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Two Thirds of Teen Drivers Don't Know Basic Auto Repair

Driver's ed classes disappear from schools.

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About two thirds of teen drivers are "clueless" or have "average" knowledge when it comes to basic car maintenance, according to a parental survey released Wednesday that was conducted by AutoMD.com, an automotive repair website.

Two in three teens don't know how to change a flat tire, check or change the oil, or jumpstart a battery, according to the survey. They are also unable to identify basic car parts or perform emergency roadside repairs.

According to the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, only 15 percent of public school students take driver's education classes in high school, compared to 95 percent of students in the 1970s. Though most states require students to pass a driver's ed class before obtaining a license, a majority of teens attend private driving schools. As states and counties face budget cuts, the subject has largely disappeared from high school curricula nationwide.

[Read about new legislation that would pump $60 billion into schools.]

Sixty-two percent of the parents surveyed—some 4,000 self-identified parents of teen drivers who visited automotive websites between late July and early September—say it is "extremely important" for teens to be able to identify basic car parts.

Four fifths of those surveyed said that their children learn the majority of their auto repair knowledge from their parents. Just 6 percent of parents surveyed said their teen learned enough about auto repair from their driver's ed class.

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