Essential Car Maintenance for New College Students

Tire Pressure and Treads

There are two important aspects of caring for tires: recognizing and interpreting the signs of low tire pressure and then responding appropriately. Without experience, lights like the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) are low-information and often confusing. Reviewing the effects of seasonal change on tires is also valuable, as every 10 degrees shift in temperature corresponds to a 1 psi shift.[1] Tire treads are easy once the “Penny Trick” is mastered. A few seconds with a coin reveals when to visit Bauer Built for a replacement. “Don’t rely just on your indicator lights to tell you if your tires need air; get in a regular habit to check air pressure when you pull in for a fill-up,” advised Vice President of Sales Jim Mitchell.

Oil and Essential Fluids

Watching out for the check oil light is vital to prevent major damage to the engine when driving on low or no oil. New students shouldn’t hesitate to drop by a car service station when that light comes on.[2] Going with them for a check-up before they leave for school can break down any hesitations or embarrassment about needing professional help. Learning to check the oil level is easy just make sure to do it when the engine is cold and have your vehicle parked on an even surface.

Windshield Wipers and Fluid

Unlike coolant or transmission fluid, checking and replacing windshield wiper fluid is straightforward and easily taught. Understanding the different freezing temperatures of a winter wiper fluid versus a summer fluid helps students make that seasonal change on their own.[3]Worn wipers and suboptimal fluid cause streaks which contribute to dangerous glare.

Lights and Car Battery

Who hasn’t left their lights on overnight and found a dead battery waiting in the driveway? Running through how to jump a car makes the tangle of wires far less intimidating for new solo drivers. Additionally, explaining the importance of a monthly walk-around to check a car’s lights is much less expensive than a surprise ticket or parking lot fender bender. Have a friend help you to check your turn signals and brake lights. When deer and other critters start emerging, it’s paramount lights operate at their best.[4]

As the temperature and leaves begin to fall, every driver needs to review basic maintenance. That review is especially important for teenagers starting a new, independent phase of their life. A quick check-up at your Bauer Built Tire & Service is an excellent way to teach these skills and ensure a vehicle is performing at its best.

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