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Move Out Skills: Does Your Teenager Know How to Pump Gas?

Learning how to drive also means learning how to pump gas. This is something every teenager will need to figure out before they get their license. Why not start learning now?

How to Pump Gas

Where is the gas tank?

Before you pull up to a gas pump, ask your teenager to locate the gas tank cap. This might seem obvious, but they may not know it is not always on the driver’s side.

On your vehicle’s dashboard near the gas gauge is a triangle-shaped arrow. The arrow will point to the side of the car where the gas tank is located. (Only one in 10 drivers know about the gas tank indicator arrow, according to AAA). Pull up so the gas pump is on the same side as the gas tank and close enough so that the nozzle will reach your car.

How to pay for gas?

Cash or credit? You can use a credit or debit card to pay outside, but cash will require a trip inside to the clerk. Does your teen know they can put in just a few dollars at a time? It’s a good thing to know for those times when they don’t have enough money to fill up the car.

Which grade of gas do you want?

Explain the difference between the different types of gas: premium, mid-grade, and regular. And that you probably don’t want to ever go to that diesel pump, which has a differently-shaped nozzle to keep you from accidentally using it. You can likely stick to filling your car with  regular gas  unless you’re driving a vehicle with a high-powered engine (such as a sports car or a large SUV), in which case it’ll be better to fill up with either  midgrade  or  premium  gas  to keep the engine running smoothly.

Put the gas nozzle into the gas tank.

Pull it down slightly until it’s secure. Pull up on the nozzle’s trigger, and lock it into place. It will automatically shut off when the tank is full. Carefully remove the nozzle when the machine stops pumping gas, to avoid spilling.

Screw the gas cap back on.

It’s easy to forget. But if the gas cap is left off, gas can escape from the system. When this happens, many vehicles run a self-test of the performance system and will detect this leak in the evaporative emissions system. The check engine light will then come on.

Jane Parent

Jane Parent is senior editor of Your Teen.