As the fall approaches, students are heading back to school. For those students who have a car, now is a good time for a refresher on basic maintenance. Here are some highlights for both parents and students.
Make sure your student knows where the dipstick is located to check the oil level. Also make sure your student knows what type of oil is correct for their vehicle. You should consult your owners manual to see which oil is specified. It is important to understand how many miles between oil changes is appropriate for their vehicle. I recommend changing the oil after 5,000 miles when running fully synthetic oil, and 3,000 miles when running regular oil.
You should also show your student how to fill up the tire pressure and make sure they understand they should check this regularly. Once the season changes the air pressure in your tires will change dramatically. When it gets cold you need to adjust accordingly. For every 10 degrees your car will lose 1 psi per tire. You should fill your tires based on the posted suggestion on the car not the tire. You can usually find the suggested tire pressure on the car either on the gas flap, the inside of the drivers door, or the glove box.
Something many people do not think about is windshield washer fluid. You should always make sure your windshield washer fluid is full, especially before going on a road trip. In the winter, depending on the climate, you will want to make sure you get a de-icer. A de-icer resists freezing in the colder climates.
A survival kit in the trunk is always a good idea. A basic survival kit should include things like jumper cables, a blanket, a small first aid kit, basic tools, and a flashlight. Students should also have a snow brush/ice scraper if you are in the snow belt states.
Finally, it is always a good idea to get to know a reputable mechanic or dealership near where the student will be living.
This list covers the essentials that many students are unfamiliar with.
Note: I would welcome reader input regarding the topics you would like in the future. Feel free to leave a comments.