Top 7 Things to Check Before Going off to College

Top 7 Things to Check Before Going off to College

As the summer winds down in New England, for many of us, this means it’s time to start getting your family ready for the busy fall ahead. If you are a parent that has a son or daughter preparing to go away to college, this can be a heart wrenching and anxious time of year. The last thing you – or your child – wants is the surprise of a vehicle breakdown.


Thankfully, we’ve gathered a few maintenance tips you can do to make sure your vehicle is ready for school as well. By making an appointment with your local car care facility, they can make sure these items are taken care of.


Make sure all tires have a decent amount of tread, there is no dry-rotting, and they are free of any nails or punctures. If your existing tires are not up to snuff, it would be best to replace them now with all season or winter tires that can handle the winter weather ahead. This is a common time of year for tire changes, so it might be good to ask your service provider if they are running any rebates or specials.

Battery and Charging System

Colder temperatures can make a battery work almost twice as hard, so you want to make sure your battery and charging system is testing good before heading off to school.

Oil Level

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! As a quick side note, in the last 5 years, car manufacturers’ have been working to increase fuel mileage in vehicles. In doing so, vehicles are now burning oil quicker than previous models, regardless of mileage. This can be extremely costly if left unattended, here’s why..

If a car with 5 quarts of oil burns one quart, 4 quarts of oil is now doing the job of 5 quarts, causing the oil burn rate to increase exponentially. Additionally, manufacturer’s are claiming cars can now go up to 10,000 miles between oil changes.

If your car is burning oil, and the oil level is left unchecked for an extended amount of time, eventually your engine will run out of oil and freeze. Leaving you with no option but to replace the entire engine.

It’s best to stick to the standard mileage for an oil change of 3,000 miles, and to check the oil level at least every 1,000 miles (and top off if necessary). These small changes can save you thousands in repair costs.

Antifreeze, Transmission and All Fluids

Make sure all of your fluids are full and are in good condition including your antifreeze, transmission fluid and windshield washer fluid.  *TIP – Make sure your windshield washer fluid is Winter Blend or All Weather Blend (summer blend will freeze in the lines in cold temperatures).


Have your technician check the condition of the brakes, including the life expectancy of the brake pads, also check for rust and proper lubrication. If your brakes pulsate, squeal or grind, they should certainly be checked before making the trip to school.

Front Suspension and Steering

 Many important suspension and steering components are in your front end, and if any break at a given time, could cause a serious safety hazard or loss of control of your vehicle. Make sure that all these components are in good condition, and are properly tightened and lubricated.

Exterior Lights

Make sure all exterior headlights, fog lights, and directional work and there are no cracks in the lenses.


  Having a thorough check over of your vehicle completed will give your family a little more peace of mind that there will be no issues when heading off to school.  At the Auto Clinic, we understand your concerns, and making an appointment is as easy as clicking online or giving us a call.


Make your appointment here for your college check over, or give us a call at 978-433-8200 today.


Monday8am - 5pm
Tuesday8am - 5pm
Wednesday8am - 5pm
Thursday8am - 5pm
Friday8am - 5pm
Saturday8am - 12pm


17 Nashua Road
Pepperell, MA 01463