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I have been reading A LOT of articles lately about Millennials and their lack of independence. Depending on which definition you read, I am technically a Millennial who has a teenaged (almost 2) son. I am fiercely independent and would usually rather do something wrong 10x myself before asking someone for help. Now, I don’t necessarily want my boys to be as stubborn as I am but I DO want to raise them to be independent and learn how to do things for themselves as they go. We have started working with the boys on car care. Things like changing the tire, how to check the oil, how to fill up with gas etc. One of the things I needed done on my car that we realized we could teach my oldest to do on his own was change the cabin air filter (usually done annually or every 12,000 miles. Obviously you should follow recommended change intervals as noted in your vehicle owner’s manual.
Living in Phoenix, we drive through dust and pollen constantly and contaminants like that that enter your vehicle with outside air can become concentrated, exposing passengers to higher levels of dust, dirt and allergens than outside the car. This is why it’s important to change out that cabin air filter. The air inside your vehicle can actually be up to 6X’s dirtier than the air outside – crazy right? The thing is, changing the cabin air filter is actually pretty simple and I knew it would be a good task to teach.
First we talked about how to figure out what size cabin air filter our car needed. I love that FRAMFreshBreeze.com provides a texting feature which allows your search results (installation videos and part number) to be sent to your phone so that you don’t have to remember which part number to pick up at Walmart. We get FRAM Fresh Breeze® cabin air filters because it’s the only cabin air filter that uses the natural deodorizing qualities of ARM & HAMMER® baking soda which I thought was awesome since I am a bit… picky about car smells 😉
We picked up our size at Walmart while getting some other supplies needed for an upcoming blog post. You can check Walmart.com to see if your car has a cabin air filter and which size you need.
When we got home I had the boys wash the car and then we watched the installation video. The boys actually thought I was talking about changing the engine’s air filter since they had watched Jared do that before so I had to show them that there is in fact also a CABIN air filter. Ours is located behind the glove box.
It ended up being very quick and simple for my teen to do! Now I can stop thinking about how much dust and pollen we’re breathing in while sitting in the car for hours on the next road trip. I’ll let him try it completely on his own next year and then he’ll have his own car to do as well (but let’s not talk about that).
While it does take longer to stop and show your kids how to figure out and do these things on their own, isn’t it worth the time to raise an independent young adult? If I myself don’t know how to do something I look it up! I do this with the boys as well so if we’re not home or not with them in the future they’ll know to look things up on their own. Now, obviously you need to set boundaries of what they can and can’t do with or without you. Here are some things you can start even before they get their license to learn to take care of their vehicles:
- Check the tire air pressure
- Change a tire
- Change windshield wipers
- Monitor car gauges
- Change oil
- Change the cabin air filter
- Check and change engine air filter
- How to replace a battery
- How to jump start a car properly
- Show them what belts your car has and how to check them
- Check and change lights on the car
- How to check reviews on mechanics
Some kids grow up in homes where they regularly do car maintenance but I’ve also ran into several adults who couldn’t change out a bulb. If you don’t know how to do some of these things, look them up or have a friend show you AND your teen!
Check out this site for more car care inspiration and some fun tutorials!