Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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    Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge

    Aids for the Boy-Led Scout Troop

    Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge is very new (2009) but fast becoming quite popular as provides scouts a hands on experience with a popular subject. - So make the most of it!

    Sample Activity Plan

    A) Make Your Plan
    The Trail to Adventure Fun!

      1. Merit Badge Activity Preview

      2. Sample Plan Outline
      Note: This Plan is a Draft - Some dates, events and activities may change after reviewing it with your leaders.

      • Make draft of Event Flyer (See Example Here).
      • Each Participant to be notified that he needs:
      • Event Dates / Places / Dress Code / Supplies / Etc.
      • Pre-requisites (ie worksheet, blue card, research materials)
      • Homework Requirements
      • Service Project Opportunities? (See Extra Credit)
      • Outdoor & Camping Opportunities? (See Extra Credit)
      • Other Related Scouting Activities? (See Extra Credit)

      3. Meet the Merit Badge Counselor
      Review your plan with the merit badge counselor. Some activities require his advance approval. The Scoutmaster should be able to recommend a counselor to you.

      4. Patrol Leader Council
      Present Activity Proposal to your fellow patrol leaders and scoutmaster. Make assignments as needed.

      5. Field Trip Plan

      • Contact the destination venue. Confirm that they can assist with the Field Trip Requirements. Reserve your Event Dates.
      • Troop Historian should be ready to take pictures on this activity to report back on the next troop blog, newsletter or court of honor.

      6. Announce & Start Activity

      • Get final approval from your scoutmaster.
      • Update event flyer (#2) above.
      • Distribute event flyer / Begin Introduction

      7A. Vehicle Access
      You will need access to a car or truck and its owner's manual to meet some of the requirements for this merit badge. You may also want to have replacement filter, oil, plugs, etc available too.

    Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge B) Introduction
    Present the plan to your patrol or troop (Either at your first activity meeting or sometime earlier.)

    Here are some ideas to show why this activity will be both fun and important.

    Modern automobiles are important to many aspects of daily life. The Automotive Maintenance merit badge enables scouts to understand why certain periodic maintenance is required to keep their vehicles in tip-top shape.

    Meet Dr. Drip - Drip's Tips for Preventative Maintenance

    Automotive MaintenanceMerit Badge D) Study Hall

    The purpose of this section is to facilitate an opportunity for scouts to research and learn about key concepts relevant to this subject. Be prepared to explain these concepts to the counselor.

    While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles intruduced here would be relevant.

    This Study Hall will probably require two sessions to cover all 7 major study points.

      - Audio Visual Unit for How Car Works Videos
      - Merit Badge Worksheet for every scout

      How Cars Work
      A extensive digital library of learning resources for future mechanics created by the folks at is worth checking out for the latest cool videos.

      Req #1a: Safety First
      Explain to your counselor the hazards you are most likely to encounter during automotive maintenance activities, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, or lessen these hazards.

      Req #2: General Maintenance, Safety and Registration
      a. Review the maintenance chart in the owner's manual. Explain the requirements and time limits.
      g. Explain the purpose, importance, and limitations of safety belts and passive restraints.
      h. Find out the requirements for the state inspection in your state, including how often a vehicle needs to be inspected.
      i. Explain the importance of registering a vehicle and find out the annual registration fee for renewing your family car's registration.

      Automotive MaintenanceMerit Badge Req #5: Combustion Engines
      a. Explain how an internal combustion engine operates. Tell the differences between gasoline and diesel engines. Explain how a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle is powered.
      b. Explain the purpose of engine oil. Explain the API service code, the SAE number, and the viscosity rating.
      c. Explain where to find the recommended oil type and the amount of oil to be used in the vehicle's engine.
      3D Combustion Engine Animation - Courtesy
      Hybrid Engine Animation - Courtesy Thomas Schwenke.
      Engine Block Diagram -

      Req #8: Ignition and electrical systems.
      a. Diagram and explain the parts of the electrical system.
      b. Explain the cylinder engine sequence.
      c. Explain the purpose of the spark gap.
      Vehicle Electrical System Animation - Courtesy Technical Training.
      Electrical System diagram -

      Req #9: Drive Train.
      a. Diagram the drive train and explain the different parts.
      b. Explain the difference between automatic and standard transmissions.
      Vehicle Drive Train Animation - Courtesy ACDelco.
      Drive Train diagram -

      Automotive MaintenanceMerit Badge Req #10: Braking Systems.
      a. Explain the brake system (including anti-lock systems) and how it operates.
      b. Explain the differences between disc and drum systems.
      Vehicle Brake System Animation - Courtesy Automotive Basics YouTube Channel

      Req #12: Automotive Industry Careers
      Find out about three career opportunities in the automotive industry. Pick one and find out about the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
      Top Gear Careers in the Auto Industry - Courtesy NDTV.


