Back-to-School Checklist for your Car

Between packing your bags and shopping for school supplies, it’s easy to forget about what you’ll be relying on to get to class, your car. We’ve created a checklist you can follow to make sure your car is as prepared as you are to head back to school.

How’s your Tire Pressure?

You can find the recommended psi for your tires on a sticker, in the door jamb, or in your owner’s manual. Keeping your tires inflated will give you better gas mileage and less likely you’ll get a flat, which could make you late for class, or worse, a midterm!

Most gas stations will have an air pump you can use to fill your tires. Some of these may or may not have a working tire gauge, so owning a one can come in handy. Then you can check your tire pressure wherever you are.

 

Check & Fill Fluids

Can’t remember the last time you changed the oil? Now is a great time to check. You want to find level ground and be sure the engine is off and cold. Then remove the oil dipstick. Clean it off and reinsert it. Then remove it again. This time, check the level by noting where the oil is on the dipstick. If it’s closer to the end or add line, add the correct oil for your vehicle accordingly by unscrewing the cap on the engine. If the oil looks black and feels coarse, it’s probably time for an oil change.

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10 Easy Car Repairs You Didn’t Know You Could Do Yourself

Cars can be expensive to fix and maintain, but there are some repairs nearly anyone can do at home to save money.

Depending on the model, a lot of the maintenance and beginner repairs on this list can be done with basic hand tools, and they won’t cost a lot to fix. Some repairs listed here may call for special tools, and these can be worth owning if you plan to use them regularly.  Others may call for no tools, taking up very little of your time. Doing some of these repairs yourself can help you save money in the long run and improve the life and performance of your vehicle.

1. Air Filters

Common tools required: None (usually)

Although you might want to have on hand a flat blade screwdriver, ratchet, and sockets.

Unless your air filter housing is held together by screws or bolts, changing the engine air filter is a simple process that doesn’t require any tools. In most cases, you’ll just have to undo the clips on the housing, lift the housing cover, and remove the air filter. The install is just as easy, requiring you to align the new filter according to the directional arrows if it has them, close the cover, and latch the clips that secure the cover in place.

Changing the cabin air filter is similar, but depending on your model, you may have to open the hood or remove the glove box to reach it.

2. Wiper Blades

Common tools required: None

Changing the wiper blades is so common that your manual might have tips to guide you. You just need to find and press the clip on the wiper blade, slide it off the hook, and carefully lower the wiper arm down. To install, simply raise the wiper arm, and pull the wiper blade up onto the hook until it clicks into place.

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