DIY

College Car Prep: Sending Your Student Off Safely

Sep 11, 2018

It finally happened. The day finally arrived. Your precious child has finally grown up—and they’re headed to college.

Of course, you never stop being their mom or their dad, right? So it’s important to make sure they have everything they need before you send them off into their next great adventure.

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And for most college freshmen, that means a vehicle in tip-top shape.

Here’s a helpful checklist to make sure your sons and daughters are safe on the road when they go off to college.

01. Get An Inspection

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If there was ever a time to get a full-service inspection just in case, it’s right before sending your child away to live on their own for the first time.

A service station will be able to check the belts, brakes, shocks, coolant system, transmission—and of course, change the oil. We promise you’ll sleep easier knowing that an expert has looked over your kid’s vehicle.

(Note: If you’re able to visit a service station, your local mechanic will be able to take care of some of the following steps for you. However, keep these tips in mind during the following months as your car approaches its next service milestone.)

02. Check Your Fluids

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Even if your kid is responsible and organized, there’s a good chance they’ll forget to regularly check the fluid levels in their vehicle.

Make sure the car’s engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are full. And check to make sure there’s not a leak anywhere either, or you’ll be refilling much sooner than you might’ve hoped.

03. Test the Car Battery

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Don’t let your child run the risk of missing a big test or a final exam because their car won’t start.

Test your battery’s lifespan with a voltmeter—analog will do if that’s what you’ve got, but a digital voltmeter will give you a more accurate reading. Just make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves and goggles when you check it. It might be a good idea to have your child keep a pair of jumper cables in the car, too.

(Note: If you’ve never tested your car battery before, we’d recommend having a professional do it for you the first time. Always best to play it safe.)

04. Inspect Your Tires

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A flat tire won’t just slow you down—it could potentially cause an accident.

Test the tire pressure on all four of your tires (plus your spare if you’ve got one) with a pressure gauge, but make sure you do the test before driving rather than right after.

And if you want to test the tread depth of your tires, all you need is a penny. Slide the penny between the grooves, and if any part of Abe Lincoln’s head is covered up, you’re good to go.

05. Check Your Lights

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This one is quick and easy, but it can save you a headache (and potentially a traffic citation).

Have your child turn on their car, then stand outside as they turn on the headlights, turn signals, brake lights, and emergency flashers. Given that each light comes in a pair, it’s pretty easy to overlook when one has burned out.

06. Pack a Roadside Emergency Kit

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One of the best things about our vehicles is that they’re sort of like mobile storage units, right?

We wouldn’t recommend making a car your second closet, but do pack a roadside emergency kit, including a first aid kit, a tire jack, a tire pressure gauge, flares, jumper cables, and other basic essentials like a blanket, gloves, non-perishable snacks, and a bottle of water. You never really know what you’ll need, right?

07. Sign Up For Roadside Assistance

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No matter how prepared your kid is for their voyage to college, unavoidable and unpreventable incidents will occur eventually.

One way to make sure your kid is always safe and accounted for is to invest in a roadside assistance service. That way they’ll have a lifeline they can call no matter where they are, no matter what the issue is.

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Tags: DIY