College Students: Take Care of Your Car

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College Students: Take Care of Your Car

car maintenance on a lift

College car care isn’t in the course catalog. Depending on where you go to school, your car might sit for weeks without use in a campus parking lot two miles from your dorm. In the summer and fall months, that might not seem so bad, but when winter arrives, you’ll have to take more precautions to keep your car in good condition.

Here are a few things you need to do year-round in order to maintain your vehicle:

  • Regular oil changes: Whether it’s in a small notebook or a sticker on the window, keep track of when you changed your oil and when it needs to be changed again. Keeping a schedule for maintenance appointments is the most cost effective way to keep your car running for as long as possible. If you don’t change your oil regularly enough, contaminants can build up in your engine, and that can damage it beyond repair.
  • Before driving, do a walk-around. If your car has been sitting in a parking lot for a while, walk around your vehicle before getting in to look for flat tires or any damage. Leaving your car in a parking lot comes with risks, and one of them is having someone accidentally back into you. If you notice some scratches, take pictures of it, call your parents, and talk about what the next steps should be. You’ll probably want to talk to the college as well to see if they have any cameras that could help you find the car that hit you.
  • Get a check-up. Your car should have a check-up every year. Before you go to college or when you are on one of your trips home, schedule your car for a check-up with a trusted mechanic. They can check out your fluids, belts, battery connections, and everything else needed to keep your car at its best.

In the winter months, we suggest doing the following to keep your car performing well.

  • Have a battery check performed. Winter puts more stress on your battery, especially when you park your car outdoors. Kiplinger suggests that in order to avoid waiting for someone to rescue you in the dead of winter, have your battery and charging system checked before the snow and cold weather comes. Typically, repair shops don’t charge much to test your battery; some will do it for free. If you find out your battery is not in good health, you should replace it at your earliest convenience.
  • Keep a shovel, gloves, and scraper in your trunk. The college will probably have someone who clears the parking lot. However, depending on the amount of snowfall, you might have a pile of snow that’s built up behind your car. Keep the shovel handy so that you can easily get out.

Need an auto body professional? Call Great Plains Auto Body at 402.334.7100. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

photo credit: Day 286: “Checkup” via photopin (license)

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