Teenage boy doesn't know how to put air into a tire

Waiting at a gas station a couple weeks ago, noticed a teenager was trying to put air into his new car’s tire, having no luck. I decided I needed to put a little more air into one of my tires, so I pulled into the same place the teenager was using, not noticing he had pulled his car over to the side a little, but was still there. As I held the hose ready to put it on the valve, he comes over and asks: how do I put air into a tire? I hold the wand up, and say to press this lever and watch the gauge. He looks confused, so I press the lever and air comes out. Teenager: Ok, do I need to hold the lever all the time? … sigh … Wondering how a driving age teenager can be in this situation?

Because his parents don’t know how to do it either .

The real question is that most kids have smart phones now so why did he not use Google .


Heh heh. I returned a rental car in Orlando once and I told the clean up guy the front tire was a little low. He looked bewildered and not sure what to do. I had to tell him a couple times but not sure if he knew what to do. These are the guys working on the cars for the next rental. I don’t remember what company anymore, maybe Alamo or whatever was cheaper then. A lot of people never had bikes.


I used to top up my bike tires using the gas station air compressor, particularly the day when i would commute by bike. I grew up where even the local market was 1mi away but you’d start out riding to the market when you turned 12 or so then if you made it there and back a few times then eventually you’d be allowed to ride the 6mi round trip into town.

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I had trouble getting air in the tires on the boat trailer. First station, put a buck in, had to get change as it took quarters only. No air pressure, got my dollar back. Second station no guage, so bought one, no change in tire pressure. Got my Dollar back. 3rd station worked ok with guage but took $2 as it stopped pumping before I got to the spare.

That teenage boy is a product of his environment. It’s not his fault.

I’ve taken many youth on long bike trips. They’re all clueless on what it takes to maintain a bike. However, most do show a sincere interest in learning and trying it themselves when someone takes the time to show them how their bike works and how to maintain it.


Gotta learn sometime. It’s not something we’re born knowing how to do. One of my neighbors won’t do anything to her cars but drive and fill up. I offered to show her how to check oil level and she refused. I also offered to show her son how, and again she refused. I’m sure she couldn’t put air in the tires.

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Most of them probably wouldn’t know how to use a rotary dial phone, either.

Luckily, they will probably never have to use an old phone, but they should certainly learn basic skills such as how to inflate a tire.

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Don’t blame the kid…blame his parents/guardians. Before I allowed my kids to get a license I made sure they knew how to check the oil, check tire pressure and add air if needed, change a tire, how to use a jack properly/safely, how to properly wash a vehicle and even how to do an oil change.

Maybe this kid didn’t have anyone to teach him. Only a couple of my 8 cousins in NYC have drivers license. None of their parents do. So they had to learn everything on their cars on their own.


I continue to wonder how young people today consider themselves mentally superior to their elders despite so many of them being clueless regarding so many seemingly simple tasks.




And that’s why the older generation asks their grand-kids to set the clock on their DVD player.


Touche, Mike.

And maybe operating all the AI devices these days is more important than airing up tires, @MikeInNH .

I recall a temporary/trial hire who jumped on a work order of a vehicle with a missfire and after an hour or more I found him studying a scan tool, a digital scope and a lap top and all he knew was which cylinder was missing. I was amazed that he never paid any attention to the exhaust pipe which had the telltale thumping of a valve leaking. I had the advantage of a great deal of experience on older pre-EEC cars as well as being forced to stay up to date on all things digital. Looking back it’s obvious that my entry into auto repair was at a great time to learn all the basics before facing all the binomial BS.

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He had the basics and you had experience. I hope he took advantage of your experience and will continue to take advantage of the experience of more senior mechanics as he grows on the job.

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Simple to you and me may not be simple to someone else. And likewise simple to someone else may be a monumental challenge to me.

I’m the proud father of a teenage boy. He maintains a 4.0 grade average, played varsity baseball his freshman year and has played in the Babe Ruth World Series. He’s already been to college showcase baseball camps. He’s 1st chair saxophone in Jazz Band, and is starting the HS International Baccalaureate program. He presented my wife with a shopping list and made Beef Wellington for the family last Easter. Sometimes I’m so proud of him I could cry.

Sometimes I cry because this marvel of a boy is flummoxed by how to operate an extension ladder and had to ask his little sister for help. Just this morning I asked him to load some stuff in the pickup and he forgot he had to open the canopy hatch before opening the tailgate. I once walked in on him trying to adjust the seat on his bike, and his little sister was telling him “No, turn it to the left to loosen it.”

Now my daughter will take it upon herself to rummage through my toolbox to find some hardware to fix a loose bedrail, and while the tools are out she’ll adjust that door striker as well. Different people have different talents.

My dad never taught me anything about cars, past checking the oil and changing a flat tire. I don’t think he knew much else. He certainly didn’t know how to cook anything besides toast, and did not know how to operate a dishwasher or microwave oven. But he was successful in his own way.


It sounds like, despite his other gifts, he isn’t strong in the area of mechanical aptitude.
Some folks have certain skills, but not others, so I don’t think you should be too upset if he lacks your mechanical aptitude.

My wacky ex-boss couldn’t figure out how to operate the office copy machine. When the secretary was at lunch one day, I offered to make a few copies for him, and his incredulous response was, “You REALLY know how to operate that machine?” :roll_eyes:
For somebody like him, just pushing a button marked “copy” was an unfathomable task.


I remember one day when I was about 13, Mom had gone somewhere but she had made 2 plates for dinner, covered them with plastic wrap, and left a note that said “put each plate in microwave on high for 3 minutes.” Dad looked at that and said “come on, we’ll go out to get dinner.”

Years later, when I was moving out, Mom was rummaging through the kitchen looking for some cookware and dishes to set me up. Dad shook his head and said “Can’t you just go to a diner or coffee shop to get your food?”

My dad could barely boil water, but had integrity to spare. A good man. We teased him anyway.

If my dad could not fix it with his red screwdriver call a repairman. Thanks to auto shop woodworking and good acquaintances wife is still impressed with what I can fix. A lot of it was just my curiosity, finding how things work, and fixing things. One major fail, don’t know if anyone remembers the techmatic razor, Rotate the knob, new sharp blade, big cut on my thumb when I busted it apart as it was a loaded razor sharp strip.

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Probably won’t know how to change a flat tire either, but how many cars actually have a spare tire these days? And, to be fair, how many of us have actually had flat tires in the last few years?

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Last problem for me was a roofing nail in the sidewall, night before leaving for a 500 mile trip, nobody could get to it at 5pm when I got out of work. Called AAA, put on the full sized spare and put the tire with a nail in the sidewall on the roof rack. Got a new tire after the trip. 13 year old spare was a concern, but worked out fine.