Everyone is back in school, and all of those extracurricular activities are starting up. Many parents will be running to football practices, ballet classes and band rehearsals. So, now is the time to organize a carpool schedule.

With just a little planning, you can save time and gas money by working with other parents to get the kids to where they need to be. Just make sure that your vehicle is kid-safe and carpool-ready before diving into another busy school year.

The Car Care Council has provided a five-point checklist to make this easier.

A Carpool Season Checklist

Car Ready Vehicle Inspection

When young people are dependent on you to get them from place to place, it's extra important for your car to be safe. You can check some things on your vehicle yourself, but now is also a good time to consult a professional. Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council explains it best:

"Back-to-school time is hectic for most families, but scheduling a complete vehicle inspection is time well spent. Knowing your vehicle was checked by a professional technician will give you peace of mind and make all those trips to school and activities safer and less stressful."

Here are the five vehicle maintenance points to go over before carpool season gets into full swing.

Are Your Lights and Wipers Fully Functional?

As you head into fall, you can expect shorter days and the possibility of inclement weather. So, you will want to be sure that you can see and be seen. Any exterior or interior lights that are dimming, blinking rapidly or out should be replaced. If your wiper blades are showing signs of wear, then it is time for a new set.

Have Your Brakes Been Inspected this Year?

Because the braking system is your car's most important safety feature, you should get an annual brake inspection. Even if an inspection isn't due, if you notice any warning signs, you should have your brakes looked at. These warning signs might include screeching, grinding, clicking noises or an illuminated brake light.

Are Your Tires in Good Shape and Properly Inflated?

Check the pressure in all four tires and add air to tires that are underinflated, including the spare. Your tires should also be inspected for uneven wear and tread depth. A good way to check the tread depth of your tires is with the penny test. Just place a penny, head-down, into the tread groove of a tire. If Lincoln's head is not covered by the tread, it is time to replace the tire.

Can Everyone be Safely Buckled in?

It's important to be sure that small passengers have the right car seats and boosters. These devices should also be properly installed. For car seat and booster guidelines, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. Here, you will also find important tips on seat belt fit and position for older children.

Does Your Car Have a Back-Up Detection Device?

Installing a device that provides rearview video or warning sounds can reduce the risk of back-over incidents. You should never rely solely on these devices, but they can be helpful if a lot of young people will be in and around your car. Whether or not your vehicle is equipped with a device, you can find accident prevention tips on the NHTSA website.

Finally, if your vehicle has been through one too many carpool seasons, it might be time to upgrade to a newer, more reliable model. If you know that you will be in the market for a new or used car, truck, van or SUV soon, Drivers Lane can help you get the financing you need.

Financing for Carpool Season and Beyond

If you need to purchase a vehicle for carpool season or for any other reason, Drivers Lane can assist you with the auto loan process. Even if you have bad credit, we can connect you with a dealership in your area that can give you your best chance at financing approval.

Our process is fast and there is no charge for our service. Also, because we work with the best dealers in the country, you may be able to buy your car with little or no money down. Go ahead and fill out our simple and secure online application to get started today.