Taking Your Wheels To School

By: Jim Champion/The Auto Guy Email
By: Jim Champion/The Auto Guy Email

It takes a lot to get children ready to head back to school. That could include an auto tune-up. Here are a few tips to get your vehicle ready for back to school driving.

Visibility is one of the most important issues when you are driving in school zones and it all starts with seeing through the glass in your vehicle. Use an ammonia-free window cleaner to clean the outside and inside of all of your windows.

Sun glare can be blinding during mornings carpools, so make sure your visors work properly. Note that some visors have extensions that slide out or the visors themselves might slide to get in the right position to block the glare.

Next are wiper blades and changing them can be a do-it-yourself project. Having good blades that can clear everything from a light mist to a downpour is vital in busy school zones.

Make sure all of the seat belts are accessible for use, which might require digging them out from under the back seat. Also, make sure all of the buckles work properly. All children need to be buckled up properly, no matter how short the trip to school is.

Mirrors are a part of being able to see your surroundings and that's very important in a school zone. Make sure that mirrors are adjusted correctly and consider adding a stick-on convex mirror to reduce blind spots on the side of your vehicle. They are easy to install and if you decide you don't want them, they are easy to remove as well.

Headlights are important for visibility, but the other lights are just as important. Turn signals communicate what you intend to do and brake lights help prevent someone from running into the back of your vehicle when you are slowing down.

High school drivers sometimes run into situations where they have auto trouble in the school parking lot. Having jumper cables or a portable jump box in the trunk can get them going if they have a dead battery. Make sure that they know the basics of how to safely jump-start a vehicle before they need to actually do it. Work gloves and a four-way lug wrench make changing a flat tire a whole lot easier as well.

When it's time to take your kids to school, make sure you are ready to go before you put the vehicle in gear. You don't want to be turned around talking to the kids, fumbling with the radio or even worse, looking at your phone, while driving the kids to school.

When waiting to pick up your child after school, shut the engine off whenever possible. Otherwise, you waste a lot of gas, which wastes a lot of your hard earned money. Then you can make up for some of that money you just spent on all of those back to school expenses.

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