Congratulations to all our Austin high school graduates and their parents! You’ve hit a major milestone, and now it’s time to start thinking about the next step to college. As you prepare over the following months, don’t forget about teaching your child some automotive basics that will keep them safely on the road in between trips back home.
Tire Pressure: Make sure your child has a good tire pressure gauge in the car at all times and knows how to use it. Even if the car has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), teach your child to get in the habit of visually checking the tires every one to two weeks instead of relying on the TPMS only.
Fuel: Check your child’s vehicle owner’s manual to confirm what grade of fuel should be used in the car. A lot of people assume using the highest grade fuel will result in optimal engine performance, but that’s incorrect. Manufacturers will state in the owner’s manual which grade of fuel is best for a specific vehicle.
Engine Oil: If your child has never looked under the hood of the car, checking the engine oil is an easy way to start getting familiar with basic car care. Make sure to write down the grade of oil that is needed for the vehicle in the car manual and teach your child how to check the oil level. Even better, give a bottle of the recommended engine oil to your child to keep in case it needs to be topped off in between visits home.
Coolant: Another simple, automotive check under the hood is for the engine coolant. Identify for your child where the coolant recovery tank is and make sure the fluid level is always between the maximum and minimum level lines. A quick check every couple of weeks is ideal if your child is going to school in a hot climate like Texas.
Head and Tail Lights: Working headlights and taillights are easy to check and can keep your child safe on the road. Whenever they’re picking up a friend, suggest they ask the friend to take a quick trip around the car to make sure all lights are working properly. We’re sure the friend will appreciate the safety check as well.
For parents, when your college kids come home and you take their vehicle in for routine car care, consider asking the mechanic to do a quick inspection for any possible problems. You don’t always know the conditions the car has been through while your child has been away at school, so a quick check by a professional can help identify issues early.
The Auto Stoppe is a local, family-owned and operated business serving the greater Austin area since 1980. We’re a full-service, auto repair shop providing exceptional service on both domestic and foreign vehicles.