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Tuesday, July 5,2011

Teaching A Young Driver

By Teresa Aquila  

Teaching A Young Driver

I often teach some of my willing customers who are very interested in learning what is really involved in the repair of their vehicle. I especially like it when young drivers show a great interest. Recently the 16 year old daughter of one of my long time customers purchased a 1993 Toyota Camry as her first vehicle. Since it had over 120,000 miles on it and after reading the owners manual pertaining to the maintenance, she realized that the timing belt needed changing. This of course impressed me that she took the time to read the book and take the responsibility to insure that her first car would server her well.

When she came into the Shop and explained that not only was the belt in need of replacement, but also that she wanted to attempt the repair and learn just how it all worked. After work one night, she arrived eager and dressed for such a job. I went through the steps from showing her how to look up the process in the repair manual to ordering parts and getting the necessary tools ready. After laying out all the tools, putting the vehicle on the lift, which is a plus rather than having to do it on the ground, we raised the vehicle. She learned how to use an impact gun and which type of sockets were needed for impacting. She removed the tire, set the timing marks, removed the alternator, torque strut, engine bracket, power steering belt and crank pulley, misc. items, then the timing cover. The engine was slightly supported with a floor jack to keep it from moving. Once the cover was off, it was very evident why you change timing belts when specified. This one was only being held together by a tread; literally! We loosened the belt adjuster and removed the belt. She read the manual on how to reinstall the new belt and paid special attention to the correct sequence. The belt went on as she went step by step and all marks were aligned correctly, I expressed to her to check things twice to be sure. She reinstalled all parts, with no nuts or bolts left over. Nothing worse than having to figure out what you missed. Now it was time to start to vehicle. She was slightly nervous after knowing what h a p p e n s i f i n s t a l l e d incorrectly. She turned the key and the engine fired up and purred like a kitten. She was so excited that she had to text her girlfriends about on her adventure. At least she waited until the end.

She is now ready to tackle the next repair. The greatest part of this was she did not even break a nail. Another happy young driver a little more educated on what it takes to maintain her transportation.


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