Whether your child is going back to college or heading off for their first year, getting them ready for the time away can be a nerve-racking experience. As a parent you worry about their safety, and that should definitely include the car that’s taking them so far from home. Here are some preemptive car maintenance tips to make sure they get where they’re going safely:
On their way to school or during the year, your child is bound to have car trouble at some point, so you’ll want to verify that they have a roadside emergency kit, a flashlight and a quality car jack. Make sure that they know how operate the jack safely and change a tire on their own, and ensure the car has a stocked first aid kit. It’s also not a bad idea to familiarize them with the vehicle’s owner’s manual, so they’re ready should a more challenging problem arise down the line.
Just as easily as a flat tire or dead battery, your child may encounter a traffic ticket or worse, an accident. Check that the vehicle’s registration and insurance paperwork is up to date and that your child knows where it is and what it looks like, so they can easily provide that information if needed. This is also a good time to go over what to do if they’re pulled over or in an accident. Things like getting the vehicle off to the side of the road, providing the aforementioned information and taking pictures of any damage are all crucial points to reinforce.
Sometimes car trouble doesn’t mean a breakdown or incident. Your child could find themselves heading to a concert or to visit some friends and need to charge their phone or even help with directions. Make sure they have a charger for their phone and a navigation system or app, if their vehicle doesn’t come equipped with one in the dash.
In a Jam
Since they’ll be gone for the better part of the year and through the fall and winter months, preparing them and their vehicle for any type of weather is vital. Keep a plastic tub in the trunk of the car supplied with an ice scraper, folding shovel, matches or a lighter, a couple bottles of water, some sand or kitty litter and a spare change of clothes. If they’re ever stuck on the side of the road in a snow storm, these items will come in handy. It’s also a good idea to have them keep a small amount of cash or a credit gift card in the glove box, just in case they run out of gas and don’t have any money on them.
Sending your student off to college a few hours away usually means finding some way to make sure their vehicle stays in good shape. It is easy to maintain a vehicle at home where the tools and workspace are plentiful, but finding a NAPA AutoCare nearby school campus is a great maintenance solution. As a bonus NAPA AutoCare warranties their repairs even away from home, which means no worrying about mechanical emergencies that might creep up. Paying for mechanical emergencies can also be easily handled and tracked with a dedicated credit card that is just for automotive purchases.
Sending your children to college will always be a stressful experience. For the first time in their lives, they’re going off without you, so it’s even more important to give them the tools they need in case they run into trouble, especially in their vehicle. Although you can’t be there with them to help, at least you’ll rest a bit easier knowing they’re ready for anything the road can throw at them.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on preemptive car maintenance, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.