It’s no secret that younger drivers many times overlook the importance of proper vehicle maintenance. As college-aged drivers head back to campus, here are some things parents can do to prepare their son or daughter's vehicle for the return:

Ensure they get a brake safety check: Depending on how long it has been, there’s a good chance it’s due for a brake check-in. In a perfect world, you should get the brakes checked every 12 months or 12,000 miles. Here’s a helpful infographic on brake pad maintenance. And with first semester often times presenting slick road conditions, you’ll want to make sure their car’s brakes are up to snuff.

Replace the antifreeze: This crucial mixture can be the difference between cruising smoothly and being stranded on the side of the road with a blown engine. Having fresh antifreeze well ahead of the colder temperatures is key to keep your student’s car operating properly. The PH level of antifreeze turns acidic over time and can aggressively corrode your engine components from the inside out. The boiling point also drops over time, which leads to overheating and catastrophic failure. At Tire Discounters, we test your antifreeze, brake fluid and battery free of charge.

Check the battery: Most Car batteries only last between three and 5 years. If your battery is 5 years old, replace it! Batteries always seem to fail at the worst times and the worst places.

Ensure their lights are working properly: Without checking headlights, brake lights and other lamps around the vehicle in advance of heading back to school, it’s likely your student won’t realize if there’s a problem that could put them in danger.

Check tire tread depth: Another must-check item before your student heads back to campus is tire tread. If they’re driving on campus, they’ll likely be in an area with lots of pedestrians. A heavily worn tire can drastically lengthen stopping distance in wet conditions and cause an accident. Use the “Lincoln penny test” to see if the vehicle is in need of tire replacement. Place the edge of a penny into the tire tread; if you can see all (or most) of Lincoln’s head – it’s probably time to make a swap.

Stock them up with gas cards: Money is tight for most college students. Throwing a few gas cards in their glove box could be a practical “back-to-school” gift and come in handy during an emergency when they need gas – but forget their purse or wallet.