7 Ways To Get Your Vehicle Ready for Back to School

The school season is upon us! Your first assignment? Get your vehicle ready for back-to-school driving.

AAMCO  | 08/17/2022
Vehicle Maintenance

AAMCO illustration for 7 Ways To Get Your Vehicle Ready for Back to School

It's almost that time of year again! The back-to-school season is upon us, so it's time to start thinking about getting our vehicles ready for the upcoming school year.

For parents, this usually means ferrying kids back and forth to school and extracurricular activities. For high school and college students, it may mean driving to and from class or campus. Either way, ensuring your vehicle is ready for increased activity is essential.

Here are 7 ways to get your vehicle ready for back to school:

AAMCO illustration for 7 Ways To Get Your Vehicle Ready for Back to School

1. Check Your Brakes

One of the first things you should do is check your brakes. Over the summer months, your brakes may have taken a bit of a beating from long road trips, the stop-and-go of highway construction, or increased driving.

When it comes to checking your brakes, don't forget the main components:

  • Brake Pads: These are the part of your brakes that do the actual stopping. Check for wear and tear, as well as cracks or other damage.
  • Rotors: These are the discs that the brake pads grip onto. If they're damaged, it can cause braking problems.
  • Drums: Some vehicles have drums instead of rotors. These also need to be in good condition for proper braking.
  • Other Brake Components: There are a few other brake components that you should check, including the brake fluid, calipers, and hoses.

If you aren't sure where to begin with brake checks, visit your local auto technician. They can inspect your vehicle thoroughly and let you know if anything needs replacing. Various driving hazards occur in the back-to-school season, so making sure your car is up to snuff—especially your brakes—will make driving safer.  

2. Wash Your Car

A clean vehicle is a happy vehicle—and it's also less likely to have problems. Over the summer, your vehicle may have gotten dirty from all the outdoor activities and road trips. Washing your vehicle will not only make it look better but also help to extend its lifespan. 

During washing, pay special attention to the undercarriage, where a lot of dirt and grime can build up. It can be tough to clean if you let it go for too long. Over time, this build-up can cause rust and other problems inside and out.

3. Equip Your Windshield

Your windshield is your best friend when it comes to driving, so you want to ensure it’s in tip-top shape for maximum visibility. Here are a few things to consider when regarding your windshield:

  • Wiper Blades: Check your wiper blades for wear and tear. If they're starting to look a bit beaten up, it's time to replace them.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid: This is what cleans your windshield when you use your wipers. Make sure you have plenty of washer fluid on hand and top it up if it's getting low.
  • Windshield Cracks: Take a close look at your windshield for any cracks or chips. These can spread over time and cause problems with changing weather. If you see any, take your vehicle to a professional technician for repair.

4. Check the Cooling System

Your cooling system keeps your engine from overheating, so keeping it in good working order is essential. Check the following components of your cooling system:

  • Radiator: The radiator contains a coolant that helps to keep your engine temperature down. Check the level of coolant and add more if needed.
  • Thermostat: The thermostat regulates the coolant flow and keeps the engine at a consistent temperature. If it's not working correctly, it can cause overheating.
  • Cooling Fans: These fans help to move air through the radiator and keep the coolant flowing. Make sure they're in good working condition.

5. Change Your Oil

Your engine oil keeps all the moving parts of your engine lubricated and running smoothly, preventing overheating and mechanical damage. Over time, however, your oil can get dirty and break down, so it's good practice to change it regularly.

Most mechanics recommend changing your oil every 3-5,000 miles. However, this may vary depending on your driving habits, where you live, and the type of oil you use. Consult your owner's manual or a professional technician to be sure.

6. Restock Your I.C.E Kit

Your I.C.E kit is essential for any roadside emergency. I.C.E stands for "In Case of Emergency," and it should contain everything you need to deal with a breakdown or accident.

At the very least, your I.C.E kit should contain a first-aid kit, a flashlight, some flares, and a list of emergency numbers. You may also want to add a blanket, snacks, and extra clothes if you live in a region with distinct seasonal shifts.

If your location sees ice and snow in the winter, you'll also want to add extra items to your I.C.E kit, such as a mini-shovel, tire chains, and an ice scraper. Think through all the potential emergencies that could happen and prepare for them.

7. Get Organized

The back-to-school season is busy, so organizing your vehicle is essential. If you are like most people, your vehicle often ends up being a catch-all for all the things you don't have time to deal with at home.

Take time to clean your vehicle and eliminate any junk accumulated over the summer. This will make it easier to find things when needed and help keep your vehicle more tidy overall.

Consider adding a few cleaning items to your vehicle just in case, such as a small trash can, paper towels, and wipes. This way, you can quickly clean up any messes that happen on the go!

Handle Your Back to School Car Care with Your Local AAMCO Center

If you're looking to get your vehicle ready for back to school, be sure to consult your local AAMCO Center. We can help you with everything from changing your oil to checking your brakes.

We can also help you with more general seasonal vehicle care tasks, such as checking the cooling system and changing the wiper blades. No matter what you need fixed or maintained, we will help get your vehicle ready for the back-to-school season.

With your vehicle taken care of, you can focus on all the other back-to-school preparations for a great year ahead!

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