a person driving a car

Things You Should Learn About Cars Before You Graduate

Congratulations on your big day! Now that you’ve graduated, or it’s at least in sight, the road ahead will be filled with challenges, opportunities, and more. Now that you have your diploma in hand or close, it’s time to...

Congratulations on your big day! Now that you’ve graduated, or it’s at least in sight, the road ahead will be filled with challenges, opportunities, and more. Now that you have your diploma in hand or close, it’s time to shift into the next gear. Learning about cars and your car needs can be an important first step toward driving off toward your dreams. Whether it’s because you hope to one day be a mechanic or just that you would like to know what to do if you break down on the way to your dorm, learning these simple things about cars after graduating will give you peace of mind.

Formal Automotive Training Options


If you aren’t naturally handy with cars, now might be the time to enroll in a program that will teach you everything you will ever need to know about your vehicle. While it may sound extreme, it’s a life skill you’ll thank yourself for, saving thousands in repairs and labor costs if you can make those fixes on your own. Or, if you are hoping to learn a trade, and Automotive and Diesel Technology program could be just the best next step you’ll ever take. Formal mechanic training programs in community colleges or that stand on their own could set you up for a fabulous career in diesel mechanics, automotive service, or owning your own shop later on.

Beyond Mechanics


Once you have an idea of how to maintain and do basic repairs on your car or tires, you will want to know about car financing and might even want to secure a more reliable vehicle. It could be time to trade that high school clunker in for the sake of reliability before you head off into the world. If you can afford monthly car loan repayments, you may want to consider visiting a local dealership to explore your options. While interest rates could be tricky for a new grad, lower interest rates are possible with a parent co-signer.

If a new vehicle is right for you, the dealership will be able to set you up with the right financial institution to help you come up with a reasonable monthly payment. While you are at it, you will be taking great steps for your future credit score too.

Things to consider if you decide to purchase a new vehicle are not only the monthly budget and purchase price but the Kelley blue book value on the car you hope to buy. You will also want to think about what you have saved up for a down payment, what your loan terms might look like, and whether or not you would be better off keeping the high school car for now. Knowledge is power here, and while you might not like the final answer, it’s better to know ahead of time what you could be getting yourself into.

The Basics


If you opt not to attend a formal training school or finance a new vehicle with a service and warranty plan, you want to be sure you at least know the basics when it comes to cars. Ask a family member or friend to help you learn how to check your oil, read your owners’ manual for what various indicator lights mean, learn how to change a flat tire, and ask questions about the regular and preventive maintenance your car needs. Whether new or older, these are things you will need to know about your vehicle when you are out on your own.

Identifying The Right Vehicle


Before you make any final decisions, your plans beyond school should be considered regarding your vehicle. For example, if you are attending university in a city, it might be time to put your car up for sale. Public transportation options are something you could be researching now. Conversely, if you plan on relocating to a more rural area with dirt roads, you may want to think about how your low profile sports car will handle. Weather is something to think about too.

If you are heading toward snow, do you have all-season or snow tires? You will want to address these things ahead of time, find out what your car needs, and budget for it before leaving for your first semester, job, or that internship you’ve got your eye on. In learning these few things about yourself and your car now, you’ll save yourself trouble down the road.

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