Your Back-to-School Car Care Checklist

It seems like only yesterday that the final school bell of the year rang. And despite kids still playing outside and enjoying their summer vacations, the new school year is looming ever nearer. Make sure your car is ready for the carpool with our handy Back-to-School Car Care Checklist.

Back-to-School Car Care Checklist

Whether you’re returning to classes yourself, preparing your daughter or son to move to their college dorm, or will be toting your children to and from grade school, you want to make sure your vehicle is kid-safe and road ready. Follow these 5 tips to SAVE your care from back-to-school season!

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#1: Car Safety Checklist

  • Brake inspection: Schedule a professional brake inspection to go over your car’s braking system. The inspection will cover the brake pads, rotors, drums, and make sure your technician checks the brake fluids, too. If your dashboard brake light is on or you hear noises when braking, you may need to have your brakes services.
  • Check tire tread & pressure: Check your car’s tire pressure and refill any underinflated tires, including the spare. Use the penny test to determine your if your tires have excessive wear by placing a penny between two raised sections on the surface of your tire. If Lincoln’s head is visible, it may be time to replace the tire because your tread is no longer deep enough.
  • Seat belts & car seats: Make sure your seat belts are lock properly by sharply pulling forward. Also make sure car seats are up-to-date for your child’s size and are properly installed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has simple tips on seat belt fit & car seat installation.
  • Roadside Emergency Kit: It’s a good idea to keep a small kit of tools & first aid materials in case of emergencies. Your kit should include:
    • Jumper cables
    • Tire jack
    • Adjustable wrench
    • Flares
    • Bandages
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Ice packs
    • Flashflight
    • Batteries
    • Blanket

#2: Car Air Conditioning & Heating Checklist

  • Have your car’s A/C checked and serviced. Make sure your technician checks fluid levels, drains & pans, electrical connections, and tubing. If needed, replace the air filter and repair any leaks or problems.

#3: Car Visibility Checklist

  • Check external lights: Make sure dirt & debris aren’t dimming your head or tail lights. Check all lights, including brake lights, reverse lights, and turn signals. Realign any misaimed headlights to avoid blinding other drivers on the road.
  • Check/replace windshield wipers: If your windshield wipers are scraping the windshield, making noises, or leaving patches, replace them before school carpool season. Make sure you have the correct fit for your vehicle and that it’s properly installed.
  • Check for windshield cracks: Small debris from trucks and highways can crack from your windshield. Repair any cracks immediately by contacting your collision center.

#4: Car Engine Checklist

  • Fluid levels: Check all engine fluid levels, including oil, coolant, transmissions, and power steering fluid. Refer to your owner’s manual for the locations of fluids and proper maintenance levels. Check hoses and, if needed, fix any leaks.
  • Battery: Test your car’s battery to ward off unwanted surprises. If your engine is showing signs of decreased performance, such as flow engine turnover, odd smells, or a swollen battery case, replace your battery.
  • Dashboard lights: If your dashboard is displaying any warning lights, have them addressed immediately yourself or your mechanic.

And make sure your car is looking its best for back-to-school, too! Bring your vehicle to Grieco Collision to get rid of any dents or scratches, or for a fresh detail. Don’t fret going back to school, your next summer vacation is coming sooner than you think!