License to drive?

Should teens learn basic vehicle maintenance as a license requirement?


Photo: Jeremy Robinson

Checking the fluids is one simple vehicle maintenance act that could both save drivers money and help eliminate potential risk.

Oklahoma, like many other states has a long list of requirements that must be met before they will hand over that little chunk of plastic freedom. There’s a written test to check teens’ knowledge of the rules of the road, a driving test to ensure they can implement the aforementioned rules in actual driving situations, and even stipulations regarding when and where they can drive for a period of time.

However, none of these requirements include making sure teens can care for the 2,000+ pounds of machinery at their newly licensed hands. Improper vehicle maintenance can contribute to accidents and be costly to drivers financially and should be treated just as importantly as say, knowing which direction to turn your wheels upon parallel parking.

Tire Maintenance

People get tired of spending so much money for a tow or even paying insurance companies to help with flat tires. Charges of $60 for local towing, a $75 hook-up fee and $3.50 per mile for long-distance towing add up pretty quickly.

CostHelper  estimates a tow of five miles or less may cost $35 to $125, while a 40-mile tow could cost $125 to $275… yikes! Of course, you need insurance in case of an emergency, but households could be saving so much money if EVERY driver in the family knew how to the air pressure in their tires lessening the risk of an accident and cost of a tow.

Changing a Tire

Being able to change a tire is also knowledge every driver should have.  It shouldn’t take more than five or ten minutes if you have the proper materials.

Maintaining proper tire pressure reduces the risk of high speed blowouts.

Materials Needed:

  1. Car manual
  2. Car jack
  3. Lug wrench/tire tools
  4. Spare tire/tires
  5. Wheel chocks
  6. Flashlight

Steps to Follow:

  1. Park in a safe location.
  2. Make sure your vehicle is secured.
  3. Gather everything you’ll need.
  4. Before jacking your vehicle up, loosen the lug nuts slightly.
  5. After consulting the owner’s manual for the best position, lift your vehicle with your jack.
  6. Take off the lug nuts and wheel.
  7. Take off the flat tire.
  8. Replace the flat tire with your spare tire.
  9. Lower your car.
  10. Tighten the lugnuts as much as you can.

Should drivers be required to learn basic vehicle maintenance?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Regular vs Premium

People could be saving more money by not using premium gas. Not every vehicle needs or preforms better with costlier premium gas. A sticker inside the door to the gas tank should tell you if your vehicle needs only premium gas. Otherwise, unless, your owner’s manual says to use premium gas for its higher octane rating, regular will run your vehicle and save you money.

If teens were required to learn this information when studying for their license, U.S. News and World Report says it could save them up to $200 per year. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change!

Checking Fluids

Basic vehicle maintenance knowledge could benefit teens financially, as well as lessen the risk of potential accidents.

Check fluid levels regularly. Make sure your power steering and radiator fluids are at proper levels with each oil change. Also check automatic transmission fluid, brake and clutch fluids. This is very important because a bottle of fluid costs just a couple of dollars and replacing a broken or worn part due to low fluids will cost you hundreds. Checking fluids regularly can also help reduce the risk of being stranded on the side of the road.

Did you know that the average person will spend over $500,000 on vehicles and vehicle-related expenses over their lifetime? Many times, even the smallest defect could lead to a major problem and ultimately increase car maintenance costs. Regular vehicle maintenance will not only ensure maximum car performance but also prevent costly repairs.

Teaching these skills to new drivers before handing them a license, would benefit them financially, but should it be required? Comment below with your opinion.