This means drivers are strongly encouraged to brush up on their driving habits, be aware of their surroundings and obey speed limits in school zones and follow crossing guard instructions. Along with being a defensive driver, it’s important to make sure your car is in working condition for the new school year as well. Here are some car care tips to help provide a safe ride:
1. Test car battery
Make sure your car battery is in tip-top shape. Whether it’s a short or long commute, it’s a nuisance to have your car break down on you. Car batteries are designed to last approximately three to five years, so if you think you might need a new one you can ask a certified mechanic to test the battery.
2. Travelling with children
If you are planning to drive your children to school, it’s important they are safe and secure in the car. Make sure all kids are properly wearing their seatbelts and their backpacks do not get in the way of that. If the children in your family still require the usage of child car seats, make sure they are in the right seat for their age. Our How to Install a Car Seat Correctly post has the four stages of “Car Time Stage” guidelines by Transport Canada.
3. Inspect car brakes
Back-to-school driving consists of more traffic on the road. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure your car brakes are in good working condition. Driving to school will most likely consist of slow speeds, stopping behind school buses and being alert to any eager kids that might dash out onto the road in front of you. It's been recommended to inspect your brakes every 10,000 kilometres. Continue to practical vital car maintenance and monitor your car brakes frequently.
4. Check fluid levels
Inspecting fluid levels in your vehicle is an essential car care tip. It's a task that doesn't require a huge amount of time and can be performed in your driveway. Check the transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, motor oil and coolant are all at the appropriate levels. Refer to your owner's manual if you notice any fluids need to be topped up.
5. Proper tire pressure
Ideally, tire pressure should be checked frequently to remain safe on the roads. Refer to your owner's manual or the inside of your driver's side door where the information is displayed on a sticker to find the proper tire pressure for your vehicle. Unscrew the cap on the valve stem and press the tire gauge against the valve stem. The digital gauge should provide you with an accurate reading of tire pressure. If the level is too below the recommended limit, you can fill the tires with more air.
6. Update the emergency kit
Double check your car's emergency kit to see if you have everything you need. Stock up on any supplies you may need. For a refresher on what is included in a car emergency kit read our What to Keep in Your Car Emergency Kit post. Just like a prepared student, be equipped for any future scenarios.