“It’s tough when kids go away to school with a car,” said Daryl Hurst, chief operations officer, Maaco. “Parents worry about accidents, how much money the car will cost at school and if the freedom to drive will create distractions for the student.”
Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the dangers and financial considerations. Here are 10 tips that can help parents sleep better once the new semester starts.
1. Decide whether a car is needed at all. Some colleges do not give undergraduates who live on campus parking permits. Depending on the location of the school, there are likely several reasonable options available for students, such as public transportation, carpooling and ride-share services like Uber or Lyft.
2. Make their hand-me-down vehicle shine. If your student is taking Grandma’s Buick to college, make sure it is good condition. Have a trusted mechanical shop like Meineke Car Care give it a thorough inspection and replace any worn belts, hoses, brakes or tires. Give it an exterior update to repair any dents, dings and/or damaged paint at Maaco, which offers high-quality painting and repair services to keep the older vehicle looking like new.
3. If buying a car, buy wisely. Every freshman would like to show up for class on the first day in a convertible or sports car, but the smarter option is something more mundane. There are several new and used cars that receive top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, get good gas mileage on the highway, and have enough room to haul laundry home every other weekend.
4. Shop for the best financing. Car manufacturers know that buyer loyalty begins with a person’s first set of wheels, and they work with financial institutions to ease college students into special deals with low interest rates and affordable monthly payments.
5. Ban distracted driving. It’s easy for young drivers to be distracted by cell phones, friends and eating in the car. Teach them to put down the phone in the car to avoid the risks associated with texting and driving. Learn more by visiting the Maaco and NABC Drive Out Distraction program.
6. Get friendly with your insurance agent. For most companies, maintaining a grade level of 3.0 or higher can reduce insurance premiums. Additionally, driving training programs may help reduce premiums as well. Shop around to get the best deal.
7. Sign up for driving school. Today, there are hundreds of schools open to all ages and skill levels that teach drivers how their cars work in all road conditions. Students who learn how to avoid a skid in a wet parking lot under supervision are less likely to lose control of a car in the rain. This can be extremely helpful for students who are attending college in a different state, as they may not be used to the different weather conditions.
8. Talk about safety off the street. Show students how to spot the safest areas to park a car at the mall or other busy places, making the car less of a target for break-ins. Removing any portable electronics and valuables from the car also deters thieves. Never leave a student ID card visible, especially if it has a photo of the student.
9. Teach them preventative maintenance. Equipping students with a preventative maintenance schedule can help prevent breakdowns and accidents while at school. Some car care facilities like Meineke Car Care can even send digital reminders to help ensure important service takes place.
10. Teach young drivers how to handle an accident. Preparing students for the possibility of an accident can prevent making a bad situation worse. Create a collision kit for your student’s car that includes copies of vehicle registration and insurance information, an accident recording app on their phone, flares, bottled water and a first-aid kit.
“Having your own car is a big responsibility,” continued Hurst. “By teaching your child good driving and maintenance habits on his or her first car, you are helping them to have pride in that vehicle.”
Whether you are looking to keep an older vehicle looking good longer, or repair damage from parking lot mishaps, fender benders or collisions, Maaco offers high-quality, reliable painting and repair service across the U.S. and Canada. For information and store locations, visit Maaco.com.
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