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Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair Book, Workbook and Homeschool Resource CD 2nd Edition Review by Amy Christy

Michael E. Gray and Linda E. Gray
Rolling Hills Publishing
242 Eagle Flight
Ozark, MO 65721

We have a new driver in our home, and though he was familiar with cars and their maintenance, I thought it would be a great time to introduce this curriculum into our homeschool. Now that we have used this, I can see that these books can be used in any household! This is especially true with today's economy and the fact that people are driving their cars longer and paying special attention to maintenance.

This kit is very well put together. You will receive a hardbound textbook, workbook and homeschool Resource CD. I was amazed at what this course has to offer within its 20 chapters! It has everything one needs to know for choosing a car, car ownership, maintenance, repair, roadside emergency, and more! This curriculum was written by Michael and Linda Gray, a husband and wife team with years of experience in the automotive field.

Beginning with an "Introduction and How Cars Work" students will learn about major contributors to the automotive industry and a timeline of automotive milestones. They'll be able to identify parts of an engine as well as a Vehicle Identification Number, and will check out vehicles of the future in this chapter. Chapter 2 is all about buying an automobile. You'll determine your budget, learn about financing and payment calculations, how to work with car dealerships and the Lemon Law. Chapter 3 covers the expense of automobile ownership: car payments, insurance, fuel and routine maintenance.

Chapter 4 gives tips for finding reputable repair facilities and warranty information. Chapter 5 is a very important chapter and is all about safety around your vehicle, while Chapter 6 is called "Basic Tools." This was perfect for a "girlie girl" like me who doesn't really know my way around the garage. Each tool is pictured and explained in detail, which I appreciated. Chapter 7 is all about auto care and cleaning and gives some excellent advice. Chapters 8- 17 dig into the systems of your car. You'll learn in detail about the electrical, lubrication, fuel, cooling, ignition, suspension, braking, and exhaust and emission systems.

There are so many wonderful additions to the text. Not only do you have a thorough look at each topic, but there are many extras. The authors have included what they call "Tech Tip," "Career Paths," "Price Guide," "Q&A," "Web Links," and "Servicing" throughout each chapter. These are great pieces of information! The "Tech Tips" are wonderful. It's like having your own hotline to an experienced mechanic! There are no color illustrations, but you will not miss them. There are many clear drawings and photographs. This curriculum is definitely geared toward the visual learner.

The workbook is an excellent study guide with activities that correlate with the textbook, or you may download the activities free in an online workbook on their website This website is another wonderful resource for the users of Auto Upkeep. You'll find the answers to many of your car related questions there. Recently, they have added a "Car Q & A" forum at and free car care videos at as well.

The Homeschool Resource CD is a fantastic addition for the teacher. It includes a Syllabus and Competency Profile and lab activities for each chapter. We loved the lab activities. I'll be honest with you. When I first thought about this course, I envisioned this being more of a "father son" project, but I ended up being the one who participated in these labs. They were great! I am not a "technical" person at all and that's just the point. This course is for everyone. In fact, I think it was created with people like me in mind especially. The text is so easy to follow and learn from, that a person who feels quite out of their element in a mechanical situation can now be more at ease! The CD also has Power Point slides, study questions and answer keys, texts and exams as well as suggested grading. I was also happy to see in the "Extras" something called "Career Exploration." This is something that is woven through the whole curriculum.

As I had mentioned, my son began this curriculum with some knowledge of his vehicle and how to care for it, but after completing this course, I know he is fully prepared for car ownership. I learned a lot along the way, myself! I wish that my parents would have had something like this for me when I was sixteen. For new drivers, Auto Upkeep is a must! The kit is around $70.00, but I believe that with the knowledge you'll gain about your vehicle from the Gray's, you will definitely save your family money in the long run. I highly recommend this curriculum.

Product Review by Amy Christy, Marketing Assistant- Special Projects Team, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2009