College Car Checklist

With the fall semester of college starting, you may not see your child or car for another three months. College is a major life milestone for families and the thought of sending your child off to school in a vehicle on the road can be concerning.
Simple car maintenance tips – like checking car fluids and inspecting the tire tread – can ease your mind and help your child have a snappier, safer ride up to campus. Before sending them off, Michelin compiled the below checklist to help make sure the vehicle is road ready.
·         Adjust for Extra Loads: Towing or carrying extra items for that first trip to the school? If so, you may need to increase the vehicle’s tire pressure to accommodate the additional weight of the load. Refer to your owner’s manual for alternate recommended pressures.
·         Check the Fluids: Oil, coolant and washer fluids are all critical to keeping a car running smoothly. A quick check by you or a mechanic before the semester can ensure they’re up-to-date and likely won’t need to be replaced again until Thanksgiving.
·         Invest in a Tire Gauge: For as little as $1, you can equip your college-age child with a gauge to check their tire pressure.  Check tires “cold” for the most accurate reading. This means in the morning before you drive more than a few miles or before the sun’s heat can affect them.
·         Know the Proper Pressure: The optimal tire pressure for your car can be found on a sticker in the door jamb, on the inside of the glove compartment door or in the owner’s manual. Do not inflate tires to the maximum pressure molded onto the tire’s sidewall.
·        The Penny Test: Inspect your tire tread with a penny to make sure it’s not too worn. Holding Abe’s body between your thumb and your forefinger, insert the penny head down into your tire’s grooves. If all of Abe’s head is visible, you are likely below the legal and safe tread depth and will need new tires.
·         Keep the Seasons in Mind: It may be sweltering hot when the school year begins but cold weather is around the corner. Tire pressures drop along with the temps, so it’s important to check pressure each month. Depending on the school’s location, a good all-season or even winter tires may be needed to contend with snow.
·         Be Prepared: A basic safety kit stowed in the trunk can come in handy in case your child has car trouble at school. You can find ready-made kits at most auto parts stores or create your own.
·         Don’t Forget the Spare: Even spare tires lose pressure over time. Putting underinflated spare tires into service greatly increases the risk of catastrophic failure. Check your spare tire’s pressure monthly with the rest of the set.

Provided by Michelin. You can also visit to see other family stories and find advice on an easy transition into college for you and your teen.


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