Before they leave for college
Aug. 07 2018
Aug. 07 2018

Some of your customers will soon experience their child leaving for college. In many of these cases, these young adults are taking the family car with them.

College driver

Unfortunately, many of your customers have not prepared their children for using and maintaining that car while it is far away from home (and from you).

As their trusted automotive service expert, you have the opportunity to provide them guidelines for their child’s use of the car – which could also potentially build stronger customer relationships.

At the end of this article you will find a link to a PDF you can give to your customers. (Note: Some of this information is also useful for new teen drivers.)

As their trusted automotive service expert, you have the opportunity to provide them guidelines for their child’s use of the car – which could also potentially build stronger customer relationships.

Pre-departure safety check

Pay special attention to lights, fluids, brakes, and tires. If the car is supposed to have a spare tire, make sure it is in good condition and inflated properly. You should verify that the jack and tools are operational.

Being a competent car user

The customer’s child should know where to locate the owner’s manual and how to find information in it (at the very minimum, they should be familiar with the quick references portions of the manual). If the manual is missing, many car makers will have free owner’s manual copies available online which can be loaded onto their electronic device. This is extremely important; cars are equipped with numerous complicated safety and infotainment systems, and all of these should be understood prior to driving the car. 

They should know the following at a minimum (all of these are covered in the owner’s manual):

  • Checking oil level (if the car does not have a dipstick, know the alternate method)
  • Coolant level checking and replenishment (only use the proper coolant for their car)
  • Tire pressure inspection and service (put a gauge in the glovebox)
  • Spare tire location as well as the location and use of the jack and tire tools (throw some work gloves in there)
    • If the car is not equipped with a spare, what is the alternative procedure for dealing with a flat tire?
  • How to check all lights and how to activate the hazard warning flashers
  • Safe procedures for jump-starting (only to be used when emergency road service is not available)

Find a shop at their new location

Enlist the help of your fellow automotive service professionals to help your customers find a trustworthy home-away-from-home for the car’s service needs. You may know someone or use industry information sources to locate a shop in the customer’s child new locale.

Relax and let go

You’ve done your preparation. Now send them on their way. If it is “empty nest” time, enjoy it, and sell the minivan as soon as you can.

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