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Sep 21, 2014

Teen Driver Car Maintenance and Repair Guide from AutoMD.com

October is National Car Care Month and the experts at AutoMD.com have car safety in mind, especially for teenagers, who are at a significantly higher risk of
being in accidents and even fatal crashes according to the NHTSA. [1]  To this
end,  AutoMD.com offers a downloadable Teen Driver Car Maintenance and Repair Guide.

The Guide includes:

- A Vehicle Diagram to help you identify key components of your car.
- A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Vehicle Maintenance Checklist to keep your car
running its best.
- Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Vehicle Repair Instructions to help you perform
basic maintenance and repair of your car.
- Car Maintenance and Repair Tips & Tricks you probably didn't know but
should.
- Car Repair Safety Information to keep you safe while you're performing
a repair.
- Roadside Safety Tips while you're out on the road.
- A Car Maintenance Quiz to earn your Certificate of Commitment upon
successful completion.

The full guide can be downloaded here: http://www.automd.com/teen/.

Below are six key maintenance tips for teens (and adults!) from the Teen Driver
Car Maintenance and Repair Guide.

1. Know your car's maintenance intervals and keep up with service

Each vehicle has a maintenance schedule, outlined in your owner's manual. Be
sure you read and understand the schedule. Items that require regular
maintenance include the car's fluids, tires, brakes, and oil and filter changes,
too. Oil and air filter changes are particularly important to keep the engine
running efficiently and make great beginning DIY auto repair projects. Get an
experienced adult to help the first few times, and follow these how-to guides
for help:

How to Change Your Oil: http://www.automd.com/101/how-to-change-engine-oil-and-filter/

How to Replace an Air Filter: http://www.automd.com/11/how-to-replace-an-air-filter/

Did You Know? These days experts say that you only need to change your oil every 5,000 miles. A good rule of thumb is this – if a vehicle is older than a 2002
model year, it should probably get an oil change every 3,000 miles. If it's
newer than a 2002 model, it's fine to change the oil every 5,000 miles.

2. Take care of your tires – make sure they can get you to school, work,
etc.

Tire maintenance is particularly important for safe and fuel-efficient driving,
so, take good care of them! Keep your tires properly inflated, and watch for
tire wear. Driving on underinflated tires can shorten the life of your tires,
increase tire wear and lead to significant tire damage from heat, potholes and
other road hazards. Plus, keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure can
improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. Consult your owner's manual or tire
sticker on the door jamb for manufacturer-recommended tire pressure settings.
And, look at your tires for wear and tear every time you stop for gas.

Did You Know? You can check for tire wear and tear by using a penny. Hold a
penny at the base between your thumb and forefinger so that you can see the top
of President Lincoln's head and the words "In God We Trust." Place the top of
Lincoln's head into one of the grooves in your tire tread. If any part of
Lincoln's head is covered, you have a legal and safe amount of tire tread left
and your tires probably don't need to be replaced. However, if there is any
space above Lincoln's head, or if you can see any part of the words "In God We
Trust," it's time for new tires. Click here for more tire care tips:
http://www.automd.com/about-automd/press/01-25-2011/

3. Don't ignore dashboard warning lights

Dashboard warning lights serve as notification that something may be wrong with your car, and include the Check Engine Light, Oil Light, Temperature Light, Brake Light, and more. When warning lights come on, pay attention to them! Read the owner's manual so you know what each of the warning lights mean and how you should respond.

Did You Know? If your Check Engine light is blinking while you're driving, you
should pull over immediately. The Check Engine light can signal any number of
system failures, from a fuel vapor leak caused by a loose gas cap to poor
acceleration caused by a faulty MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor. If the light comes
on and stays on without flashing – yet the car seems to be running smoothly –
chances are your car can be examined by a mechanic after you get home, or when you can get to one. On the other hand, if the Check Engine light is blinking
while you're driving, pull over or get to a mechanic right away. A blinking
check engine light usually indicates a severe misfire that could damage your
car's engine.

4. Don't let your car run too low, or out of gas

You know it's important to fuel your body with food for optimal performance at
school and play, and it is equally important to fuel your car appropriately,
which means not letting your car run too low on gas. Most of today's vehicles
have fuel-injected engines that rely on in-tank electric pumps that use gas to
cool and lubricate its components. Driving your fuel injected engine frequently
on fumes could cause hundreds of dollars in repairs, and leave you stranded on
the side of the road, which is always a dangerous place to be. A good rule of
thumb – keep the fuel level above a quarter tank to keep your car running well,
and to avoid running out of gas!

Did You Know? You don't need to use the highest grade of gasoline for your car's engine to perform its best. The variation in quality between different grades of gasoline today is very small, so don't waste your money by filling up with
premium gasoline unless your car "requires" it (if this exact wording is stated
in your owner's manual).

5. Steer clear – take care of your windshield

The windshield is like the eye of your car. Therefore, it is critical to keep it
clean and clear for safe driving. Some parts of the country are, or will be,
experiencing their first rainfalls after months of being dry. You don't want to
discover that your windshield wiper blades don't work during the first rainfall
when you need them most. Wiper blades that have cracks, skip, streak or leave
spots or smears should be replaced. You should also check spray nozzles for
proper aim. If the nozzles are clogged, clean them with a needle. Use windshield
washer fluid in the tank to prevent corrosion and remove stubborn dirt, grime
and insects from your windshield. Whether it rains or not, you should try to use
your spray nozzles and wiper blades every few weeks to keep them functioning
properly.

Click here for guide on How to Replace Wiper Blades: http://www.automd.com/94/how-to-replace-windshield-wiper-blades/

Did You Know? Carrying a squeegee with a scrubber in your car or trunk is a good idea. It can help remove splattered bugs, and maximize visibility.

6. Teen life moves fast, but your car doesn't have to. Slow down – avoid
speeding

Perhaps one of the best ways to keep your car well maintained, and keep you safe on the road, is to avoid speeding! It may seem fun to drive fast, or you might
simply be in a hurry (late for school, maybe?), but speeding is incredibly
dangerous, and bad for your car. In fact, driving slower puts less demand on
your car's engine and transmission, and also helps to reduce the amount of gas
you use in the process. Avoid all driving habits that put stress and strain on
your vehicle, such as fast driving, hitting curbs, and off-roading. It is also a
good idea to slow down and increase your following distance when driving in
harsh weather, as vehicles can lose traction in rain, snow and ice.

Did You Know? Speeding is so dangerous because it reduces your reaction time to avoid a potential collision. According to one website[2], among serious crashes involving teen driver error, 1 in 5 crashes occurred due to speeding. Remember that speeding is reckless driving.
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