It’s back-to-school season for kids of all ages – ranging from those beginning kindergarten to those heading off to college. Is your child bringing a vehicle to his or her college campus for the first time? If so, be prepared for a few phone calls from your child regarding the vehicle. Some of the phone calls might start with, “Mom, what does it mean when the “check engine” light is on?” Or, “Dad, how should I find an auto repair shop so I can schedule a car tune up?”

While you might not be able to prevent your college student from getting parking tickets on campus, you might be able to provide your child with useful and practical advice when it comes to auto maintenance and how to find a good auto repair shop in the college town. If your child’s college is located far from home, you won’t be able to rush to your child’s rescue when things go wrong with the car, but you will be able to provide guidance and advice over the phone.

Following are a few tips to tell your child on how to prepare for being responsible for a vehicle while at college:

Make sure to adhere to the recommended auto maintenance schedule for your vehicle. Just because the vehicle is away from home doesn’t mean it won’t need a car tune up, tire rotation, and regular maintenance.

Get car problems fixed as soon as they become apparent. Don’t ignore car problems and hope that they will go away on their own. It’s important to fix problems as soon as they are recognized so they don’t end up causing additional damage.

Find an auto service center that is convenient and trustworthy. It’s good to identify a car mechanic and an auto service center so that you know where to take your vehicle when it needs regular auto maintenance or car repairs.

Subscribe to a service such as the American Automobile Association (AAA). As a driver, it’s important to realize that things can go wrong with your vehicle at inopportune moments. If you have a membership at an association such as AAA, you have someone to call if or when your car breaks down or you experience any type of vehicle emergency.

Don’t lend the car to your friends. There’s little doubt that other students will want to borrow your child’s car. It’s a good idea to advise your child that lending his or her car to a friend involves several risks.

Get snow tires. This only applies to students attending college in snowy climates, but many auto service shops recommend that snow tires be used during the winter. Snow tires help provide traction when driving during the winter, and can help prevent avoidable car accidents.

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