    Automotive MaintenanceMerit Badge E) Patrol Activity

    A primary feature of this merit badge is an activity session to allow scouts to get under the hood of a automobile.

      You will need access to a car or truck and its owner's manual to meet some of the requirements for this merit badge.
      - You may also want to have replacement filter, oil, plugs, etc available too.
      - Grubby Clothes and Greese Rag for all Participants

      Req #1b: Tool Shop Inspection
      Discuss with your counselor the safety equipment, tools, and clothing used while checking or repairing a motor vehicle. Use this equipment, tools, and/or clothing (when needed or called for) in meeting the requirements for this merit badge.

      Req #2b: General Vehicle Inspection
      Demonstrate how to check the following:

      1. Brake Fluid
      2. Engine Oil
      3. Coolant
      4. Power steering fluid
      5. Windshield washer fluid
      6. Transmission fluid
      7. Battery fluid (if possible) and condition of the battery terminals

      Req #2c: Vehicle Component Tour
      c. Fuses: Locate the fuse boxes; determine the size of fuses. Demonstrate the proper replacement of burned-out fuses.
      d. Belts: Demonstrate how to check the condition and tension of belts and hoses.
      e. Lighting: Check the lighting in the vehicle, including instrument, warning, and exterior bulbs.
      f. Air Filter: Locate and check the air filter.

      Automotive MaintenanceMerit Badge Reg #3: Dashboard Inspection
      a. Gauges: Explain the function of the fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, and engine temperature gauge. Point out each one on the instrument cluster.
      b. Warning Lights: Explain the symbols that light up on the dashboard and the difference between the yellow and red symbols. Explain each of the indicators on the dashboard, using the owner's manual, if necessary.

      Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge Req #4: Tire Inspection
      a. Explain the difference between tire manufacturer's and vehicle manufacturer's specifications and show where to find them.
      b. Demonstrate how to check pressure and properly inflate a tire. Check the spare tire and make sure it is ready for use.
      c. Explain why wheel alignment is important to the life of a tire. Explain camber, caster, and toe-in adjustments on wheel alignment.
      d. Explain the purpose of the lateral-wear bar indicator.
      e. Explain how to dispose of old tires in accordance with local laws and regulations.

      Vehicle Systems Inspection
      8d. Battery Jump: Demonstrate how to safely connect jumper cables to your car battery.
      10c. Brake Inspection: Demonstrate how to check the condition of a vehicle's brake system. After checking make recommendations for repairs (if necessary).
      11c. Car Jack: Locate the manufacturer's jack Use the jack to demonstrate how to engage the jack correctly on the vehicle, then change a tire correctly.
      11d. Oil Filter: Perform an oil filter and oil change on a vehicle. Explain how to properly dispose of the used oil and filter.

    Automotive Maintenance Merit Badge G) Program Final Debriefing

    After completion of all activities there should be a final session with the merit badge counselor. In this meeting each scout has the opportunity to discuss and reflect with him on what they learned and future educational and work opportunities that exist in this field.

    H) Extra Credit

    Never add to or take away from the stated merit badge requirements. The material presented below is intended only to add fun for the patrol by way of either activity or community service.

    While not part of the badge requirements, this program has the opportunity to participate in related cool activities to gain further education and experience in this topic. Most importantly is for each scout to have FUN! Seriously consider how each of the following ideas (or a modification thereof) can enhance the experience for your patrol.

      Automotive MaintenanceMerit Badge

      1. Tour Local Automotive Theme Museum
      Your hometown variance maybe a sort of antique industrial equipment museum or such. Provide service at said museum or get a VIP behind the scenes tour of a vehicle restoration project.

      2. Tour Local Car Show or Festival

      3. Community Service Project
      Your charter organization (church, school, or club) may have some neighbors/residents in need of assistance with basic vehicle upkeep and service issues.

    J) Automotive Maintenance Famous Quotes:

      Edward Herrman - Automobiles have always been part of my life, and I'm sure they always will be. What is it about them that moves me? The sound of a great engine, the unity and uniqueness of an automobile's engineering and coachwork, the history of the company and the car, and, of course, the sheer beauty of the thing.
      Anthony Foxx - The whole idea that vehicles in the future will communicate with each other is a really big deal. It's a big deal for safety... and it's an opportunity to engage the automobile in the work of ensuring collision avoidance. Anthony Foxx

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