The young adults in your home may be poised to return to campus — the ramen noodles, microwave popcorn, and mini-fridge are stacked in the garage — but what about the car they’ll be driving?
Many local college students are bequeathed their childhood minivan or Grandpa’s old sedan to take back to school with them and the Big Oak Citgo team wants to make sure it not only survives the journey, but gets them safely back to Bucks County for Thanksgiving Break!
Here is a handy checklist that can help minimize your long-distance automobile anxiety AND help your college student master the responsibilities of maintaining a vehicle:
1) Locate a reputable local repair shop near campus — use google reviews, yelp, or contact the school itself for a recommendation. Have your college student save this contact information in their phone!
2) Also save the phone # and account information for AAA or a 3rd party roadside assistance company. Keep copies of these cards with the insurance and registration to make them easy to access.
3) Teach your child how to check fluid levels — oil, coolant, and wiper fluid being among the most commonly-needed and easily-accessible reservoirs.
4) Teach your child how to install the spare tire.
5) Teach your child how to check and set tire pressure — here’s an opportunity to present your son or daughter with a tire pressure gauge! (Expect eye-rolling now and a grateful phone call sometime in November when the weather changes and he or she actually USES the gauge!)
6) Discuss what to do in emergency situations:
- Blinking check engine light
- Flat tires
- Breakdowns or no-starts
7) IMPORTANT: Assess the vehicle’s current condition and anticipate repairs!
Most shops will provide you with a ballpark estimate of the time and mileage at which certain wear items like brakes and tires will need to be replaced. Before sending your student off to college, get an idea of what to expect in the coming months — you can then make informed decisions about what to address now and what can wait until Thanksgiving Break. If services will come due during the school semester, you can plan ahead for having the work performed at a local shop.
8) Schedule a Trip Check — the Team at Big Oak Citgo can perform a Trip Check to inspect the brakes, tires, suspension, belts & hoses, and check the fluid levels.
9) If you have concerns about battery life or alternator health, request a Charging System test.
9) Resolve any check engine lights now, before sending your college student back to campus.
With some foresight and attention now, you can avoid many costly or surprising car troubles during the school year — plus, what college-age kid doesn’t want to spend a few hours bonding over a spare tire change and fluid-checking lesson?
Click the link below for a printable Vehicle Information Checklist for you to complete before the big send-off:
Back to Campus with a Car