College Car Checklist
It’s an exciting and scary time in a young student’s life when he or she makes the transition from high school to college. For most young adults, college is an unknown territory. This often comes with a move to an unfamiliar city and being thrown among fellow students who are just as unfamiliar.
While a student has many things to worry about, so does a parent, albeit for different reasons. It is a hard time when children leave the nest, and most parents worry about the safety of their child when they no longer live in the same place. What worries most parents is their child’s safety when traveling to their college campus.
A lot of students have to make the trek to and from school, and this often means long car rides. One can see why a parent would worry. Before you wave goodbye, make sure to inspect the car.
For a smoother, safer transition to college, be sure to instruct your child on basic vehicle safety tips. The following checklist is here to aid you in preparing your student for all their college car safety needs.
Learn the basics.
Before a student heads out on his or her own, it is important to know how to properly perform basic car maintenance. It is better he or she is prepared if they happen to run into any problems. Make it a point that your child learns how to do the following:
- Check/change oil
- Check tire pressure
- Fill the windshield washer fluid and change the wiper blades
- Adjust the headlamps
- Check and replace the coolant
- Change the engine air filter
- Change and replace the power steering fluid
- Properly clean the vehicle inside and out
Find a safe place to work
The campus should provide information on where one can and cannot park. Be sure to research this ahead of time and encourage your child to take care of all necessary steps to obtain the correct parking permit. Many times new students have their cars towed and receive parking tickets because they are not aware of their campus’s parking policies.
Know your security options.
At night, it is always a good idea to walk to lots and parking garages in a group. Students, if you do have to go to your car, be sure to notify a roommate or friend of your whereabouts. Also, many schools offer nighttime escorts or rides to ensure the safety of students. Be sure to look into your school’s services before venturing to your car at night.
Give the car a checkup.
Before handing over the keys to an eager child, make sure the vehicle is in prime shape. Check that all the lights and blinkers are working. Have the car detailed and cleaned out. Another good step to take is to have it serviced, and make sure that you get an oil change, tire rotation, brake inspection, battery test, and fluid top off. This way, the chances that your child has any problems are decreased.
But, that doesn’t mean you should skip over number one. It is still a good idea to teach them how to check and replace any of those fluids in case they do encounter a problem. You don’t want to leave them helpless or at the mercy of an unknown repair shop.
Build an emergency kit for your car.
It is always a good idea to prepare for the unthinkable, even if no parent likes to. In the case of an emergency situation, it is always good to pack the following, along with any other supplies that might come in handy.
- Jumper cables
- First-aid kits
- Tire pressure gauge
- Paper towels
- Work gloves
- Spare key for ignition
- Bottle of water
- Granola or energy bars
- Basic hand tools (screwdrivers, pliers, etc.)
- Ice scraper, snow brush, and kitty litter to increase traction (if the school is in an area that gets snow)