back to school

College Car Care 101: Get Back to School Ready

The school year is upon us and while you’re thinking about textbooks, school supplies and student loans, getting your car ready to go is probably the last thing on your mind. Parking, gas, insurance and car maintenance can be expensive, though. Don’t leave it until the moment you’re loading the trunk to think about your car, as there are certainly some things you can do ahead of time to save you money and keep you safe when you go back to school.

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  1. Consider leaving your car at home. College campuses offer a variety of ways to get around including campus shuttles and many public transportation options. Sometimes city transit or even your college will offer student rates or public transportation discounts. Since you’ll likely live on or near campus, biking or walking to class are always great options as well.
  2. Take it for a tune up. If leaving your car at home isn’t an option, take the time to get your car ready for the school year. Check the levels of coolant, oil, brake and power steering fluid. Check your windshield wipers, battery, tire pressure and walk around the vehicle to check all the lights including headlights, turn signals, brake signals and emergency flashing lights. Lastly, give it a good car wash and even consider detailing the inside. If you’re a Metromile customer, our smart driving app will keep you alerted to your car health.
  3. Share the road. College campuses are congested and may bring new commuting challenges with campus buses, bikes and lots of students. Colleges often have very specific parking procedures and drop-off zones so be sure you know the safest place to park your car. Never block crosswalks, stop and yield to all pedestrians and be alert at all times.
  4. Have an emergency kit. You never know when your battery might die or another problem might arise! A car emergency kit is a great way to stay prepared and will keep you from depending on costly roadside assistance for minor problems. Your emergency kit should include jumper cables, a tire gauge, a flashlight, a small tool kit, duct tape, rags and a fluorescent emergency sign. Add a first-aid kit, a bottle of water, a blanket and some granola bars in case something happens and you’re stranded for some time.
  5. Earn extra cash. If you find you don’t use your car much, consider renting it out using a peer-to-peer car rental service like Getaround. If you find students who have similar schedules or even live in a nearby hometown, consider carpooling and they’ll reimburse you for gas. You can also use your car for many on-demand jobs such as driving for Uber or Lyft, or food delivery services like Postmates.

Finally, follow these tips to further maximize your savings during the school year and consider switching to pay-per-mile car insurance. Your monthly bill will be based on the miles you drive, so if you don’t drive much, you won’t pay much. And don’t worry about the occasional road trip or long drive home during school breaks. With Metromile, you won’t pay for any miles driven over 250 a day (150 in certain states). Try getting a quote to see potential savings.