I can honestly say that having a car is my favorite part of being a teenager.
Whether I'm running errands for my parents or driving with my friends with the radio all the way up, I LOVE my car!
My car and I are very close. It carries my stuff and cushions me safely to my destination! I've even named my car so when it's going slow, or the weather is bad, I can comfort him by name -- Shmee (short for Shmilo). Yes. My car is a boy. And I feel like if he is so good to me, I should return the favor.
So I pamper my car. I clean it out every day and wash it on my front lawn every other week or so. I buy air fresheners and steering wheel covers and microfiber dust collectors and extra special windshield wiper fluid that even washes away bird gunk and dead bugs.
Which got me thinking, I pamper my car; how do my peers treat their cars? I had my minions ask around and here's what we found out from Top of Utah teens.
On a scale of 1-10 on how he treats his car, Davis High School senior Mitch Stephens rated himself an 11.
"My car is my ugly baby that only I see the beauty in. Ya gotta treat her right!" Stephens said of his car he calls the "ghetto hotness."
The lowest score any teen rated himself was a 5, from Taylor Stuart, whose '93 Chevy 4x4 has "gone through 16 years of hard work so it's dented and beat up."
But that doesn't mean Stuart, a Bonneville senior, doesn't take care of it. He washes and vacuums his truck, lovingly named Travis, at least once a month, which sounds pretty good.
So why the low marks? Stuart lets Travis the truck run on no gas -- a big, fat, NO-NO!
The remainder of our participants all rank higher on the scale, but why?
Shelby Craves, a senior at Bonneville, puts herself at 6 for car pampering.
"I treat the car itself well, but the inside is a wreck. Very messy," she says.
Craves also lets her unnamed car run on no gas, and lets people speak ill of her car without interjecting in its defense, which definitely deserves a lower score.
Other things that give teens a lower score on the scale: letting your car get low on any type of fluids -- gas, transmission fluid, engine oil, etc.; driving carelessly (hopping curbs, hitting poles) and speaking ill of your car, no matter how junky it may be.
When it comes to spoiling your car, here are some tips on how to raise your score:
SBlt Get to know your car. Your vehicle most likely came with an owner's manual, with instructions on how to properly care for your specific make and model. Your car might need oil changes more regularly than the rest of us, or what not. If you don't know about your car, you won't know how to care for it!
SBlt Get on a first name basis. Give that car a name! Sure, it may sound stupid and childish, but do it anyway. Your car has personality and spunk, and you'll take better care of something that has a name. Plus a lot of people do it, they just don't openly admit it.
Some teens we interviewed are not ashamed to give their cars names. We've got "Little Red," "Louis V (he's such a good boy)," "Golden Nugget" and "The Charmichael," among others.
SBlt Keep up with maintenance. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that you keep the inside free of garbage and junk. Wouldn't your friends rather stretch out their legs when riding with you, than have to confine themselves to a small corner of your car because there's too much junk lying around?! (The answer is yes.) You'll be amazed by the pride you will have in such a tidy car.
SBlt And lastly, take pride in your wagon! Your car is an extension of YOU -- the way you care for your car says a lot about how you care for yourself. Pamper it! Love it! Hang those mardi gras beads from the rear-view mirror! Spray that ocean-scented smelly spray! Get those seat covers with the dragons or whatever on them! Stick that sticker on your car! Turn up that radio and sing along!
Your car will love it just as much as you do, I promise. Pampering your car = pampering yourself!
TX. correspondents Cheylie Dotson, Davis High School; Hillary Slaughter, Layton High School, and Mackenzie Stephens, Bonneville High School, contributed to this story.
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Jenny Mead is a recent graduate of Ogden High School. She loves art, animals and being in the great outdoors. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.