7 Car Care Tips for the College Student

November 13, 2012

 College student s have a lot on their minds and taking good care of their cars is not a top priority. They’re notorious for missing oil changes, forgetting tire rotations, and letting their cars get filthy. What many don't know is that neglecting your car during college can cause unnecessary damage and decrease its resale value over time. If you’re mature enough to have a car in college, then you should be capable of taking care of it too. A little TLC can go a long way, even when you’re a broke college student. Here are seven car care tips for the college student.

  1. Check tire pressure and tread at least once a month:

    College students, like so many of us, forget to check their tire tread and pressure. Neglecting your tires and letting them become under inflated can lead to tire failure and other issues. At least once a month, make a point to check the pressure in all of your tires using a tire gauge. If your tires need more air, fill them up to the correct psi for your vehicle. If you don’t know your vehicle’s psi, you can find this number on the tire’s information label located on the driver’s side doorjamb or in your owner’s manual.

  2. Get your oil changed every 3,000 miles:

    You’ve probably heard a few differing opinions on how often your vehicle’s oil should be changed, and although you may be able to get away with one or two oil changes a year, it’s not a bad idea to stick to the recommended oil change every 3,000 miles or every three months. This is especially important if you drive in stop-and-go city traffic, take long road trips, or drive in dusty conditions. Hot and cold weather can affect the severity of service, as well.

  3. Change your air filter annually:

    The next time you get your oil changed and the mechanic asks if you’d like a new air filter, don’t just brush him off and assume you don’t need one. If it’s been more than a year or past the 15,000-mile mark since you had your air filter replaced, then it’s time to get a new one. Driving around with a dirty air filter restricts airflow and causes poor fuel economy and performance.

  4. Rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles:

    Rotating your tires is the key to maintaining even wear. As a rule of thumb, tire rotations should be done every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, unless otherwise noted in your car’s owner’s manual. Not only will this extend the life of your tires and give you a smooth ride, but it will also keep you safe on the road and save you money.

  5. Keep it clean:

    College students are notorious for being downright filthy. Much like their dorm rooms, college students’ cars are covered in dust, dirt, and remnants of last week’s dinner. And that’s only referring to the inside. Many college kids don’t even bother to get their car washed either. They let the grime, tree sap, and bird poop coat their cars for several months and expect it to come out sparkling after one trip to the $5 gas station car wash. Even if you think your car is a piece, it still deserves a good cleaning once a month. Neglecting to wash your car could result in chipped paint, corrosion, and a lowered resale value.

  6. Multitask at the gas pump:

    The next time you’re filling up at the gas station, don’t just stand there daydreaming about your class crush; take this opportunity to give your car a quick look-over. Clean the windshield with a squeegee to wipe away dead bugs, tar, and smudges that may be obstructing your view of the road. Next, check your tire pressure and tread as mentioned above. If your tires are low, fill them up at the air station. While you’re waiting, give your car a full circle inspection, and take note of any missing parts and new dings or scratches.

  7. Use common sense:

    You don’t have to be a car guru to take good care of your car in college. Simply using common sense can help you avoid mechanical problems or damage to your vehicle. In addition to getting regular oil changes and annual inspections, you should also keep your eyes and ears open for anything that looks, sounds, or feels different with your car. If you think something is wrong with your car, stop and ask a mechanic. You may not have to repair the problem right away, but at least now you’ll know what the issue is if it happens again.

    The above article was written by Zelda Robbins of http://www.christiancolleges.com. Check out their website for a plethora  of helpful information for the Christian college student.