Driving Tips for Teens as They Head Back to School
kids of all ages head back to school, it's important for
young drivers to know the simple things they can do to take
care of their vehicles. Whether driving to the local high
school or miles from home to attend college, learning how
to properly maintain cars can help keep young drivers safer
on the road.
drivers are often at risk of getting into an accident or
having a mechanical breakdown due to their lack of experience,"
said Trisha Hessinger, successful automotive television
program host, car education specialist and pace car driver.
"Firestone Tire & Service Centers has compiled
some simple tips to help teach young people the basics of
vehicle maintenance - an important part of every driver's
First, make sure the vehicle's main fluids are routinely
checked and filled to the recommended levels, specifically
the window washer fluid, engine oil, anti-freeze / coolant,
brake fluid, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.
In many cases, low fluid levels can cause poor performance
and premature component failure. Maintaining these fluids
at correct levels is vital to the health of your vehicle
and can also aid in preventing future performance problems.
Next, pay attention to your tires. Remember, the tires are
the only part of your car that actually touch the road,
so it's important that they are maintained to allow the
most effective driving under any weather and road conditions.
For example, stopping on wet roads can take up to four times
more than on dry surfaces. Plus, if your tread is worn,
tires may hydroplane - skim over the surface of the road
with little or no traction. Help avoid this situation by
checking your tires regularly.
An easy test to determine if your tread is warn is, place
a U.S. penny into a tread groove with Lincoln's head facing
down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head (or 2/32"),
you are below the minimum tread depth and the tire should
be replaced. Remember, this simple test is only appropriate
for tires on passenger vehicles.
You should also check your tire pressure regularly to ensure
that all four tires - and your spare - are properly inflated
to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended levels. Tires
can lose up to one psi (pound per square inch) per month
under normal conditions. Proper inflation not only helps
prevent excessive tire wear, but also helps maximize fuel
efficiency. Use an accurate tire gauge to check tire air
pressure monthly and always when the car is cool - meaning
it has been driven less than one mile or has not moved in
at least three hours.
You can find information on a vehicle's specified tire pressure
and more in your vehicle owner's manual. In fact, consider
your owner's manual the "textbook" for learning
about your vehicle. Consult the manufacturer's maintenance
schedule (in the manual or free at your local Firestone
Tire & Service Center) to be sure you're servicing your
vehicle as needed.
Finally, be sure to keep an emergency kit in your car. Include
things like a flashlight and fresh batteries, jumper cables,
a first aid kit, a cell phone and charger, a gallon of water,
engine oil, an emergency blanket, a small tool kit, gloves,
a tire gauge, reflective light sticks, and a jack and lug
wrench. Hopefully you'll never need anything in your kit,
but should anything unexpected happen on the road, you'll
be better prepared.
The start of a new school year brings new opportunities
for learning, even beyond the classroom. Through education,
drivers can be better informed and safer behind the wheel.
learn more about driving tips and maintenance or Firestone
Tire & Service Center locations, visit www.MasterCareUSA.com.