If you're about to purchase a new vehicle for yourself and have a teenager in your family who has recently gotten their licence to drive, you're probably considering giving them your old car. This can be a great idea -- after all, if it's a car you've owned for several years, you'll already be familiar with its quirks, and chances are good that it's the vehicle your teen learned how to drive in. Nonetheless, if you're like most parents, you want your teen driver to be as safe as possible behind the wheel, and part of this means making certain that the vehicle is in the best possible shape in order to avoid unexpected breakdowns. Following are four things you should do before handing over the keys to your old car to your family's newest driver.
Get All-Weather Tires
Experienced drivers can often get by without having all-weather tires on their vehicles, but you're going to want to give your inexperienced driver every possible edge. All-weather tires don't have to be changed with the seasons, which will come in handy if your teen is going to be taking the car to college. This is also a good time to ensure that the vehicle is equipped with a good spare tire as well as written instructions on how to change a tire if necessary. Keep in mind that, even though it's an excellent idea to teach your teen how to change a tire in real life, people often become flustered and anxious when unexpected problems arise when they're on the road, and a good written set of instructions on how to change a tire will provide a way to fill in the blanks.
Have the Airbags Inspected
A competent mechanic can tell you whether or not the airbags in the vehicle will perform their intended duty in the event of an accident or if they have become dysfunctional over the course of time. This is also an excellent time to do an online search in order to discern whether or not the airbags have been the subject of a recall.
Have the Transmission Checked Out
Signs of potential transmission trouble include noticeably rough shifts, gears that slip, and transmission fluid that is leaking. Transmission fluid dark red, so be sure to check the surface of where you normally park the car for any trace of it. Even if your transmission shows no signs of disrepair, this may be an optimal time to ask your mechanic to perform a transmission flush just to make certain that the transmission is in optimal operating condition.
A transmission flush is a proactive way to guard against future transmission issues, so be sure to have one done if it's been two years or 30,000 miles since your vehicle last had the procedure. The car will get fresh fluid that's free from engine debris and other contaminants, making it far less likely that the transmission will malfunction. Pros at auto shops like Karry's Automotive Service Center can provide you with more information.
Change the Battery
Unless you've changed the battery within the past year, it's a good idea to have it replaced before turning the car over to your teen. Faulty batteries are one of the most common causes of vehicle breakdowns -- and they often happen in the most adverse conditions possible, such as when seasonal temperatures plunge to below freezing. This is also a prime opportunity to teach your teen driver how to change a battery.
You should also have the car thoroughly inspected from top to bottom by a qualified mechanic in order to ferret out any unnoticed issues that may be at play before you hand over the keys to your teen.Share