CTEK Goes to College
Recent surveys show as many as 70% of college-age students own or have access to a car, while a U.S. News report says 46.8% of students bring their car to campus.
Yet most college students are relatively new drivers with only a few years’ driving experiences. So while they might be able to figure out which dorm cafeteria serves the best chicken tenders, figuring out tire pressure or battery charge can be a complete mystery.
It’s a given that parents will fret about their student’s well being while their child is away at university, but a few quick lessons can help college students better understand their vehicle.
Lesson 1 - Learning the Route
A student can’t drive to campus if they don’t know how to get there. Whether a student is driving across town to attend a community college or traveling across the state or country for school, knowing the route is key.
Don’t rely on a phone’s GPS. Make sure your student can read a map and keeps a map or atlas in the car as a backup. Discuss significant landmarks or aspects of the trip demanding extra attention. (For example, “Be aware, the exit comes up quickly” or “The signage for this intersection is confusing.”)
Discuss alternate routes and how to follow detour signs should their main route be under construction or closed.
Once in the college town, take time to visit places the student might frequently go such as the grocery store.
Drive to the parking deck, structure or lot where your child will park. Make sure they know how to enter and exit the lot. College students should note street or garage lights and remember to park in a well-lit area for nighttime safety.
Lesson 2 - Ready to Roll
Inspect all of a car’s tires including the spare. Make sure tires are properly inflated. Teach your college-bound child how to use a tire gauge to check air pressure. Open the driver’s door of the vehicle, find the tire pressure information sticker and show a student how to read and correctly utilize the information.
Visually inspect each tire, looking for things like tread wear, bulges, cracks or leaks. Students should know where their vehicle’s spare tire and jack tool set are located and, ideally, how to change a tire.
If your student uses their car to drive to school, but then leaves it sitting in one spot for weeks or months at a time, tires could lose air or be subjected to flat spotting (when a tire develops a flat spot as a result of the weight of a vehicle pushing on them for an extended period of time).
Not only are properly inflated tires safer to drive on, but they also maximize fuel economy, which means fewer dollars spent at the gas station - a definite perk for a cash-strapped university student.
Lesson 3 - Charged UpFinals are over, the car’s packed and Christmas break is calling, but when your student turns their car’s ignition, they hear the dreaded “clicking” noise of a dead battery.
An increasing number of colleges are prohibiting their on-campus police departments from jump-starting dead batteries due to liability issues. The best way to avoid a dead battery situation is to always ensure a battery is charged.
CTEK’s CT5 Time to Go charger is non-sparking and reverse polarity protected. The Time to Go tells you how long before the battery is charged and ready to go. It also will tell you can safely try and start your vehicle before the battery is fully charged.
Leaving a car parked outdoors for long periods of time in the winter can be brutal on a car’s battery. Likewise, some students try to compensate for limited parking on campus by turning their hazard lights on and illegally “parking” a car in the street outside a campus building. In addition to putting them at risk of a parking ticket, using the hazard lights for extended periods of time can drain a battery.
To use, the CT5 Time to Go charger must be plugged into an outlet. When home for weekend visits, a student’s car battery can be fully charged in the garage. They can then depart for school with clean laundry, a box of Mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies and a fully charged car battery.
Lesson 4 - Handling HazardsDespite precautions and planning, the unexpected can happen. It’s good to pack an emergency kit. Make sure to include essentials including a flashlight, flares or triangle reflectors, a reflective vest, a small tool kit, as well as a first-aid kit.
If traveling in inclement weather, make sure the vehicle has supplies including an umbrella, blanket, drinking water and ice scraper.
College is a time for learning and making memories, but it’s best if the lessons take place in the classroom, not the side of the road.