The new school year is here and for the many students returning to colleges, either across town or across the country, their minds are on class schedules, textbooks, or who will be their new roommate. For those returning to their alma maters with cars, there is some preventive maintenance that should be done to insure their vehicle is safe and runs well when they are away from home.
Consider Leaving the Car at Home
With most college campuses offering a variety of ways to get around campus and the surrounding community, having a car may not be necessary. Using public transportation or campus shuttles often can get a student to most places they need to be at most times of the day and night. If you live on or near campus, biking or walking to class are always great options.
By not having a car at school you avoid all the expenses associated with a vehicle including parking fees, gas, insurance and car maintenance. You also are not the one being asked to drive others, or to loan them your car. Leaving the car at home can make a difference in a student’s health, environmental footprint, stress levels, and the contents of their wallet.
When a Car at School is Needed
In those cases where a student needs a car to get to and from classes or an off campus job, then you’ll want to make sure the vehicle is well maintained and safe. Breaking down miles from home adds to an already inconvenient situation when forced to find a mechanic in an area you are not familiar.
Car Care Council Recommendations
For students busy preparing for college, the Car Care Council recommends doing some preventive maintenance on their cars before driving off to school. You’ll want to check …
- Tires and tire pressure
- Hoses and belts
- Air filters
- Exterior and interior lighting
- Fluid levels: engine oil, power steering, brake, transmission
- Windshield washer solvent
- Engine mechanical
- Powertrain control
“When a car is properly maintained, it is safer and more dependable. A preventative maintenance checkup before heading off to college also provides the opportunity to have repairs made at home with your own technician who knows the vehicle, and helps reduce the chances of costly and dangerous road trouble,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.
Be Prepared Just In Case
College-bound students should have important telephone numbers in their cell phone or glove box in case of a breakdown or emergency.
Vehicles should have a roadside emergency kit that includes a flashlight, flares, a first-aid kit, a tire-changing jack, a tire-pressure gauge, jumper cables and a blanket. And of course a roll of duct tape and some rags.
One other suggestion is to have your student practice changing a tire if they have never done this. Trying to figure out how to operate a jack and change a tire on the side of a road for the first time is not the ideal place to learn.
Beck’s Auto Center
For those who live in the Greater Lafayette area, Beck’s Auto Center would be happy to inspect and take care of any problems on your son or daughter’s car prior to them leaving for college.
For those sending their students to Lafayette/West Lafayette for school, we are available if their vehicle ever needs any service. We’ll take care of them for you.