It’s that time of year again: the kids are heading back to school, and for some of us that means back to carpooling. Whether you’re only delivering your own kids or transporting a troop of youngsters to school or team practices, you’re not only keeping your own kids safe, but all the kids other parents are trusting you with as well.
On the other hand, you might have a teenager who’s heading off to college to start a new school year, which can be both exciting and a little scary -- for students and parents alike! NEXEN Tire America is joining AskPatty in August to sponsor these back-to-school tips to help ease the transition from home to college.
1) Buy a Dependable Car
A great back-to-school car needs to be versatile, safe, and budget friendly.
Sometimes a back-to-school car can be a student’s first car. Do plenty of research to find your student a car that will be great at hauling his or her sports gear and school projects, as well as siblings if they will be ride-sharing. New cars these days are super reliable, which means that a gently used car can be a safe and affordable option as well. Do your back-to-school car shopping at Consumer Reports, where their recent round-up of "Safest Used Cars Under $10,000 for Teen Drivers" can help you find safe and reliable choices that won't crush the college fund.
2) Get The Car Serviced
Finding a mechanic in a new city can be difficult, especially for an inexperienced young person, so perform your student's next scheduled automotive maintenance service before he or she heads off to college.
Every vehicle requires regular scheduled maintenance regardless of their condition, oil changes being the most frequent of those services. Routine maintenance is a year-round investment that will help your student's vehicle last longer and perform better. Proper maintenance will ensure your student is driving a safe and reliable vehicle.
3) Check The Tire Tread
Consider driving conditions where the student will be living. If the climate at college leans towards wet or snowy winters, be sure the car has enough tire tread for those conditions.
While tires should be replaced when they’re worn down to 2/32-inch of tread, be extra cautious and ensure your tires have at least 4/32-inch of remaining tread depth for driving under wet or snowy conditions. Instead of relying on the traditional penny test, use a quarter: If the top of Washington’s head is showing, you’ve reached 4/32’s of an inch and you may want to replace your student's tires now to ensure best winter-weather handling.
4) Don't Go Overloaded!
Overloading the vehicle creates excessive heat inside tires, which increases tread wear and stress and can lead to blowouts.
When packing up for college, consider these vehicle loading and overloading tips:
Before packing the trunk and roof full of your student's stuff, check out the vehicle manufacturer’s weight recommendations for loading the vehicle. You should be able to find this information on the placard located on the vehicle door edge or in the vehicle owners’ manual -- and don’t forget that passengers count towards the total recommended vehicle weight.
When packing, make sure to secure loose items to prevent them from flying around under sudden stopping, and keep a clear view out the rear window.
Consumer Reports has a great article on packing a car, with tips on safely loading up for a road trip, here.
5) Car Insurance Follows The Car
In case of an accident, car insurance follows the car, not the driver. So if your student lends his or her car to a friend or roommate, you could be liable if an accident occurs.
Even if the friend has great coverage with the highest limits and the lowest deductibles, your car insurance would have to cover the damages if the friend gets into an accident while driving your student's car.
So, if your student is thinking of letting his or her roomie drive the car, keep in mind that you're not only lending the car, you're also lending your car insurance.
Once you've got your student off to school, here are some tips to help him or her be more successful there. Help your student find new friends, establish healthy habits, and follow a budget with these college-friendly tips.
6) Make connections
Heading off to a new school can be pretty nerve-wracking, but it’s also the best time to forge new friendships. Some of them may even last a lifetime!
While some students might be homesick at the beginning of the school year, it's the best time to make new friends, because everybody is feeling like a fish out of water. Just lean over and introduce yourself -- the other person will probably be happy you’ve broken the ice. Having a study buddy will also come in handy if you miss a class and need to get notes.
7) Establish Healthy Habits
This is the perfect time to develop smart strategies for studying, sleep, exercise, and diet. Your brain can’t function at full capacity unless you treat your body right!
No matter what kind of student you were in high school, heading off to college creates a great opportunity to forge new habits. Establish good study habits early on, try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, and set up a schedule for exercising at least three times a week. Take advantage of the campus commissary, and get in the habit of eating well.
8) Reward Yourself!
Positive reinforcement is an amazing thing. Set goals, and when you have completed your tasks, reward yourself in small ways.
This can be anything from allowing yourself to take a 10-minute break after a long study session, to treating yourself to a movie after getting an "A" on a difficult exam. This will help to encourage healthy habits and avoid procrastinating!
9) Do it Yourself
Don’t waste money on things you can do yourself: Small savings here and there can really add up.
Instead of stopping into the SUB or local coffee shop for a caffeine fix, try brewing coffee in the dorm with one of those single-serving coffee makers. Keep a compact refrigerator and countertop microwave in your room to heat up frozen snacks instead of making frequent fast food runs. Every little bit counts when you're a student on a limited budget.
Speaking of which…
10) Make -- and Keep -- a Budget
Using credit and debit cards can make it easy to lose track of what you spend. Be careful about weekend splurges.
Make a monthly budget and divide your spending into categories -- like food, clothing, and entertainment, etc. -- and set limits on the amount you spend on each. It will prevent you from going overboard. Before you indulge, think about how many hours would you have to spend at your work-study or part-time job to pay for your expenses. It will help you keep things in perspective.
Have Questions About Tire Care And Maintenance?
Visit www.NexenTireUSA.comfor more information about tire care and maintenance. For more information or service visit www.NexenTireUSA.com and use the Dealer Finder to locate your nearest Authorized Nexen Dealer. You can also call the toll-free technical support number: 1-800-57-NEXEN (63936) / 1-866-70-NEXEN (63936). Follow NEXEN Tire on Facebook and Twitter for details on tire and car care tips, exciting contests, and more.
While you're packing the kids off to school, take a little extra time to think about the tires that will transport them this school year and your desire to keep them all safe. After all, your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touch the road -- so they're very important to travel safety, and proper tire maintenance can boost your fuel economy, too!
Join NEXEN Tires and AskPatty and come get schooled on all things tires at our #NEXENTireCollege Twitter Party, being held on Tuesday, August 25 at 6pm Pacific and 9pm Eastern. Get more information on the Nexen Tire Back-to-School Twitter Party here.