Prepare your Car for Summer Safety
With the economy the way it is, now more than ever families are driving to their destinations instead of driving. You may be saving money, but if you don’t have your car checked out, your tires filled, your engine looked at, it could prove more hazardous than flying. It is very important to have your car properly attended to before you start your summer vacation road trip. Here are the key areas of your car you need to look at before you do anything else.
Fluids Fluids are an important part of any vehicle checklist. Expect your technician to check and perhaps replace or top off the following: antifreeze/coolant, transmission, engine oil, brake fluid, washer fluid, power steering fluid and gasoline. The transmission fluid, oil and gasoline also have filters that will need to be examined. Air filter Speaking of filters, another important filter to examine in a check up is the air filter.
This strains the impurities and should be changed at recommended intervals in order to protect the engine. Vision Not surprisingly, it’s a driver’s vision, not his hearing or smell, that guides 90 percent of driving decisions. That’s why something as simple as a misdirected or burned out headlight can spell disaster on a rainy night. Now is the time to make sure headlights, windshields, window glass, signal lights, mirrors and wipers/blades are in good shape. Brakes Although brakes are constructed with built in “squealers” to alert motorists to declining conditions, it’s a good idea to have them examined before a trip. Of course brakes also should be checked at regular intervals (see owner’s manual) and whenever they begin feeling abnormal.
Battery Unlike some of a car’s components, a battery can be easily tested and, if necessary, replaced prior to a trip. While cold weather affects a battery’s starting ability, hot weather takes its toll, making a trip with a weak battery a true disappointment (but maybe a funny story) at best. A tip this summer: leaving your Ipod hooked up to your car drains the car’s battery. You should always unplug your Ipod before turning your car off. Tires Technicians are fond of pointing out that at any given time, a motorist is connected to the road by the few square inches of rubber that are in contact with the road.
Make sure that the tire tread is deep enough, the tires are properly inflated and have been correctly rotated, balanced and aligned, and do not fill your tires more than the required amount. The rubber on tires expands when it gets hot. Also take into account weight; are there six people in the car with six bags of luggage, or are you adding a box on top to carry everything? Be aware, however, your technician may suggest other checks to perform during a pre-vacation inspection. Don’t put your car’s reliability and your family’s safety at risk. The best bet is to get the most thorough examination you can afford.