College cars see a lot. They are stuffed tighter than a clown car, go places Mike Rowe won’t go, and all seem to emit the unique scent of greasy food and body odor. The other common denominator all college vehicles have is that they are usually mechanically neglected.
As former college students and now parents of college students, the WAK team members know that taking care of your baby at college is priority number one, followed only by taking care of your budget. So to address both of these issues, WAK has put together a checklist that will help you stay safe, confident and knowledgeable when you and your baby head off to college.
College Car Prep Checklist:
- Tune it up – This may go without saying, but let’s say it anyhow. If you are not mechanically inclined, bring your car into the shop for a tune-up and once over before you hit the road. Check the following items are maintained and working properly:
- Engine – Have the shop look and listen for anything suspicious. Find a shop you can trust by joining Women Auto Know for FREE.
- Battery – Check the charge and if the battery is approaching its expiration date, replace it.
- Fluids – Make sure all fluid reservoirs are flushed and/or filled. Learn where
they are, what to put in them and how to spot a leak by joining Women Auto Know.
- Tires – Get them replaced if needed, and rotated and balanced. Learn now to check for wear, damage and how to keep properly inflated by becoming a VIP Member of Women Auto Know for FREE.
- Brakes – Stay safe on and off campus by making sure your brakes are in proper working order.
- Insurance – Ask the parents for a copy of your insurance card, and be sure all insurance, registration and license information is up to date. Keep a copy in your car glove box and in your wallet.
- Maintenance Log – Whether this car is yours or your parents’, maintenance records are important. Get your own Personal Maintenance Log when you become a FREE member of Women Auto Know.
- Road Side Assistance – If you don’t get free road side assistance as part of your insurance plan, join a road side assistance program before you head off to school.
- Emergency Kit – All drivers should have an emergency kit in their trunk at all times. Kits are available at all major retailers and auto shops, and most will include:
- Jumper Cables
- Flashlight with batteries
- Flares/Safety Cone or Safety Vest
- Multi-head screwdriver
- First Aid Kit
- Bungee Cord
- Cable Ties
- Depending on where your college is located and the season, you might want to add:Blanket, towel, kitty litter, folding shovel, de-icer, window scraper, bottled water, non-perishable snacks and duct tape – cause you can always use duct tape!
- Women Auto Know membership! Join FREE and get Personal Maintenance Logs, Checklists, Safety Tips, Monthly Newsletters and tons of other information to help your students stay safe, confident and knowledgeable drivers, passengers and consumers!
Now that we’ve covered the basics, I want to mention a few add-ons that might not apply to everyone, but certainly do for some:
- Spare Key – Students don’t usually think about this one, but losing a computer key can be a big problem, and a big expense. Get a spare key made and keep in a key-hide box under your car, or with a trusted friend at school. Make sure you have a spare somewhere you can get to it if you get locked out.
- School Swag – Yeah, we know, nothing looks better on your car than some kick-butt bumper stickers and window decals that shout your school’s name! And we couldn’t agree more! But, these decorations can also become hazards if they are in places that obstruct your vision. Keep all decals, stickers and fuzzy dice out of your line of vision at all times.
Take care of your car now, so when you get on campus, you can focus on more important things, like football games and fight songs! Go U!