# Homestead-Homeschool 101: Teaching Teens Vehicle Maintenance Lesson

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We’ve been homesteading for nearly five years now but we’ve only been homeschooling our four teenage girls for about one year. One thing we love about homestead-homeschool is we can teach our girls things they don’t normally learn in school. We love to learn about homesteading with them, explore the forest and touch on subjects often overlooked in public school like writing in cursive, learning how to grow your own food, caring for farm animals and so much more.

Photo by Tonya Olson

Most adults in the US operate a vehicle every day of their life, yet many know very little about how a vehicle actually works or how to perform basic maintenance on a vehicle. I myself am no expert but I feel I have enough knowledge to put together a basic lesson for my gour girls.  Because we are also YouTubers I made a video of this lesson as well. Here is my lesson plan and video. I didn’t do any research on this and really did wing it- so please comment if you have any suggestions or ideas or anything i missed and I encourage you to watch the video as we had some fun along the way!

## Part 1: Basic overview of how a vehicle works

In this part of the lesson I asked the girls “How does a vehicle run?”. I then went on to explain some basics about combustions and how the fuel essentially explodes and expands and forces a piston through a cylinder and converts that energy into movement and rotation. As you can see in the video I tried to also explain how amazing it is that a vehicle is essentially powered by countless little controlled explosions over and over again and that’s pretty amazing!

Photo by Kerry W. Mann, Jr.

I transition this into discussing the oil. The piston moves inside the cylinder and when we have metal on metal we end up with heat and wear and the oil helps lubricate these moving parts to not overheat and over wear.

## Part 2. Checking Air Pressure in tires

Next I showed the girls a tire pressure gauge and explained how to check the tire pressure using the tool. I also explained that the MAX PSI shown on the tire is not the recommended amount of pressure, but rather it is the maximum amount and I showed them where to look inside the door to see the recommended PSI (for our minivan it is 35 PSI). I showed them how to use the tire pressure tool to remove excess pressure and I also demonstrated how to use our air compressor to add more air pressure. Next time we are at a gas station I am going to have each of them test and adjust the tire pressure as needed.

Photo by Kerry W. Mann, Jr.

## Part 3. Basics Under the Hood Review

I reviewed the basic components under the hood. I showed theme the spark plug wires and explained how the electrical system is powered by the battery. I showed them here the oil is added and the dipstick and I covered a few other basic items like where the brake fluid is added, coolant, transmission dip stick and where to add wiper fluid.

## Part 4: How to Use a Jack

I demonstrated how to use our floor jack and let the girls try it themselves. I also told them how using a jack is very dangerous and a jack stand should always be used. I also mentioned it’s important to place the jack under the solid metal frame of the car otherwise it could fail.

Photo by Kerry W. Mann, Jr.

## Part 5: Changing the Oil

Photo by Kerry W. Mann, Jr.

I explained how we need to go under the vehicle and remove the oil pan drain bolt and allow the old dirty oil to drain out into the oil pan. I showed the girls the location of the oil pan and plug. I also showed the girls a new oil filter and explained how to add some oil to the rubber seal on the filter and showed them how to remove the old one by hand or with an oil filter wrench.  Then I removed the plug (lefty-loosey) and drained the oil.

I showed the girls where to find the oil capacity specification in the user manual and let them use a funnel to add the oil. I also let them each check the dip stick several times to ensure the proper amount before testing driving. The test drive was sort of a reward for the girls. They are each too young to drive (13)  but I allowed them to drive on our property.

Overall this was a fun lesson with my girls.

### Study Questions

1. Why is oil important to a vehicle?
2. How do we know how much oil to use?
3. When do we check the oil?
4. How much tire pressure is needed in our minivan?
5. When do we change the oil next?
6. What happens if we put too much oil in the car?

Please comment if you have any questions or ideas to improve this lesson plan! Enjoy the video version.

Kerry W. Mann, Jr. moved to a 20-acre homestead in 2015, where he and his family use modern technology, including YouTube and Instructables.com, to learn new skills and teach homestead projects. Connect with Kerry on his Homestead How YouTube pageInstructablesPinterest Facebookand at My Evergreen Homestead. Read all of Kerry’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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• Published on Dec 2, 2020