Going away to college can be a difficult transition, and the last thing anyone needs to worry about two weeks into the semester is any variation of car troubles. That's why it's important to prepare for the responsibilities your child must carry as a vehicle-owning adult.
Whether a compact car, truck, or SUV, these tips will help make this transitional period into independence a little bit easier.
The future of any college student is a bright one. Your college-age kids will need a reliable method of transportation to reach their destinations and goals. That's why, when heading off to college, often in a new, unfamiliar place, it's essential to make sure your car is in tip-top shape to ensure the safest of travels.
Maintenance work should be a standard part of owning a vehicle. It's always easier and cheaper to have regular maintenance work than to end up needing complicated and costly repairs in the future. Safety is one of the biggest concerns of any car owner. It's not difficult to see the importance of thorough vehicle servicing and maintenance work before sending your child and car off to college.
We mean more than just a routine oil change. In addition to an oil change, you should have a trusted mechanic check out the car's belts, coolant system, air conditioning, transmission, brakes, filters, shocks, struts, and tires. If anything needs repairing, replacing, or rotating, now's the time to do it.
The decision to attend college is a fresh and exciting new chapter in a person's life. Beginning this new chapter calls for a clean slate, no better put into practice than by getting your car detailed! Detailing is more than just making your car shiny again. Keeping your exterior waxed acts as a buffer from outside elements. Keeping your interior dirt and dust-free helps your filters work more efficiently and last longer. More than just the practical side of getting your car detailed, starting a new chapter in life can be made much easier by having a clean, comfortable, and healthier environment in your vehicle. This practice also teaches important life lessons such as responsibility and pride of ownership.
3. Emergency Plan
Roadside emergencies are sometimes easy to dismiss as something "that will never happen to me!" Until it inevitably happens to you. While not everyone needs "doomsday" levels of emergency preparedness, it's important to have some degree of preparedness when moving to a new place by yourself. Whether you're prepping for the apocalypse or just a random flat tire, there are a few must-have essentials to consider for your safety and peace of mind.
The first thing you'll need is not something you'll store away in your trunk, but most likely in your phone (or written on a piece of paper and stowed in your glove compartment if you're feeling vintage). Often the first thing to do in the event of an emergency is to contact help. Saving a roadside assistant mechanic to your phone contacts eliminates the hassle of trying to google roadside assistance, maybe in an area with poor internet service. Instead, it'll be saved on your phone (or written down somewhere) and ready to go. It's crucial to find roadside assistance that offers evening and weekend assistance.
A few other essentials to consider storing in your car is spare drinking water and non-perishable food, flashlights, jumper cables, a small toolbox, and a first aid kit. Check out our other blogs on how to expand your emergency vehicle kit!
4. Auto 101
Moving off to college with a car means the student is now the sole responsible party for that vehicle. Even if the car or insurance policy isn't in their name, it's important to know how your car works and what it needs. You don't need a certified mechanic's level of knowledge, but a general idea of how your vehicle runs. This will help to identify if something is amiss. If you don't know how to change a tire, it's time to learn. There's a myriad of YouTube tutorial videos to make learning this essential skill easy.
5. All the Essentials
Moving away from home with your car means taking on most of the responsibilities of a car owner. So, make sure your papers are in order – car insurance, driver's license, state inspection. When thinking of your own vehicle preparations:
- Make sure your car is running smoothly. It is of the utmost importance. Take care of any repairs or maintenance work right away.
- Keep safety as a top priority. Have roadside assistance contact information in your car or stored in your phone contacts.
- Organize and keep all necessary paperwork stored in a safe place in your car.
These tips can offer a smoother transition for driving students heading off to college, as there's no such thing as being too prepared.
Sending our children off to college is an exciting time, but also one that often brings some anxiety. Knowing your child is driving a well-maintained vehicle can help to lessen the stress when it comes to their safety while on the road. Ready to get started on some of these tips? We are here to help. Start by having your vehicle serviced by our certified mechanics at Stewart's Donnybrook Automotive in Tyler.
We understand what's it like to put our children behind the wheel.