Kids grow so quickly, don’t they? One minute you are swaddling them in your arms, the next minute they’re all ready to leave the nest and set out on their own. While this is an exciting time in your child’s life, it is understandable that you may be a little bit nervous as you send them off to take the first steps of their adult life.
It can be stressful to think about whether you have prepared them well enough for this phase. Will they remember to say please and thank you? Will they know how to stand up for themselves? Do they know how to stay safe? Will they remember not to text and drive? Do they even know how to tend to the simple things like how to put air in their tire, or how to change their windshield wipers? The first questions are hard to answer right away, but the last two are something that you can prepare for by making sure they are car savvy . In fact, one of the last teaching opportunities you should take advantage of before sending your student off to college is car maintenance. Doing so may also grant you a bit more peace of mind, knowing that they are driving off in a car that is safe to go.
Make sure that your student knows how to check their tire pressure, and that they know how to refill their tires when necessary. You may want to purchase them a tire pressure gauge because you know they will not go out and get one themselves. While you are looking at the tires, show them how to inspect the tread of their tires as well, and explain the importance of a good tread.
Every student should have a spare tire in their car. They may be worried about avoiding a spare tire a la freshman fifteen, but as a parent, you are probably more worried about them getting where they need to be safe with another kind of tire. Ensure that their spare is present, fully inflated, and in no way damaged. While checking on this, also make sure that the portable jack is in the trunk. This could also be a good opportunity to teach your child how to change a flat tire. It is astonishing how many young people do not know how to do this simple task.
College students, especially those new to the game, tend to forget a few minor checkpoints that are essential to car maintenance. Before they leave, make sure to teach them how to change the oil in their car, and explain the importance of an adequate level of oil. Show them how the dipstick works, and show them how to drain and replace their oil. Nowadays, many people take their car to the auto body shop for an oil change, but it makes more economical sense for a college student to know how to change their oil.
Windshield Fluid & Wipers
Typically, the mass migration to college happens toward the tail end of the buggy summer months. If they’re traveling any distance at all, they are likely to experience some splattered insects on the windshield, which can be distracting and dangerous. Show them how to replace the windshield fluid, and explain the importance of always having windshield washer fluid. This would also be an appropriate time to examine their windshield wipers and replace them if necessary. All the windshield fluid in the world will not help if their windshield wipers have fallen out of repair.
Driving with any indicator or beam light malfunctioning between dusk and dawn is illegal and dangerous. It can be hard to tell if your lights aren’t working if you are operating the car, and this, of course, goes for your child as well. Before they leave, make sure to check their high beams, turn signals, headlights, brake lights, and license plate lights. This is also a good opportunity to check for lights on the dashboard. If the check engine light is on, make sure to bring the car in for a checkup before they take off.
Moving to college means packing up everything that is important to your child and moving it to wherever they have decided to enroll. This is much easier to do when the interior of the car is clean. You may be tempted to give it a thorough scrub yourself, but this presents a great learning opportunity for you and your child. Have your child clean it first, and then inspect it. If it isn’t up to par, explain to them the importance of cleaning the interior of the car thoroughly.