Niki is 15 now and has her driver learner permit. She is doing a great job of learning to drive, and I know with a little more experience she is going to be a good, safe driver. I decided I should teach her a little bit about maintaining the car, so today after school she and I donned our coveralls for Niki’s first oil change. Niki was hesitant at first but I think she ended up enjoying our experience. I believe this photo (taken after we were finished) is proof that she had a good time. Look at that smile!
To begin, I first removed the oil plug. After the oil had drained, it was Niki’s turn. She gamely crawled under the car, replaced the plug and then tightened the plug with a wrench. Next, I removed the oil filter. Then she put on the new filter and expertly hand-tightened it to the correct tightness. Finally, while I held the funnel, she poured the oil into the engine. After a quick check of the dipstick, we were finished!
Then we took the opportunity for a few more maintenance items. We checked the tire pressure, and Niki inflated a low tire. We also added windshield washer fluid and a little antifreeze. We saved learning how to change a flat tire for another day; I figure sometime this summer. We finished up with Niki learning how well Fast Orange hand cleaner removes oil and grease from hands.
Niki is a good, conscientious learner. Our lesson today reminded me of a call I heard on the NPR show, Car Talk. A man called in to ask Click & Clack if maybe he was wasting his money by sending his daughter to college. He had instructed her on how to check the oil in her car before she left for college, and also told her to do this every time she filled the gas tank. She had proudly written home that she was following these instructions but that she wanted tips on how to get the oil into that tiny hole. I feel reassured Niki will not be asking me this type of question.
So, it was a good day. Niki learned more about cars, and I got to have fun teaching her. I love you, Niki.