31 Jul Back-to-School Car Care Tips for College Students
It’s just about that time of year again. Students are making lists and buying supplies to be ready for the start of the fall semester. Whether you go to college in town, or across the country, make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Routine auto maintenance should never be skipped or overlooked, no matter how busy your schedule gets. Here are some back-to-school car care tips, which include many preventative maintenance suggestions that may help reduce unexpected auto repairs and show you how to safely pack all your school stuff.
Back-to-School Car Care Tips
Before you leave to start your next semester of college, take a moment to check out your owner’s manual to see if you have any routine maintenance that needs to be done. When your vehicle hits those big mileage markers (30,000 / 60,000 / 90,000 miles) there are usually a few extra services that will need to be addressed, too. These service recommendations are a good way to safeguard your vehicle against excessive wear and may prevent simple issues from developing into expensive problems.
While exact numbers may vary slightly between different vehicles, brakes should be inspected every year, or every 12,000 miles.
It is important to drive with tires that have adequate tire tread. Low tire tread results in longer stopping distances and less road grip. Since most parts of the country sees more rain during the fall season, having safe tires is vital for students heading back to campus. Check your tire tread depth and replace them if the tread is too low.
Check Fluids & Filters
Your engine and the many systems in your vehicle rely on quality fluids to keep things moving (literally). Make sure you follow the replacement recommendations in your owner’s manual for each of the important fluids. Check them often, and refill when they get low.
- Oil Change & Oil Filter: every 3,000-7,500 miles (or as recommended in your owner’s manual)
- Transmission Fluid & Filter, Power Steering Fluid, Brake Fluid
- Coolant/Antifreeze: test the pH to see if it is time for a coolant flush, or if a top-off will be fine
- Windshield Wiper Fluid & Wipers: clean windshields are safer, so make sure the fluid reservoir is full and your wipers work
- Engine Air Filter, Cabin Air Filter: these filters should be changed every 6-12 months
Most standard car batteries have a life span of 3-5 years. Have yours checked and if it’s on the older side, you may want to replace it.
Bulbs & Fuses
All the interior and exterior lights should be in good working condition. Not only does this keep the driver and other motorists safe, it also aids in avoiding traffic stops and tickets for broken or inoperable lights. Check your owner’s manual for information on how to replace bulbs and check fuses.
- Head Lamps & High Beams
- Turn Indicators
- Brake Lights
- License Plate Light
- Cabin Lights
Safe Car Packing Tips
No matter what type of vehicle you drive, be sure to check its maximum load capacity. This information can be found in your owner’s manual. If your cargo weighs more than your vehicle can safely handle, it can affect your car’s handling, efficiency, and fuel economy. If you truly ‘need’ all that stuff, consider shipping some items to your dorm, or purchasing things like food and toiletries after you arrive.
Make sure to leave enough room to see out the back and side windows, so you have a clear view of the road and other cars while driving. Blind spots are an unnecessary risk when driving long distances. And be certain that the seat belts can work freely, without binding on any of your packed items.
Limit Heavy Items
Pack wisely and only take the bare necessities. Always stow the heaviest items on the floors, not on the seats, to keep the center of gravity low. This reduces the chance of your vehicle rolling in the event of an accident.
Secure Loose Items
Keep all loose items secured in a box, bag, or basket, so that it cannot break free and become a hazard while you are driving, turning, or braking. Items that you will need access to while you are on the road, should be stored securely within arms reach. Items that you won’t need until you arrive on campus, should be packed farthest back.
A little planning can help reduce the stress of driving back to school. Especially when you can schedule a service for all the important auto maintenance that your car needs to be safe and reliable while you are away at school.
Auto Repair in Plymouth Meeting, PA
Plymouth Auto & Tire Center is a full-service station providing complete auto and light-duty truck service and repairs. Our technical staff has over 40 years of ASE certified training and experience. We can take care of all your preventative maintenance needs to make sure your vehicle is back-to-school ready.
Schedule A Back-to-School Car Care Service
Give us a call at (610) 825-6558 or visit our website to schedule a service appointment today!