Teach teen drivers how to pump gas with our 8 tips
Teaching teens how to pump gas is the first step to becoming responsible drivers. Teens must first learn so much before they hit the road. Most driving schools and parents focus on the basics, but Drive Smart Georgia goes the extra mile by teaching teen drivers how to pump gas and other essentials, like checking tire tread and changing a flat tire. When possible, our instructors may even teach a student how to pump gas for the first time.
Pumping gas can be a bit intimidating to a new and inexperienced driver, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow our tips to teach new drivers how to pump gas for the first time. After a few times, they will be pros at it!
#1: Don’t wait until the needle is on “E”
Teens and college students often have empty pockets and tend to wait until the last minute before filling up the tank. According to Inmotionautocare.com, waiting to fill up when the gauge is on empty is a bad idea. Advise your teen driver to fill the tank when the needle sits at ¼ tank. Frequently filling an empty tank can cause damages to the car’s fuel pump because it will suck up the little remaining fuel at the tank base together with the dirt, debris, and particles. As a result, the fuel filter becomes clogged, which eventually causes failure of the fuel pump assembly.
#2: Pick a well-lit neighborhood station
Not all gas stations offer gasoline at the same price. If possible, advise your teen to shy away from stations located close to a busy highway. Gas is usually more expensive near the interstate because real estate prices are higher than they are a few miles down the road. A station near the highway will probably charge you a pretty penny for gas, while one down the road is probably cheaper.
#3: Know what side of the car the tank is located
This is important because to fill up, drivers must know what side of the car the tank is located. If a new driver forgets or is unsure, tell him to find an arrow close to the gas gauge. When it points to the right, the gas tank is on the right. If the arrow points to the left, make sure the pump is on the left side of the vehicle. Be sure to turn the engine off off before stepping out of the car. Plus, always lock your car at the gas pump, even if you’re standing on the other side of the car. Thieves find it very easy to sneak inside of an unlocked door or rolled down window to steal your belongings or worse, your car.
#4: Know how to open the cap
So, your teen driver pulls up to a pump, gets out of the car, but can’t figure out how to actually open the gas cap. Different makes and models have different types of latches to open the gas tank. Teaching new drivers how to release the gas cap is just one of MANY things needed to fill up and go.
#5: What grade of gas does your car take?
According to Auto Trader, the best type of gas to put in your vehicle is whatever octane level your car’s owner’s manual specifies. If your car recommends regular 87 octane gas, you’re in luck. You can safely use the cheap stuff. Premium fuel won’t make the engine run better or produce more power. There’s simply no benefit to buying premium fuel unless there’s a difference in the ethanol content. If the manual states “premium fuel required” and specifies 91 or 93 octane, then you should always fuel up with the good stuff. Before filling up for the first time, make sure your teen driver knows which grade to put in the tank.
#6: Don’t overfill the tank
Adults often overfill the tank in order to get to a round number on the meter. In fact, Jerry Seinfeld challenged the pump in a series of funny commercials for American Express. When teen drivers pump gas, they should be aware of how the gas nozzle works. When the gas nozzle is put in the tank, a vacuum is created that informs the nozzle when the tank is full. When the gas level reaches the tip of the nozzle, it automatically turns off. At this point, the tank is full, and no more gas should be put in the tank because if it overflows, it will get into the engine and cause performance issues.
#7: Know how to pay
Back in the olden days, drivers had to give the cashier cash and get a refund for any amount unused. Flash forward to 2022. Drivers can now pay directly at the pump with a credit or debit card. Some pumps are even touch-less, a nice feature during the pandemic. When your teen driver fills up for the first time, be sure to show her how to pay at the pump. This is especially important if filling up at night. Most stations require that drivers insert or scan their card before they can proceed to filling the car with gas.
#8: Don’t forget to put the cap on after filling up
Who hasn’t forgotten to replace the cap after filling up? It can happen to anyone, especially inexperienced new drivers. While it’s a good habit to establish early on, your teen should not panic if he forgot to put the gas cap on before driving away. According to Autoblog, aside from an annoying check engine light from a false EVAP System failure code, it’s not dangerous to drive without the cap on. That’s because a flapper valve is built into today’s fuel filling systems. This valve stops reverse flow of fuel out of the tank, so it’s not dangerous to drive with the gas cap off. Tell your teen to pull over at a safe place and put it back on. There’s no need to panic.
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