while you want your teen to know they can call you in case of a car-related problem on the road, you also want them to be self-sufficient and know some of the ins and outs of routine maintenance. With that in mind, teach your teen driver the following tips before they put the key in the ignition:
How to Prevent Tire Problems
In order for your tires to have a longer shelf life and to prevent accidents, there are several easy ways you can maintain them in both the short and long term. The first and most obvious step is to buy high-quality tires. While your teen may be tempted to go the cheap route, explain to them that buying low-quality, inexpensive tires will likely mean having to replace them more frequently.
Additionally, your teen should know how to check their vehicle’s tire pressure, tire tread and wheel alignment. With this in mind, you may want to buy them a pressure gauge â€” these can be found at most gas stations and car parts stores â€” and show them how to use it. From there, have them check the sticker on the inside of their driver-side door to determine the optimum tire pressure levels.
Of course, keep in mind weather conditions and inflate your tires on the lower end of the inflation spectrum in the summer and on the higher end in the winter, respectively, to make up for the temperature difference. Next, show them how to check their tire treads for signs of dry rot, so they know when to replace these tires.
How to Change a Tire
The first thing you should teach your kids is to pull over to a safe spot, such as a parking lot, side street or the shoulder of the road or freeway. If they’re able, your teen should move onto a flat part of the road instead of an incline. Then, your teen should make sure they can apply the parking brake so their car remains flat and stable.
From there, show your teens how to remove the hubcap or wheel cover with a lug wrench. Here’s where your teen will need to pay extra attention: While they’ll need to loosen the lug nuts, they should not totally remove them from the wheel. Here are several other important steps you’ll want to instruct your teen driver to take:
- Check the owner’s manual to determine where the jack should be placed underneath the car.
- Expand the jack until the wheel is six inches off the ground.
- Unscrew the lug nuts the rest of the way, and place them in your pocket or another spot where you won’t lose them.
- Remove the flat tire and then align the spare tire with the lug bolts.
- Screw the lug nuts back in with your hands â€” not the wrench.
- Lower the jack until the car is flat on the ground, and then tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern with the wrench.
- Put the hubcap back on, and you’re good to go.
Teaching your teen driver every step of taking care of their vehicles is important for both your and their peace of mind. In the end, the more they know, the better equipped and safer they’ll be on the road.