Between sitting in class, studying, taking tests and spending time with friends, the average college student doesn’t have a ton of extra time to think about car care. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together this handy winter car-care checklist for you, so you know exactly how to take care of your ride during the coldest part of the school year.
H2: Run Your Vehicle Each Week
If you live on campus, you might do a majority of your travelling on foot or by bus, leaving your vehicle out in the cold for long stretches of time. All vehicles,especially older ones, are susceptible to the elements. Severe drops in temperature can lead to a loss of pressure in tires, fluids freezing, and hoses, seals and belts becoming brittle.
To help prevent this cold-weather damage, it’s a good idea to run your car for at least a few minutes once or twice a week. A quick food run or drive around campus should be all you need. It’s not a good idea to just idle your vehicle for any length of time. Even if it costs you that great parking spot, take advantage of the drive to make sure your vehicle runs smoothly.
H2: Get Regular Oil Changes
There are many places where you can get quick and relatively inexpensive oil changes, and you should do this at the recommended interval, especially if your vehicle is not being driven often while at school.
Some repair facilities will go over a safety checklist with you and let you know what shape your vehicle is in. They usually include things like:
- Wiper blades
- Tire pressure
- Exterior lights
- Fluid levels
These repair facilities can top your vehicle’s fluids off for you. Some may provide the additional fluid for free, while some may charge a nominal fee. However, paying a bit more than the price of an oil change to top off your fluids is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
H2: Stock Up on Emergency Supplies
No matter how well you take care of your vehicle, there’s always the chance that it could break down on you in the winter. To make sure you’re prepared, consider keeping the following items in your vehicle:
- Jumper cables
- A blanket or two
- Ice and snow scraper
- A small shovel
- Portable cell phone charger
- Properly-inflated spare tire
If you find yourself stranded and don’t know what to do, many insurance companies offer roadside assistance, either over the phone or through an app. Whatever you do, make sure you’ve got a breakdown plan together before you head out into the cold.
When you get a vehicle, you don’t just get a mechanical object with shiny wheels, you get a sense of freedom and independence. Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you throughout your college experience.