8 Do’s for Back to School Car Care
It’s that time of year again, kids are going back to school. Some parents are sad that the “little one” is starting a new venture in life and going off to college. Some parents are overjoyed and kicking back knowing that they are getting 9 months of their lives back (if you have had a college student coming home for the summer, you know what I mean). Which ever applies to you, the fact remains that if your students are driving, there are some extra things that should be payed attention to. Although we tend to focus on school supplies, books, dorm room amenities, meal plans etc.; one thing we should not forget is our kids’ vehicles. Whether your child is going off to college in a different town/state or whether they are high school students driving back and forth to school, we need to make sure that their vehicles are safe and reliable transportation, as we really do want them to be able to come back home. If we do these things together with our students, it will give them an idea of what to keep an eye on and teach them when they have an issue that needs addressed.
1. Check all exterior lamps and wipers to ensure they are working properly, especially the headlamps.
If they are cloudy, most of the time they can be restored to almost new. There are products out there you can try on your own or we can professionally repair them. The main thing is that we want our kids to have good visibility, not only for them, but so other drivers can see them! If the wiper blades are worn, replace them. You can test them by using wiper fluid and see how they operate.
2. Check the brakes at least annually.
If your student is like mine were, we know the car can “go” but we want them to be able to stop also! You may need a professional to inspect them.
3. Check tires for under inflation and excessive wear.
To check them use a penny and insert it into the tread with Abe’s head inserting first, if you can see all of his head, it is time to replace! You may also want to make sure your student knows how to change a flat tire before it becomes a necessity.
4. Check all fluid levels and inspect for leaks under the vehicle.
There are many different fluid colors and depending on what color the leaking fluid is it can help determine what component is leaking and requires your attention.
5. Check the battery.
If it is old, replace it. You can also go to any auto parts store and they can check it for you. But remember, summer and winter are the hardest on car batteries.
6. Find a trusted mechanic.
If you student is going to school out of town, be proactive and find a trusted mechanic near their campus. Believe me, it is difficult to diagnose problems and repair a vehicle over long distances or over the phone ( I learned from personal experience!). Additionally, it would be wise to include a tire shop just for good measure. Place these numbers in their cell phones for emergencies.
7. Make an emergency roadside kit for their car.
This should include a flashlight with fresh batteries, jumper cables, hazard signs, first aid kit, kitty litter for traction on ice and snow and a small shovel. These items can be rounded up and kept is a small plastic tote. There are kits that you can purchase at any car part store or local chain stores.
8. And as a reminder from your friends at Auto Works Collision Center, please, please, please buckle up!!!
This can not be hammered home enough. Although they are starting a new chapter in their lives, we still want them to come home!!
If this seems overwhelming you can always get a professional to check these things out. However, it is helpful to get your student involved with these maintenance issues. It will teach them what to keep an eye on, and give you peace of mind that they can handle what life throws at them