Plaes to teach teens to drive near Seattle

Our Japanese Auto Repair Blog

Good Places to Help Your Teen Learn How to Drive Around Seattle

If you have an upcoming driver at your house, you might be wondering how to teach your child to drive. While you could head out on I-5, that might not be the best solution for someone who hasn’t been behind the wheel before. It’ll probably take some time to warm up to that kind of traffic. Try some of the following suggestions for starters.

Magnuson Park

Located in Sand Point, Magnuson Park has various small roads weaving through the entire park. While there will be people in the park to watch out for, it’s a low-traffic area where speeds shouldn’t reach very high. This gives you an opportunity to show your teen some of the specifics of driving, while they drive at only 10 or 15 mph.

Discovery Park

Located in the Magnolia neighborhood is Discovery Park. It has some long stretches that are perfect for the beginning driver. There are some areas that are shaded and others that are in direct sunlight, giving you a chance to teach your teen driver about different lighting situations. With the lighthouse or the bluff as a destination, you can help your child learn how to safely follow directions or a map to find a certain location. The Magnolia area itself is a nice place to teach your teen as well, as it is a quiet neighborhood with long stretches of road.

North Seattle College

There are a lot of empty parking places at North Seattle College during the evening and on weekends. While you should always be considerate of students and faculty at the college, there are some peak times when hardly anybody is there and you have an open area to help your teen focus on parking, starting and stopping, going in reverse, and other skills.

Industrial District

The Industrial District is definitely not suited for your first lesson, but after your teen is comfortable behind the wheel, this is a good place to learn about railroad tracks, viaducts, and eventually venture onto on- and off-ramps to I-5.

Where to Start

Now that you’ve got some physical locations to start at, you should know where to start in the learning process. As you know, there’s a lot that goes into driving a car, and teen driver safety should always be your number one priority. The following are some points to begin with.

  •  Physical Safety – This includes teaching your teen the importance of buckling up, as well as having all passengers buckled. This might be a good time to talk about keeping both hands on the wheel at all times. You could also go over eliminating distractions, such as turning off the cell phone, turning the radio volume down, etc.
  • Basic Maneuvers – This includes teaching about safe braking practices, checking the blind spot before turning, turning correctly, coming to a full stop at lights and stop signs, staying at a safe distance from other cars, and aggressive visual searches for bikers, animals, runners, and other pedestrians.

While most of these skills can be learned at the parks or community college, there are some things that will require heading out on an actual road. Once your teen feels comfortable with safety issues and basic skills, you can venture into residential areas with low speed limits. Again, when your child is comfortable in that environment, you can move the lessons to the highway. Also remember your teen needs practice in the dark, during busy hours, and during different weather conditions as soon as he or she feels comfortable with basic skills behind the wheel.

Keep Your Car in Good Repair

Before you take your teen driving around Seattle, make sure your car is in good condition. Contact Greg’s Japanese Auto for all your maintenance needs at 1-800-794-7347.


Image: Shutterstock

how to change a flat tire

How to Change a Flat Tire: A Step by Step Guide

Too often, you’re not in a convenient location when you need to change a flat tire. Fortunately, with a little preparation, it doesn’t have to ruin your day. Changing a flat tire might be tricky at first, but before you know it, you’ll be a pro.

1. Collect Your Tools

The tools needed should always be stored in your vehicle. Items most vehicles come equipped with include:

  • A jack
  • The vehicle’s owner manual
  • A lug wrench
  • A spare tire (check this periodically to make sure it’s full)

Other items you’ll need to supply on your own include:

  • A flashlight or headlamp
  • A tire gauge
  • Wheel wedges
  • Work gloves
  • A rain poncho

2. Safely Pull Over and Park

The moment you realize your tire is flat, turn your hazard lights on and begin to slowly reduce your speed. Never settle for changing a flat tire on a narrow shoulder of the road. Slowly drive to a safer area. This could be a larger shoulder, an empty parking lot, or a nearby field.

After you have safely pulled off the road, apply your parking brake. Get out of your car and immediately place wheel wedges on the correct tires. If you are changing a back tire, your wedges should go in front of the front wheels. If you are changing a front tire, your wedges should go in back of the back wheels.

3. Loosen the Lugs

If your tire has a hubcap, remove it. They pop off fairly easy with the end of a lug wrench, but if yours doesn’t, you may need to consult the owner’s manual.

With the lug nuts exposed, give them a quarter to half turn counterclockwise using the lug wrench. They should be loose, but not completely off.

