Peace of Mind for the New School Year

When you think about prepping your family to go back to school, your mind usually goes to the normal mental checklist—do the kids need new backpack or new shoes? Will I be judged if I pack my kids sandwiches or do I need to spring for non-GMO, peanut-free, organic lunches in perfectly-partitioned Bento boxes? What kind of extracurriculars will I be driving to this semester?

With all these questions on your mind, the one thing you don’t want to have to worry about is whether your car will get you and your family safely through the morning commute without breaking down in the drop-off line at school.

Although it’s not usually considered a standard part of the back-to-school prep process, a bumper-to-bumper inspection is a necessity for every parent who wants to start the school year out right. You want to be able to relax and know that, daily, your precious cargo is protected in the daily hustle and bustle.

So, if you haven’t already done so, now’s a great time to alter that back to school checklist to include bringing your car in for a yearly inspection.

But what kind of things should you get checked when you take your car in?

Be sure that your shop checks out these potential safety issues:

Brakes: Brakes are obviously one of the most important parts of car safety.  Making sure they are functioning properly and in good mechanical condition is a basic part of any vehicle inspection.

Lights: Interior dashboard lights are important indicators that allow you to keep tabs on what’s happening internally with your car.  You may be great at staying on top of those blinking yellow indicators on the dashboard and bringing your car in right away but what about the external ones?

External lights are just as important—many times the driver doesn’t realize that his turn signals or brake lights aren’t working until he is pulled over and given a ticket for these violations. An inspection can not only help you save money in this area but, even more importantly, it can reassure you that you’re safely navigating the roads.

Fluids: Engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield wiper fluid all play vitally important roles in your car’s functionality, so ensuring these fluids are topped off is critical for the overall health of your vehicle.

Tires: Again, tires are one of those things you think about right away for safety. A tire check is particularly important if you have a teen driver who is already prone to under- or over-steering; a properly inflated tire will assist a wobbly driver in avoiding accidents because of it’s easy maneuverability. Tires also make a huge difference on slick streets in the rainy weather.

Other: The suspension system, exhaust system, wiper blades, and battery are other basic car systems/parts that should be checked when you bring your car in to the shop.

At [atc] Auto Center, we call this our Peace of Mind inspection, because we want you to know after this thorough annual “check-up” that you don’t have to worry about anything once you buckle up and hit the road of life.

Customers who regularly bring their cars in for inspections save money by avoiding tickets and costly repairs.

Before you hit the bus stop this year, why not bring your car in for a once-over by a professional? Make sure that they can clearly communicate the current status of your car’s systems and explain exactly what needs to be fixed (if anything).

After all, with the scramble of hall passes, homework, and soccer practice, you deserve trust in your vehicle and peace of mind in your travels.

Hi! We’re Chris and Brian Weeks, owners of atc Auto Center, certified automotive service & repair specialists serving the CSRA for over 50 years. You can find us online at or on Facebook and Twitter. It would be a privilege to serve you!

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