Whether your son or daughter is getting ready to go to college or if there's simply a fun road trip ahead, one of the most important things you can do to help in the preparation of either event is to make sure your child's car is safe and reliable to make the journey.
First Things First - Of course, if your child's car is brand new, it's probably good to go. Last minute things could include checking the oil, making sure the tires are filled to the correct capacity and making sure that the tank is full of gas. However, if the car is an older model, it might be time to take it to be serviced. Here are some of the things that will be done to make sure the car is in good working mode.
- At the auto repair shop the wheels will be checked to make sure they are still in good shape. If not, you can usually buy new tires right at the repair shop. If the tires are good, they still need to be aligned or rotated.
- Brakes will be checked and maybe fluid will be added.
- Heating and air conditioning systems will be checked and corrections will be made, if that is necessary.
- Front lights, brake lights and rear lights will also be evaluated.
- Fan belts and filters might be cleaned or new ones will be installed.
Added Services - Even though they may not add to the safety of your child's vehicle, this might be a good time to make body repairs.
- Are there little dents and dings that are detracting from the looks of the car? Those are quite easy and affordable to fix.
- Consider getting a new paint job to refresh the car's appearance. There are single-stage enamel paint jobs that are very affordable. However, if you want the paint job to last a long time, consider upgrading to a double-stage enamel paint job.
- Perhaps a bumper has been damaged in a minor accident. If it cannot be repaired, a new one can take its place.
- Think of having the upholstery totally cleaned. Even stains will often be removed.
Extras - Think about things that you can put in the car that will help along the way. These are things you hope will never be needed. However, if they are needed, you'll be a hero for remembering to put them in the car.
- Consider buying flares to keep in the trunk of the car which can be set out in case of an emergency situation.
- A heavy duty flashlight and extra batteries are another good idea.
- Another good idea is to keep bottles of water and things like granola bars in the car.
- In a small baggie, put index cards with important information on them. Your name and phone number, the number of a towing company, and the number of your insurance agent are all items that would be included.
Remind your child to check in with you along the way. That way you won't be calling him or her during a time when traffic is heavy when he could be distracted.