4. Jack Up the Vehicle

Check with your owner’s manual to find the right spot to place the jack so you can ensure safety. It’s typically underneath the frame near the flat tire. After it’s securely placed, begin to crank the jack so the tire rises off the ground. You don’t have to go too far up. Just look for light to shine under the tire, and you’ve got it high enough.

5. Remove the Bad Tire

Using the lug wrench, finish loosening the lug nuts and place them somewhere they can’t roll away. If the tire doesn’t come right off, give the sidewall a kick or two and it should break free. Set it out of the way on its side.

6. Mount and Tighten the Spare

Line up the rim of your spare tire with the lug bolts. Give it a good shove to make sure it sits where it should. With your fingers (not the wrench), begin to screw the lug nuts onto the bolts. Get them as tight as you can, but don’t worry that they’re not all the way tight yet.

7. Lower and Tighten Again

With the jack, slowly lower the vehicle until the tire touches the ground. Using the lug wrench, begin to tighten the lug nuts further. Lower the vehicle the remainder of the way so full weight is on the tire once again. Remove the jack. Tighten the lug nuts one last time, putting all the pressure you’ve got on the lug wrench so they’re as tight as you can get them.

8. Clean Up and Head Off

Before you clean up completely, check the pressure in your spare with the tire gauge. Put your tools away, wipe yourself off, and you can be on your way. Remember to head to the car shop for a replacement as soon as possible because spare tires aren’t meant for driving long distances.

9. Contact the Professionals

If you’re having trouble understanding how to change a spare tire, come to Greg’s Japanese Auto in the Puget Sound. Taking care of all your car maintenance needs, we’ll make sure to get you on the road again. Contact us today!

Best Drives With a View Around Seattle

Thanks to its famous rain, the Pacific Northwest is chock-full of natural beauty. Even the busiest cities in the region have ample access to nature. A simple drive across the floating I-90 bridge from Seattle to Mercer Island or Bellevue is a treat of stunning lake and mountain views. If you’re looking for scenic drives near Seattle that really show off our state’s gorgeous landscape, check out some of these routes.

Best Stops Between Seattle & Portland

Road trips make for amazing adventures whether you go with a group of friends or that one special someone. Although you likely have an ultimate destination you want to reach, the best parts of any road trip are sometimes the stops you make along the way. One of the most famous road trips people make in Seattle is to Portland as it is not too far, with many wonderful sights to visit along the way.

How to Winterize Your Car – Winter Car Safety Tips Every Driver in Washington Should Know

With the fall season gradually approaching, winter will blow in before you know it. Just as preparing your wardrobe to keep you warm and comfortable during the cold months is essential, it is just as important to prepare your car with specific winter car safety tips.

The experts of Greg’s Japanese Auto are here to teach you how to winterize your car with these winter car safety tips to keep it up and running safely this―and every other―winter driving season.

drive safe

How To Drive Safe This Holiday Season

Whether you are headed to sunny beaches or frozen mountains, driving during the holiday season can be full of fun, adventure, and occasional danger. There are lots of reasons to enjoy a road trip over the holidays. However, to ensure you and your family drive safe and make it safe and sound to your destination, consider these five important tips for safe holiday driving.

October Car Care Month: Prep For The Rain

In the United States, a driving exam is required to become a licensed driver and hit the road driving alone. It is required for one to know the rules of the road and how to drive in a way that keeps everyone, both the driver and other travelers, safe. However, no matter the extent to educate drivers on safe driving, there are a lot of situations one can not prepare for. You may comprehend the meaning of all the road signs, but what happens if you are unable to see them?

Remembering how to turn out of a skid is important in high-pressure situations, but it may be of no use when when your tires are too worn out to gain the right amount of traction to help you. No matter how aware you are with knowledge on driving in bad weather, you may still be put in danger. Your vehicle must be prepared at all times, just as you have to refresh your memory on helpful, hazard tips consistently. Luckily, October is Car Care Month; The perfect time to equip your car with everything it needs to drive safely in the rain.

October Car Care Month Means Check, Double Check, and Triple Check

Hopefully your car receives regular maintenance so that in the case of an emergency it will be ready; However, regardless of whether you are scheduled for maintenance or if your engine light is on, it is still recommended to double check certain parts of your car on your own.

Windshield wipers and wiper fluid – While windshield wipers act as the most obvious help amid a storm, they often go unchecked the longest. Your car may tell you when your wiper fluid is low, but it is recommended to routinely check to ensure your wipers work well and do not smear on your windshield. If they do, visit Greg’s Japanese Auto during Fall Car Care Month for $20 off on your windshield wiper blades.

