Whether you’re driving a 1972 Oldsmobile like the one pictured here or a 2009 Prius, now’s the time for you to take care of a few things if you drive to campus. Soon enough the busy-ness of the semester will engulf you, and getting your car serviced will be the last thing on your mind–until something goes wrong.
First of all, go ahead and get your oil changed. Other maintenance tasks you should address include topping off the windshield-wiper fluid, examining the wiper blades to see if they need to be replaced, checking your tire pressure, and measuring the strength of your battery’s charge. Get the air filter changed about once a year or so. If you don’t have time or inclination to do these things yourself, find a mechanic you trust to take care of them for you. Why not also take this opportunity to vacuum out your floorboards and clear out all the junk that’s piled up over the summer?
Make sure you’re adequately equipped. Buy an extra umbrella and stash it in the back seat, just in case you happen to forget yours on a rainy day. Do you have jumper cables? How about a flashlight? Is the spare tire properly inflated? Is your registration up-to-date and in the glove compartment? Do you have proof of insurance?
Does your campus require a parking decal or permit? If so, get one now, before the campus parking office becomes a zoo as students and faculty try to get their permits all at once.
And remember: parking on campus is going to be a nightmare on the first day of classes Avoid the stress that comes from hunting unsuccessfully for a parking space by leaving extra early that day, by carpooling with a colleague, or by taking public transportation.
Of course, carpooling and public transportation are economical and eco-friendly choices to make year-round, but they’re not always feasible. However, some campuses are easily commutable by cyclists or even pedestrians, eliminating the need for motorized transportation altogether.
Whatever your method of getting to and from campus, take some time right now to make sure you have everything you need for the commute and to anticipate any possible problems you might run into. And then put a recurring reminder for yourself into your calendar so that every 3 months or so you repeat this whole process.
These are the transportation-related things that I try to do to get ready for a new term. How do you prepare at the beginning of the semester for your commute?
[Image from flickr user hugo90. (CC-licensed)]