Your car: it’s as important to your education as the books in your backpack. After all, it’s the only reason why you can commute back and forth from class every day. It deserves some love if you expect to get to campus safely, so follow these tips to help treat your car right.
Don’t ignore the check engine light
When does the check engine light go on when you’re driving a beater? Only when you drive it. Though it’s an old joke, it’s reflective of the attitude many people have towards older cars. While some people will ignore the check engine light by claiming it’s just faulty wiring, it’s never a good idea to ignore this part of your car. In almost all cases, there’s a reason why this light goes off, and it’s to alert youto internal problems affecting the vehicle’s performance.
Not all check engine lights suggest the same thing. When the check engine button is illuminated, it means you need to take your car in for service soon. When the light is flashing, it means you need to have your vehicle checked right away. If you see a red light, treat it like a red traffic light. It means there’s something significantly wrong with your car, and you should pull over somewhere safe where you can stop and call for help.
Know who to call
Depending on where you live, you may have discounts to a service like CAA. They offer roadside assistance to its members for an annual fee. If you can produce a valid student ID, you can receive these perks for a lower price. They’re a great back up when you find yourself stuck at the side of the road, as you’ll be able to call them for a pick-up instead of a costly tow-truck service.
You should also have the number of a reliable auto repair shop handy, so you know where to have your car towed. Finding the right service for your vehicle will depend on your location. If you live in a city like Mississauga that’s nearby several world-renowned universities, it’s likely you’ll find a repair shop that offers discounts to students by searching for the best auto repair Mississauga has to offer. Take, for example, the mechanics at Veerpreet. They offer 10 percent off any repair when you can show a valid student ID.
Check your tires
The turning of your wheels is the reason why you can get from A to B, so it’s important your tires are in good shape. You should check the air pressure in all four tires roughly once a month to ensure they’re inflated to safe dimensions. While you’re doing this, you have the perfect opportunity to check their condition. You should take the time to inspect their treads while looking for any obvious cracks, punctures, or other damage.
Though you may be on a student’s budget, you should also start thinking about saving up for winter tires if you live in cold weather climates. Winter tires provide better handling in cold and snowy conditions because they’re developed specifically for this kind of weather. All season tires, on the other hand, struggle to maintain optimum contact with the road surface—making them a potential road safety risk once the temperatures dip below 7°C.
Another tip for students who drive is to always make sure to have some extra supplies and water in the car, as you never know when it may break down and leave you in a bad situation. Many students leave a high quality insulated water bottle in their car just in case.
You’ll have plenty of time before the mercury hits those temperatures, so you don’t have to rush out to get new tires right away. But it’s a good idea to schedule your check-in with your vehicle sooner rather than later. When you take the time to care for your car, it will get you where you need to go safely all semester long.