Road trip!

August 6th, 2013

Whether you’re driving across town, or across the country, it is a relative catastrophe when your car breaks down.  Failure to perform routine maintenance can lead to costly repairs, or worse, such as injury.

Fortunately, the type of maintenance needed is relatively simple.  You can do-it-yourself or leave it to a trusted mechanic.

If possible, maintenance of your car should be done about a month before any extended trip.  That way, if you find any problems or potential problems, you can address the issue and feel comfortable and confident while cruising down the road.

•  Check fluid levels – Changing motor oil is the simplest, and most consequential maintenance task.  Going too far in between oil changes can drastically decrease the life of the engine.

°  Also check coolant, and windshield washer fluid.

°  Check for any leaks well in advance, and have them repaired.

•  Tires – Check the pressure of each tire, and inflate to your car manufacturer’s specifications.  Low pressure brings more of the tire into contact with the ground.  Which leads to uneven wear, and more heat.  At high speeds, a hotter tire can mean a potentially deadly blow-out.

°  Spare Tire and Jack – Ensure they are present, and the tire is properly inflated.

°  Tread – Put a penny with Lincoln’s head facing down into the tire tread.  If you can see the space above his head, get new tires.

•  Air Filter – Change the engine air filter at least every 10,000 miles.  A clogged air filter reduces fuel efficiency and can be more costly in the long run.

•  Ongoing problems – If you hear noises from your engine that just don’t sound right or seem new, have the engine checked out before the trip.

A little planning can go a long way towards keeping a trip carefree and fun!