There are three words expressed this time of year that brings out euphoria and anxiety in adults at the very same moment – Back-to-School! Yes, it’s time to trade in the relaxing lazy summer days for the hustle and bustle of school and frenzied schedules.

It all starts with shopping for school supplies, like notebooks, folders, printer paper and computers. You try and hit all the great deals at various retailers which means multiple trips across town. Next, it’s shopping for school clothes and other essential items and this is just the warm-up to the main event – school!

By the time, you have crossed off everything you need to successfully start the school year there is probably one item you neglected to add to your list – your vehicle. That hustle and bustle will take a lot out of you, but it will also put wear and tear on your vehicle.

From sitting in the drop-off/pick-up line, to the stops and starts, the daily grind will take a toll on any vehicle. Whether you plan to drive your kids to school, or are handing your keys to your young driver, you should have your vehicle properly maintained to avoid any unexpected breakdowns and an immediate halt to your frenzied schedule.

The non-profit Car Care Council reminds drivers to make sure their vehicles are kid-safe and road ready with a five-point checklist:

  • Check lights and wipers for visibility. With shorter days and inclement weather ahead, make sure lights and wipers function properly so that you can see and be seen.  Check the exterior and interior lights and replace any that are dimming, rapidly blinking or not functioning. Check wiper blades for signs of wear and replace if necessary.
  • Get an annual brake inspection. The braking system is your car’s most important safety feature. Before carpool season gets in full swing, make sure that your brakes are functioning properly. Schedule a brake inspection and look for warning signs that your vehicle may need brake services, such as an illuminated brake light or screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.
  • Check tires for under inflation or excessive wear. Check tire pressure and refill underinflated tires, including the spare, and look for uneven wear and check tread depth. An easy way to do the latter is by placing a penny head-down in the tread groove. If the tread does not cover Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.
  • Make sure everyone is buckled up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website has important tips on seat belt fit and position. For the younger ones riding along, the site has information about how to install car seats as well as guidelines on selecting a car seat or booster based on your child’s age and size.
  • Consider a back-up detection device. Consider having a back-up detection device installed that provides rearview video or warning sounds when moving in reverse. While drivers should not rely solely on these devices, they can help to reduce the risk of back over incidents along with following other prevention tips from NHTSA.

Tire Discounters can help you get back into the swing of the school year by providing a complete vehicle safety inspection. Just remember to fit your appointment in before the hectic school year begins and the frenzy encompasses you.