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Many teens get their driving permit or even their driver’s license without knowing anything about basic car maintenance. Whether you’re a teen or a parent of a teen (lucky you!) these basic car maintenance tips are essential for safe driving.

Know what the dashboard warning light means

The dashboard helpfully displays warning lights when something is working improperly or running low. These lights will inform drivers when the oil needs to be changed, the engine needs to be checked, etc. You can refer to the owner's manual for the correct response for every warning light.

Take proper care of tires

Keep your car tires properly inflated at all times. It’s a good tip to check your tires whenever you stop for gas. Overinflated and underinflated tires wear out unevenly, resulting to shorter shelf life, which in turn leads to more frequent replacements. This costs more money, and also puts you in danger of getting a busted tire while driving.

Change the engine oil

Regularly changing the engine oil is an important maintenance task that all drivers -- including teens -- should know. This keeps the engine working in top condition. Failure to change oil will result in the accumulation of dirt and other contaminants, making the oil unable to lubricate the engine properly. As a result, the engine will wear out and fail much sooner than it should.

Check the coolant

An overheated engine can suddenly stop at an inconvenient time and place. It's frustrating when this happens, especially since it's a scenario that can easily be avoided. Make sure to prop up the hood open and check whether or not your coolant levels are within your car’s recommended range. It's a very easy and quick task that will save you a load of trouble.

Keep the lights shining brightly

Drivers use the car lights to communicate with fellow drivers, so driving with faulty or broken lights can lead to a serious accident. Check your lights at nighttime weekly to make sure they are working effectively. And every year or so

Car Cleanliness

A regular car wash will make a vehicle cleaner and safer. A dirty windshield can get in the way of driving especially in conditions with less-than-ideal visibility e.g. rain or fog weather conditions. Even a driver with perfect vision will have a harder time navigating with a dirty windshield. Keep a bottle of washer fluid in the trunk in case you need to clean off a splattered bug or sticky bird's poo.

Remember, responsible drivers are not born; they're made.