Tires – According to Washington State law, driving a car when its tires have less than 2/32 inch treads stands as a traffic infraction. To measure this, you can use a tread depth gauge. Another easy way to check the tread on your tires is to take a penny, turn it so that President Lincoln’s head is upside down, and place the penny inside the tread. If the top of his head is concealed, you have the required depth, but if you can see his whole head, you are at a higher risk of losing traction on a wet road.

Brakes – Your brakes will likely be checked when you take your car in for its scheduled maintenance, however, it may be a good idea to have them checked every time your oil is changed as well. It is also important to be aware of the type of brake system your car has as your response in an emergency will differ in a car with an automatic brake system versus one without it. Come and visit Greg’s Japanese Auto during Fall Car Care Month for a free brake inspection and $20 off your brakes.

Lights – Aside from the fact that broken lights stand as a reason to be pulled over, your car’s lights are incredibly important in many situations. Taking proper care of your lights is one of the most significant car safety tips. Checking your lights may require the help of an additional person, but it is always worth it. Inspecting your lights for cracks on the lenses may save you from a bulb going out while you driving in the rain; Those few extra maintenance efforts could save your life on the road.

When Driving Is Daunting

Driving tips are not only for new drivers. No matter where you are or how long you have been driving, your safety is of paramount importance. Whether you need help checking your vehicle or you know something needs to be replaced, Greg’s Japanese Auto is here to help. The easiest way to make sure your car is ready for rain is to entrust it to the expert at Greg’s Japanese Auto. With their products and services, you can be confident that your safety comes first. Greg’s Japanese Auto is so concerned with your safety that they offer a free Roadside Assistance Program to their Rewards Members. Call us today to learn how we can take care of you and your car on the roads this fall.

Tips for Driving in the Rain in Washington

Tips for Driving in the Rain in Washington

Washington sees an average of 38.15 inches of precipitation per year, much of it being rain. This can lead to hazardous driving conditions, especially if your vehicle is not serviced correctly. While many people have been behind the wheel for years, learning how to drive in the rain is a special skill that can be honed over time. These safe driving tips are an excellent place to start.

Pay Attention to Depth

Make sure you pay attention to the depth of the water around you, especially during heavy rains. Driving in water that is too deep can cause your car to get stuck and can create several mechanical issues, including a stalled engine. As long as you can clearly see the markings on the road, it is safe to drive. Once they are completely covered by water, you need to find an alternate route.

Turn on Your Headlights

Whenever visibility is low, you should turn on your headlights. Even if it does not help you see any better while driving, it can help other cars spot you. If the rain becomes bad enough that you need to pull over and wait for it to lighten up, be sure to keep your headlights and four-way lights on.

Watch for Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning happens when your tires have more traction on the water than the road. As a result, you lose control of your vehicle as it grips the water instead of the solid concrete. Hydroplaning can happen with less than a twelfth of an inch of rain, so be careful and take it slow. If you do find yourself in this condition, steer straight and ease off the accelerator until you regain control.

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Condition

Vehicles in need of maintenance are dangerous on the road, regardless of weather. They become particularly hazardous in the rain, as you have to navigate unclear driving conditions while also maneuvering a car that is not functioning correctly. Regular maintenance also ensures that vital features, such as your windshield wipers and defogging mechanisms still work well.

Stay safe while driving in the rain by getting regular vehicle maintenance. At Greg’s Japanese Auto, we have years of experience with diagnostic and maintenance services. Our service advisors and technicians pride themselves on their dedication to the job, ensuring that each and every customer stays safe on the road. Greg’s offers additional protection on the road with their free 24-Hour Nationwide Roadside Assistance Program. All customers are eligible. If you are searching for ways to keep you and your family safe in poor driving conditions, contact us today to arrange for vehicle maintenance or to learn more.


Image Credit: Pierluigi.Palazzi/Shutterstock

AC running in car

The Benefits of Your Climate Control System in the Winter

The climate control systems in your vehicle can help make the seasons easier to endure in Western Washington. Your focus is likely more on the heating component during the winter months, but it’s important to take care of the air conditioning system all year round. If you neglect the A/C for too long, it can stop working completely by the time summer comes around. Luckily, running the unit even during the winter can prolong the life of your car’s air conditioner.

