CAR POINTERS FOR STUDENTS
Before sending loved ones away to college, make sure they know the vehicular basics
There’s always an increase in the home trepidation level at this time of year, when post-secondary students are heading away from home to attend university or college.
A whole new set of worries crops up when these nest departures involve a vehicle supplying the wings for our nestlings. Parents and guardians have dreaded expectations of that call when a desperate student phones with an auto-breakdown horror story.
No matter how carefully we research and select the right vehicle, they all take proper maintenance to safely and reliably function on the road. And as the great majority of those lucky ones to have wheels underneath them are driving pre-owned rides, making sure your young driver knows some auto maintenance basics can mean the difference between sleepless nights and peace of mind.
If you don’t have all the answers to provide solid advice on every topic, enlist some help. Fluids: Anyone who drives should be able to pop the hood and identify all the vital fluid check and fill points and how often they should be verified and topped off if needed. Depending on the age and mileage of a particular auto, doing this short, easy task every one to two months or so isn’t overkill.
Make sure the driver knows what type of fluid is needed for each application. Adding the wrong substance is one of the most common errors drivers make. If the vehicle doesn’t have an owner’s manual, get one, and tab the maintenance reference pages.
Bulbs: Vehicle lighting systems are critical for safe driving, and bulbs are subject to failure without warning. Young (and old) drivers should check all lights on a regular basis and know how to access and replace common bulbs. Some automakers list bulb replacement specs in the glovebox materials and some do not. It’s easy and cheap enough to stow a couple of common bulbs in a roadside emergency kit.
Flat tires: Roadside service subscriptions (and they ’re a great idea) aside, knowing how to safely jack up a vehicle and change a flat tire can be invaluable when it comes to getting out of a late-night remotesite problem. Of course, this first entails a cautious assessment of any environmental risks to personal safety. Sometimes it’s best to wait for an emergency service.
Wiper blades: Easy enough, right? Most of us can handle this DIY task, but if you have never replaced a wiper blade before, having someone show you how can save a lot of time and skinned knuckles.
Finding a reputable repair shop: Student or education facility resources can help with suggestions, as can neighbours and retailers.
Every young person should know at least a few things about their car before they leave for school.