Car Experts Offer Suggestions for Students Heading off to College
College students are preparing to drive off to campus this month to start classes and live on their own. Car care Milex Complete Auto Care and Mr. Transmission, two of the nation’s leading franchises of transmission and general automotive repair, are providing area students with maintenance tips to keep their vehicles running smoothly as they head off to school this fall.
“College students are often relatively new car owners who have relied on their parents for maintenance schedules and advice,” said Peter Baldine, President of Moran Family of Brands.
“Now that they are going out on their own, they will need to know the best ways to take care of their vehicles while they are away from home. We want to offer some suggestions for students to best maintain their cars so they can be safe and get the best performance out of their automobile.”
An important part of keeping cars safe and running properly is to develop routine maintenance schedules.
Before leaving home – A visit to the local, trusted auto repair shop for a routine maintenance exam is recommended at least two weeks before heading off to college. The following should be monitored regularly and professionally checked to make sure the car is in top condition:
• Engine fluids – It is important to check all of the car’s vital engine fluids such as transmission, coolants, braking and steering on a regular basis. Most critical is to have the engine’s oil replaced every 3,000 miles. Regular oil changes are considered the single most important thing anyone can do to maintain the life of their vehicle.
• Air filter – A car’s air filter should be changed each year or every 15,000 miles. This gives the vehicle a good supply of clean air and prevents poor fuel economy and performance. A convenient time to have the filter checked or replaced is during oil change appointments.
• Battery – The typical life of a vehicle battery lasts four to five years. Having the battery checked or replaced in advance is much better than not having the car start at an inopportune time several months later while on campus.
• Tire Rotation – Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. This will extend the life of the tires with even wear and will provide added safety on the road.
• Steering and alignment – Drivers noticing their cars drifting slightly to the right or left should have their alignment checked. Faulty steering systems can lead to a breakdown or collision.
Once on campus – There a number of do-it-yourself tricks that students can do to inspect and take care of their cars on a regular basis. Perhaps most importantly to college students, they are quick, inexpensive and don’t require much automobile knowledge or experience:
• Windshield wipers – Wipers should be replaced every 6-12 months, or if they start to crack or rip. New wipers are inexpensive and can be easily changed by the car owner.
• Tires – Tires should be checked regularly so the pressure matches the prescribed levels in the owner’s manual. They should also be inspected for proper tread. A simple and time-honored, yet effective, way to do this is with a penny. Here’s how:
Hold the penny at the bottom, at Abe Lincoln’s shoulders, and insert the coin into the tire’s tread so that his head is pointing into the tire towards the center of the wheel. If Abe’s head fully visible, it is an indication the tires are worn and should be replaced; if the top of Abe’s head is covered up by the tire tread, there are still some miles left on the tires.
• Lights – A basic check of the lights can be done by turning them on and walking around the vehicle to make sure all are in proper working condition. This includes headlights, brake lights, hazards and blinkers. Checking the lights takes only a few minutes and is important to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road.
From Milex Complete Auto Care