How to Teach Young Children Auto Mechanics

by Flora Richards-Gustafson
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Close up detail of a classic car at a car show image by Rob Hill from

Children will often follow in the footsteps of their parents or relatives and gain an interest in the adult’s vocation or hobby. Because of their curious nature, children want to know how things work, including cars. Although a young child isn’t able to repair a car on his or her own, an adult can start teaching them auto mechanics so they can learn the basics for the future.

Step 1

Make a plan. Plan days for you and the child to focus on different topics surrounding auto mechanics; mark them on a calendar for the child to see.

Step 2

Teach about different tools. Gather the basic tools used for auto repair, lay them out and review how each one is used. Practice using the different tools on a block of wood. For example, have the child practice twisting a screw into a piece of wood that has an anchor placed into it, or show him how nuts and bolts fasten together.

Step 3

Review auto safety. Safety is one of the first things that should be ingrained into a child’s mind before diving too deep into auto mechanics. In addition to seatbelt use, teach a child how to be careful around cars while playing or when in a parking lot and how to use the emergency escape latch in the trunk of a car. Also teach a child to never experiment with tools or tinker with a car unless an adult says it is okay and is supervising.

Step 4

Teach about the main components of a car. Show the child where the engine is located, where the muffler goes, where to find the air filter, how a car’s oil is checked and answer any questions a child may have.

Show the young child the main parts of car before they are installed into a car. He’ll be interested to know what an engine looks like outside of a car and what each part does to make a car run. Use uninstalled pistons to demonstrate how they work and why they are important. If you don’t have these components available at home, see if a mechanic would be willing to let you take the child to his shop to see these items and have a tour of the facility.

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