Summer will be here before we know it! Sunnier, longer days, more hours spent outdoors and with the ones you love; such a great time of the year to look forward to! Before you hit the road on your summer road trips, we want to make sure we have you covered with a brief checklist of must do car care tips!
First things, first. Brakes are that mechanical element to your car that you may neglect without even knowing it! We use them every time we drive our car, and it is an aspect of car maintenance that you definitely want to check before going on any long trip.
Check your brake reservoir for the color of the fluid, and make sure that it is topped up to the full mark. As the brake fluid ages, it turns the color of maple syrup and begins rusting your brake components. This is definitely not good and you will need to consider flushing out your brake fluid. If you haven’t had a brake fluid flush in two or three years, it is a very smart idea to go ahead and get this taken care of.
A rule of thumb is to check and refill your engine oil every 3,000 – 5,000 miles but to be sure you can also consult your owner’s manual to what your manufacturer recommended oil change interval is. Not having sufficient oil levels in your car is one of the last issues you want to worry about when traveling. If you’ll be going long distances consider purchasing synthetic motor oil. Synthetic motor oil helps give your car the protection against thermal breakdowns if you will be traveling in hot weather, engine friction losses are lessened and your fuel economy increases, which creates a cost benefit that you’ll see when you’re on a long drive.
This is not strictly speaking “maintenance,” but you should always check to make sure you have an emergency kit stored in your trunk or back seat for when something goes wrong. You can buy pre-made emergency kits from many retailers or build your own with a spare backpack or duffel bag lying around the house. Some of the most important items to have in your kit include first aid supplies, jumper cables, tow rope, a pocket knife, and a flashlight. An air compressor and fire extinguisher are also great additions to the kit and will help keep you prepared and safe for when mishaps occur on the road.
Tire Pressure & Tread
This one is very important as well to make sure you are squared away and ready for your summer road trip! There’s nothing scarier than driving on tires that are without tread while trudging through new terrain. Be sure to check all of the tires. Be sure the tread is not too worn or unevenly worn at that. To accurately measure your tire treads, you can buy a tire tread-depth gauge for a couple bucks from a local parts store. Most new tires come with 10/32″ of tread depth; if your tires are 2/32″ or lower, it’s time to invest in new tires!
For an accurate tire pressure level, take a look on your driver’s side door, in the glove compartment, or on the fuel filler door for the recommended tire pressure for your wheels. Be sure to check the pressure right before you leave with a reliable gauge; this can be picked up at an auto parts store and an air hose can be used at a corner gas station as well. Having the appropriate tire pressure levels is important as having too much can lead to blowing out a tire, and having too low or tire pressure can waste fuel and cause the tire to run hotter from the extra friction.
These are just some quick tips to get your car road trip ready, visiting your local automobile mechanic for a once over may also be a good idea. Let us know how your trip goes!