Back to School Car Checks: Are You School Run Ready?

Kwik Fit | Wednesday 6th September 2023 5:04pm

A dad and daughter high-fiving outside the car after the first school run back.

Be it after a long summer or when the festive period’s over, the back to school run always seems to sneak up on parents.

From hurriedly packing lunch boxes and signing consent forms to locating forgotten P.E. kits in bedrooms, the morning of the first day back at school is often chaotic to say the least. So, don’t let car troubles add to the list.

With enough on their plates already, Kwik Fit is keen to give parents a helping hand to make sure the back to school run is as smooth as possible. While we can’t iron your child’s uniform for you, we can give you some pointers to make sure that your motor won’t let you down while you drop your little ones off.

Read on for our definitive list of back to school car checks.

School run concerns

If you’re a parent or carer, the school run is perhaps one of the most regular trips you’ll make. And yet, a recent survey commissioned by Sustrans found that 59% of parents in the UK do not enjoy their daily journey to school

While the reasons given were mostly down to congestion and parking problems, we strongly believe that a smoothly running vehicle can significantly reduce the stresses associated with the school run.

While parents can’t control the amount of free drop-off parking spaces or the number of other parents on the roads before 8:00am, they can control the safety and performance of their vehicle.

In the days leading up to the dreaded back to school run – or even the night before – use the following checklists to give your car a once-over and take one thing off your plate.

Tyre checks

Up first comes tyre maintenance, vital to ensure that your vehicle is able to drive smoothly and safely on the road. Naturally, as one of the UK’s leading tyre sellers, we have a lot of handy tips for this one.

  • Check your tyres are inflated correctly and that you have enough air in them. This is a great idea if your car has been sitting idle for long periods of time.

  • Look out for scrapes, punctures, bulges, or rips on your tyres as these may lead to tyre blowout.

  • Ensure your tyre tread is deep enough. You can do this using the 20p trick. This one is especially important in winter when there is more likely to be water, sludge, and snow on the roads.

Making sure the car tyre is inflated for the school run.


The condition of your vehicle’s brakes is one of the most crucial safety factors for any journey — but especially for school runs where you may need to stop suddenly for unexpected hazards such as children crossing or walking out between parked cars around drop-off zones.

  • Make sure your brakes do not feel spongy when you press down on the brake pedal with your foot, as this may be a sign of reduced performance.

  • Remember to brake in good time in wetter weather as stopping distances double.

  • If you’re doubtful about the condition of your brakes, book in for a free brake check at your local Kwik Fit centre.

Lights & signals

In busy, congested areas like school car parks or drop-off zones, it is crucial to be able to signal to other road users before you manoeuvre — and there’s no chance of you being able to do that without correctly working signals and lights.

  • Be sure to check that your headlights and brake lights are working properly.

  • Test whether your indicator lights are flashing when you signal left and right.

  • It is also important to test if your hazard lights work when you press the red triangle on the dashboard.

  • At this point, it is also a good idea to check whether any of your dashboard warning lights come on when you start the ignition as these can indicate a more serious fault with your car.

We’re also including checking the battery in this section as the last thing you need is for your car not to start when you’re already running late.

Check fluid levels

While the checks above would warrant relatively simple fixes if something were to go wrong, things get more complicated when the under-bonnet areas are involved. An overheating engine or lack of coolant really can throw a spanner in the works on the way to school. Luckily, these things can be easily prevented with the following precautions:

Safety features

To risk stating the obvious, if you’re on a school run, you’ll be transporting children to and fro. So, it is definitely worth giving the in-car safety features a once over to make sure that, should the worst happen, you and your passengers will be as safe as possible. This can involve any of the following:

  • For younger children, ensuring that any car seats are plugged in correctly and that use of them follows official guidance.

  • Switching on child lock.

  • Checking seatbelts and airbags.

  • Making sure your vehicle is equipped with the necessary emergency equipment such as high-vis jackets and a warning triangle in case of a breakdown.

For extra peace of mind, book in for a free vehicle safety check at Kwik Fit today.

A father putting his child's seatbelt on.

Comfort features

And, lastly, parents, do yourself a favour and make the back to school period as comfortable as possible. 

  • If it’s the back to school period at the end of summer, make sure that your air con is in good working order as it is likely to be hot. Get it regassed at your local Kwik Fit centre or book in for a free air con health check.

  • The same for heated seats and/or heating systems in winter.

  • Clean your windscreen and make sure the wipers are in good working order.

  • Lastly, if there’s time, why not give your car a clean out before the school runs start again?

Ace the school run with Kwik Fit

While we’re not expecting you to get top marks on the back to school run checklist, even conducting a handful of those preventative maintenance checks may mean the difference between a smooth and manic morning drive in.

If you have any more serious concerns about the condition of your vehicle, book in for a free vehicle health check at your local Kwik Fit centre, or get in touch with our team of experts today.

Found this useful? Feel free to share this with other parents. Or, for more motoring advice, keep up with our blog.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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