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Send your college student off with this car maintenance checklist

Getting ready to send your kids off to college? You’re probably swamped buying dorm décor, textbooks, and groceries to get them ready for their first semester. If you’re smart, you’ve also gotten their car serviced so it’s ready to take on anything that the semester has to throw at it. However, once they hit campus, it’s on them to keep their car in top shape. Toyota of Orlando is here with a car maintenance checklist for college kids to keep it simple!

This car maintenance checklist can save your student time and money


Reminder #1: Keep track of tire pressure.
It’s essential for your college student to know what to do when it comes to tire maintenance. They should regularly check the condition, tread depth, and PSI of all FIVE tires – including the spare. Teach them how to look for damage, how to check PSI and fill tires with air, and how to spot when the tread depth is too low (by using the penny trick – stick a penny in the tread with Abe Lincoln facing down and if they see the top of his head, it’s time for new tires!). Also remind them the importance of tire rotations to extend the tires’ life!

Reminder #2: Stay vigilant when it comes to car fluids.
Our Orlando car maintenance techs also recommend getting your college student on a schedule for oil changes so they never have to worry about engine problems. Their mechanic can also check other essential car fluids like coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and wiper fluid while they’re under the hood.

Reminder #3: Give your battery attention on a regular basis.
Remind your college student to include the battery when it comes to car maintenance! They should check it on a routine basis and look for warning signs like swelling, leaks, corrosion, rust, or anything else out of the ordinary. And if they have to get a jump, make sure they know they should have their battery checked at our Orlando car maintenance center to ensure it doesn’t need to be replaced.

Reminder #4: As annoying as it is, keep your car clean.
Keeping the car clean will keep its resale value high and will also ensure fewer problems with performance in the long run. Encourage your college student to at least wipe down surfaces and vacuum it out, as well as wash and wax the exterior to protect the paint.

And don’t forget to deck out your college student’s car with emergency supplies! Here are some things you should ensure are in the trunk:

  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire, jack, and lug wrench
  • Flashlight
  • Phone charger
  • Cash
  • Blanket

And make sure the owner’s manual is in the glovebox for reference!


Changing Seasons Means More than Changing Temperatures

Proper tire maintenance keeps you safe and your vehicle performing at its best. Checking tire pressure is one of the most important, yet commonly overlooked inspection procedures. Consider the fact that air pressure is responsible for supporting the weight of a car, not the tires themselves. Manufacturer’s tire pressure specifications are designed to ensure peak handling and traction while maximizing fuel efficiency and tire service life.

Maintaining recommended tire pressure is more than simply “fill it and forget it.” Tire pressure fluctuates for a variety of reasons. Seasonal changes in temperature impacts tire pressure significantly, whether increasing or decreasing. Hotter temperatures cause air in tires to expand, which can result in tires being over-inflated. Cooler temperatures have the opposite effect, reducing air pressure. Interestingly, it is estimated that a 10°F change in temperature will increase or decrease tire pressure by 1 pound per square inch, or 1 PSI. In North America, the average change in temperature between summer and winter months is 50°F, meaning that changing seasons could impact tire pressure by 5 PSI or more, assuming no additional air loss has occurred. Normal driving also affects tire pressure. It’s estimated that within several miles of driving, tire temperature can rise by 20°F, increasing tire pressure by 2 PSI.

The effect of changing temperatures on tire pressure explains why drivers with TPMS (Tire Pressure monitoring System) equipped vehicles experience low pressure warning lights as temperatures drop. Unfortunately, drivers of vehicles without TPMS may not be aware of a possible unsafe tire condition.

The key to maintaining proper tire pressure is to check your tires regularly, especially during seasonal changes in temperature. For best results, always check tire pressure when the tires are cold, or only after driving the vehicle a short distance. And always follow the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, found in the vehicle owner’s manual or tire information placard (see fig. 1) located on the driver side door jamb