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Old 01-17-2011, 03:19 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 16,957,208 times
Reputation: 10333

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I'm not a parent and I am 52, so maybe I'm behind the times...

Few days ago I was visiting with a good friend, relatively affluent and educated. Oldest son is 19, in college, and they bought him a used car as long as he stays in school. He's been driving for several years.

Son is out driving and calls mom to tell her that the oil light just came on in the car. Brief discussion ensues, turns out he is really near an oil-change place, she tells him to go there immediately.

I made some comment, that perhaps he should be carrying some basic supplies in the trunk - oil, antifreeze, and what not. "Oh, he wouldn't even know where to put the oil!" she says.



This isn't common, is it? I'm female and within the first year of learning to drive, I knew what and where fluids went, and a boyfriend taught me to do oil changes, tunes ups and so on. I realise cars are complex now but shouldn't every teenager who gets behind the wheel understand the importance of warning lights and know where to put fluids, air up or change tires and so on?
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
15,832 posts, read 50,946,457 times
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Way before 19. Just wondering - did this kid grow up without a Dad in the house?

Dad showed me at least the basics, oil level, oil change, fan belt, radiator level, etc, probably starting when I was 5.

BTW another case in point where I note that the kid does not value a car that's given to them unconditionally, that they didn't work to at least help pay for, or work on fixing up an old car for them to drive starting when they were say 14.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 28,157,775 times
Reputation: 9250
I am a parent of three drivers, high school and college.

My two oldest have changed oil, they know what it looks like under the hood, and have done other basic car maintenance. Both have helped me work on brakes. They also know how to change a tire. They also know how to drive a car with a manual transmission.

All of them know how to jumpstart a car, check tire pressure, etc. My youngest is a girl and doesn't WANT to know some of these things, but will be exposed to most of it.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:59 PM
 
Location: SW France
15,159 posts, read 15,654,031 times
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My daughter has just started to learn to drive and I'm showing her the basics of maintaining the car, like checking tyre pressures, fluid levels and so on.

Mind you, how many drivers do check their tyres and so on on a regular basis?
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:02 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 16,957,208 times
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Yes, there's a dad in the house. I agree about having to pay for a car and be responsible for it but I guess with a certain level of affluence comes the notion that other people will take care of your problems, for a fee...

I really think, regardless of gender, having some basic knowledge is smart on so many levels! Saves money, you're not as likely to get ripped off or sold stuff you don't need, you can get yourself out of a jam instead of being capable of nothing more than calling a tow truck for something really basic. As essential as vehicles are to most of our lives, I was pretty amazed that my friend's son was so helpless.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:05 PM
 
Location: SW France
15,159 posts, read 15,654,031 times
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My first car was a total POS but it ensured that you learnt how to do all sorts.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,712 posts, read 3,339,633 times
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Before I was allowed to drive by myself, I had to prove that I knew how to change a tire, where to put oil, window washing fluid, etc... My dad wouldn't have allowed it otherwise.



~Melissa
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:20 PM
 
33,414 posts, read 30,996,136 times
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my 17 year old niece is taking auto shop in high school, so she is learning everything that she will need to do minor maintenance, plus what ever she decides to learn from me(i have a degree in automotive technology, and spent time as a crew chief on a race car in the late 70s).
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 80,632,987 times
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The direct answer to the title question, is you start teaching children at a very young age about the limitations of structural materials, and how machines interact with each other. Then, they will know that when they are adults, things they abuse will break. You know, things like You don't use your best screw driver as a chisel or paint can opener.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:18 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
36,462 posts, read 66,346,509 times
Reputation: 42336
Start at about age 14. Let them know that when and if they get their license they will be expected to help take care of any car they want to borrow, and when they buy their own they will be responsible for the maintenance. As much as they can do themselves leaves more money for gas.
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