We should clarify: unless your car was built by Knight Industries and has the ability to carry on a witty conversation with you, it won’t actually be attending classes this fall. But if you’re heading off to college in your ride, you’re going to want to make sure it’s ready for the trip and the subsequent weeks away from home. Here’s 5 tips to get your car ready for the new school year.
Get It Serviced
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Considering all of the other preparation you’ll need to do during these last couple of weeks of summer, forgetting to take your car to the mechanic for a thorough servicing is easily forgotten. And by “thorough”, we don’t just mean getting the oil changed. Milestone servicing – in other words, the service that most cars need every 15,000 miles – is crucial to preventing breakdowns. Along with an oil change, your mechanic should look at all of the car’s belts, coolant system, brakes, shocks and struts, and transmission; if there’s maintenance to be done, take care of it BEFORE you hit the road. You don’t want something to fail when you’re driving across the country to school, and finding the time (and a trusted mechanic) once the school year starts can be a hassle.
Get It Detailed
Having your car detailed does more than make it look shiny. A thorough cleaning and waxing can help keep maintenance costs down as well. Waxing, for example, protects the car’s paint from the damaging effects of the sun as well as rain – and if you’re heading to snowy climates, that wax will protect the car from damage incurred by the salt and sand that’s used to keep local roads free of ice. Using fabric, plastic and rubber protectants help to keep the interior from degrading. And let’s face it – getting the smell of stale pizza out of your car will certainly increase your chances of getting a second date with someone.
Get a AAA Membership
Many AAA regions offer membership discounts to college students, but if even if they don’t the low annual fees are one of the best investments you can make. The best reason to join: the roadside assistance program, which nearly everyone who’s been a member has taken advantage of.
Get It Packed The Right Way
Packing your car to head off to college is a lot like packing for a road trip; you’re going to want to bring the essentials, and leave the heavy stuff at home. We found this excellent Pinterest board that’s stuffed with great tips on how to pack your car for college. Bonus hack: that shower caddy your mom got you to help you keep your shampoo and conditioner and loofah separate from your roommate’s? It’s a perfect road food holder.
Get Info on Car Services From Your School
Once you’re settled into your dorm, pop on over to your university’s housing and residential life office or public safety / campus police station. You can get information on local auto services there, and many schools offer a limited roadside assistance program for students who have car trouble while on campus (or in the immediate vicinity).