Finally having the freedom and ability to drive your own vehicle is a big moment for most teens. But breaking down on the side of the road and potentially having to spend a lot of money on car repairs? Not so great. One of the best ways to avoid costly repairs is to ensure that you conduct proper, regular vehicle maintenance. Here are five tips to help every teen keep their car in tip-top condition, as well as ways to stay safe on the road.

Read Your Drivers Manual

Your drivers manual may not be the most exciting thing you’ll ever read, but it is full of valuable information about your vehicle. All new cars come with this handy booklet, and most used cars will have one as well, which contains information on all the features and operating parts of your car as well as proper maintenance tips (including the recommended type of oil, tire pressure, and more).

Inspect Your Car Frequently

Keeping your car well-maintained isn’t as difficult as it may sound. There are a few key inspections that you can do yourself to make sure your car is operating in good shape. Checking things like fluid levels and tire pressure helps ensure your car can run the way that it is supposed to. Additionally, keeping tabs on the condition of basic equipment such as windshield wipers, tires, and headlights can mean a world of difference when it comes to driver safety. These small inspections take a short amount of time and go a long way towards keeping you safe.

Keep Up with Routine Maintenance

Pay attention to the service recommendations from your car’s manufacturer. Usually, you will have to bring your car in for routine service every 30,000 miles in addition to regular oil changes and other checks. Follow the advice that you find in your drivers manual – it gives you everything you need to know to keep up with maintenance. Your mechanic should check the condition of the air filter, brakes, belts, spark plugs, and fluids at regular intervals.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

Even the best running car can break down in certain circumstances. Be sure to keep the following in your vehicle in case of emergency:

  • A properly inflated spare tire and jack
  • Flares or reflective devices to alert other drivers of a breakdown
  • A flashlight
  • A tool kit (can be travel size)
  • Jumper cables
  • A first-aid kit

In snowy or icy areas, you should also keep:

  • A small shovel
  • A blanket (consider something that is water resistant on one side)
  • An ice scraper/brush

Make Devices Hands-Off

It’s no secret that texting and driving, or even talking without a hands-free device, creates distractions for many drivers. While it may seem like no big deal, many things can happen in the time it takes to read a text, from a driver drifting into your lane to a pedestrian stepping into the road. That’s why all teens should make the choice to ignore their texts while driving, and only answer calls if they can do so with a hands-free device.

We hope these tips have helped make you more informed about what teens can do to care for their cars. Your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube® is here to help you with all of your regular maintenance, as well as complete any necessary repairs that may come up. If you’re ever in doubt about when something should be done, or if your vehicle seems to be operating differently, stop by anytime for a complimentary inspection!

Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.

Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center for specific services offered.