As more and more states re-open, the roads are getting crowded again. Michelin offers some key DIY for drivers as they fire up their cars for the summer.
We’re approaching month three of LA County’s “Safer at Home” order. We’re itching to get out and see the world beyond our little suburban enclave. Judging from the increased traffic around SoCal’s highways and byways, we’re not alone. With Phase 2 openings and the advent of warmer weather, folks are blowing the cobwebs off their cars and hitting the roads again.
In our household, the free coloring pages went out the window almost immediately. Gearheads take heart, we have a new activity that’s a twofer: you can teach your kids how to properly maintain a car and get your ride ready for the trek to the beach.
Mike Bundick, Director of Product Marketing, Passenger & Light Trucks at Michelin Tire North America, provides some critical tips for parents conducting automotive shop class at home:
• Start with The Basics: No matter how versed you are in car repair, the first thing you’ll want to do is show your kid the basic inner-workings of the vehicle. Point out the key parts underneath the hood, from the spark plugs to the engine and battery. If possible, do this on multiple vehicles, as the equipment won’t always be in the same place. Once you’ve looked under the hood of a few vehicles, ask your son or daughter to identify some common parts. They’ll enjoy correctly naming the parts and their functions/
• Simple Maintenance: The next step in getting your children interested in car care is having them help you complete simple maintenance tasks. In fact, if you have a teenager who will be driving soon, you can even make it a requirement that they learn how to service some aspects of the car before they take their road test. Start them off really easy by having them show you how to refill your car’s windshield wiper fluid. If they have any questions, have them reference your car’s owner’s manual.
• Hands-On Maintenance: Once they’ve mastered that simple task, it’s time to move on to bigger maintenance tasks that will be very helpful down the road. There are three specific tasks that every car owner should know:
o Air pressure: a trusted air tire pressure gauge will do the trick here when checking inflation; note: you’ll want to test on “cold” tires, or tires that haven’t been driven on for at least 3 hours. 30-35 PSI is the ideal range.
o Tire tread: all you’ll need for this one is a spare penny to conduct the penny test to check your tire’s tread depth to ensure quality tread depth. We’re looking at anywhere above 3/32 inch as good to drive on.
o Windshield wipers: wiper blades last an average of 6 months; life the blades, as if you were washing your windshield by hand, and remove the old blades.
o Air filter: you need a new air filter your car every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Pop the hood, look for the rectangular black box with metal clips, open the casing, and replace filters with the new one.
o Battery maintenance: car batteries should continually be kept clean and free of dirt and corrosion at all times; while under the hood, be sure your battery’s free of any debris/material.
Head to Michelin’s website for more maintenance tips.