Often times, when college kids come home for the summer, their dirty laundry isn’t the only thing needing attention. Toward the beginning of summer vacation, we start seeing more cars come in for body repairs. Dings, dents and scratches that happened during the school year show up in our body shop in the summer because now Mom and Dad are able to get it fixed. Sometimes, Mom and Dad are the reason for the new dent! We’ve seen it plenty of times; parents start backing out of the garage and forget that their recently-arrived-child had his car in the driveway.
While you have them at home, now is a good time to go over some car maintenance basics with your student. You can teach them how to be responsible with their vehicle while spending a little quality time together!
TIRE PRESSURE – Even when tires appear properly inflated, air pressure may still be high or low so it’s a good idea to teach kids to check the pressure every once in a while, especially during extreme weather. Hot temps cause the air inside tires to expand, which can lead to a blowout in well-worn wheels. Cold weather can make the tire pressure drop. Not only will under-inflated tires wear out faster, the deterioration can also lead to reduced control of a vehicle, tire blowouts, and crashes.
For the recommended tire pressure, look at the raised lettering on the tire that says “recommended PSI.” Remove the valve-stem cap. Press your air-pressure gauge evenly over the valve stem until air stops escaping. Read the pressure indicated on the metered stick or digital gauge. If you don’t already know how to check tire pressure and add air, see this visual step-by-step guide by WikiHow.
FLUIDS – Your kids probably won’t need to learn how to change fluids since most places will top them off (including window washer fluid and engine coolant) as part of a routine oil change. But, it is a good idea to show your child where the fluid chambers are in case they need to add fluids in between oil changes. Most have gauges or dipsticks you can pull out to check current levels against a notch that indicates optimal levels. Don’t be afraid to open the hood and see if you can find it. If you’re running low, add more (if you can) or get it changed. Most importantly, never ignore a leak!
5 Most Important Fluids to Check:
- Engine Oil
- Power steering fluid
- Brake fluid
- Windshield washer fluid