A Guide to Your First Car

My mom made me take an auto maintenance class with her at the Chapel Hill Senior Center (!) when I turned 16. I griped a little, but the things I learned -- how to change a tire, check my air filter, and set up jumper cables the right way -- were pretty valuable. That's why I love Erika Stalder's In the Driver's Seat (Zest Books). It's a girls' guide to her first car, and it's packed with tips and advice that help you navigate the driving world. (You already know to never text and drive, right?) The first chapters are on how to buy a car, so this book is good to pick up even if you're not on the road yet.

Through diagrams and witty sidebars, In the Driver's Seat illustrates things like where your car's shocks are, ways to erase paint scrapes, and how the brake system works (this is key). The book gives such straightforward instructions that I daresay a girl could skip a trip to the mechanic's -- at least for smaller things like checking fluids and replacing fuses. 

Stash this one in your glove compartment along with a flashlight, air gauge and LED flares, per the "Must-Haves Kit" chapter. You can learn a lot here!