Use Your Car’s A/C Regularly to Prevent Breakdown

You certainly wouldn’t want your car to be any colder than it already is on one of the chilliest winter days in Washington. You should still make a point to run the A/C on full blast for at least ten minutes or so every couple of weeks. The activity keeps a few different components of your A/C in good health. Luckily, you can run the A/C and then immediately turn the heater to warm to avoid making your car unnecessarily cold.

Keep Rubber Seals and Pipework in Good Condition

Keeping your climate control system active will help coolant circulate throughout the system. Long periods of inactivity can cause coolant to settle into one place, and the lack of flow might damage the system. The coolant contains a lubricant that helps keep all the parts of the system oiled. If those pieces don’t get lubricated, it might create cracks and leaks. These kinds of flaws in the air conditioning system make it easy for necessary elements like cooling gasses to escape. If your vehicle loses too much of the coolant, the air conditioner won’t get your car very cold when summer rolls around.

Avoid Moisture Buildup in Vents

Long periods of inactivity can cause moisture to settle and collect in the vents of your climate control system. This collected moisture might harbor mold and bacteria. Developing such a problem creates an unpleasant odor in your car and can even pose a health hazard. Drying out the air a little bit serves other purposes too.

Any moisture that collects in your air conditioner can also lead to fogged windows. A foggy windshield is annoying at best, and it can even cause dangerous vision impairment at the worst. If you’re having a hard time clearing moisture from your A/C system, it may be time to contact a professional mechanic.

Vehicle Maintenance in Western Washington

Greg’s Japanese Auto offers a wide array of services to make sure your car stays up and running through even the harshest Washingtonian winters. Come in to one of our 8 Western Washington locations today if you need maintenance or diagnostics for your car cooling system.


Image Credit: Pavel L Photo and Video/ Shutterstock

Safe Winter Driving Tips for Washingtonians

Safe Winter Driving Tips for Washingtonians

Living in Washington exposes a driver to all sorts of nasty conditions throughout the year. Keep yourself and your passengers safe by brushing up on some safe winter driving tips. There are a few key things you need to know before taking to the roads this winter.

Black Ice

Dealing with black ice is one of the most common winter driving tips for good reason. Black ice is dangerous because it’s nearly impossible to see on the road. The best way to prepare for black ice is to know where it might be. It typically comes from moisture that freezes once it’s already on the ground, so expect to find it where liquid can accumulate.

Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses, and at the bottom of hills. Black ice is more common in shady areas where the sun can’t melt it. Go slowly and avoid sharp turns to minimize danger.

Heavy Rain

Downpours of rain can reduce visibility and create slick conditions. Stay prepared by keeping your car well equipped. Replace your tires as needed and keep them well-inflated to create maximum traction. Windshield wiper blades see a lot of action in this part of Washington, so make sure those are in top condition too. If your wipers are fresh and you still can’t see in the rain, it might mean you need new headlights or additional fog lights.


Snow can reduce the contact between your tires and the road. This makes it harder to control your car, so it’s important to make sure all your equipment is in great condition. Check tire tread and pressure before driving in snow. Since skidding can be an issue, double check that your brakes are in great shape as well.

Disaster Kit

In case of emergency it’s good to have some extra supplies on hand. Getting prepared with a small disaster kit can help you be ready for anything. Be sure to include the following:

  • Water and Snacks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blankets and Warm Clothes
  • Shovel
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Gas Can with Extra Fuel
  • Ice Scraper
  • Jumper Cable
  • Tire Chains
  • Road Flares or Reflective Signs
  • Greg’s Japanese Auto Roadside Assistance Card

Best Vehicle Maintenance in Western Washington

Regular maintenance is the best way to make sure your car is ready for anything winter can throw at it. Greg’s Japanese Auto offers premium services in all areas including safety diagnostics and routine maintenance. We’ll make sure your vehicle is tuned just right to handle any driving conditions you might encounter, but we’ll never try to over-sell you services you don’t need. Before you leave make sure to ask your Service Advisor about our complimentary Rewards Program that includes 24/7 Nationwide Roadside Assistance. Come see us today at one of our 8 locations in Western Washington.


Image Credit: Alexkick/

Greg’s Japanese Auto

Tired of auto repair shops that don't understand your car? Want a car mechanic who does? Come to Greg's Japanese Auto.

We only work on Japanese makes and models, and we have the experience and knowhow to give your car the service it deserves. Call us today to schedule your appointment.

Call Us Today

For quality service of your Japanese car model, rely on Greg's Japanese Auto Parts and Service. Call to schedule your appointment today at 1-800-794-7347.