Summer is here and that means you and your family are ready to escape reality and spend long days basking in the summer sun. Before you take off and go remember that your car deserves some TLC too. The last any of you would want is unexpected car trouble or accidents causing frustrations and disaster on the road. Through planning and preparation- you can prevent your car from failing on the long drive to freedom.
The key is to be prepared. Ensure the car has a full inspection before you leave. There are 10 things you need to check:
- Check the fluids
Oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and brake fluid are all fluids that can cause disaster if not checked properly. Top off the fluids if they are low. If you have not changed your oil in the last 3000 km it is a good idea to change it now.
- Check the wipers
Make sure there is no smear left behind on the windows when using your wipers. If there is, replace the wipers to improve driving visibility.
- Check brakes
This is one of the most important checks to do. The brakes should be at least 50 percent. If they are not, replace them, especially if you are going to be driving more than 1000 km or in a mountainous terrain.
- Check batteries and cables
Become your car’s electrician and make sure all batteries and cables are securely attached with wires. These wires should be free from corrosion.
- Make sure the lights work
Brake lights, turn signals, headlights and taillights all need to be checked and replaced if necessary. If you are driving a truck with running lights or a motorhome, make sure all running lights are working.
- Make sure all shocks, struts and springs are in good condition
Replace these items if necessary.
- Check the tires.
Check for tread wear or uneven tread wear and replace the tires if necessary. Make sure he alignment of the tires is correct. Inflate all tires to the appropriate pressure.
- Check if any lights on the dashboard are lit
Make sure the service engine soon light and any other “dummy lights” are not lit. If they are – fix the problem before you leave.
- Do a tune up.
If it has been more than three years since your last maintenance update do the recommended maintenance for your car. If you have a timing belt and you are within a few thousand km of the replacement time, have the timing belt replaced.
- Make sure you have a roadside survival kit
No matter how much you prepare – something unexpected can always happen. This kit will make sure that, if the worst comes to pass, you can handle it.
This kit should include:
- A blanket, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and some extra food and water.
- A copy of your car’s warranty, insurance and contact information for your emergency car care service. An emergency car care service like the AA will provide roadside assistance in any situation so it is best to have their emergency contact number on hand throughout the trip.
- A set of spare car keys in case you lose your keys.
Preparing for these problems will make sure that, when you are on vacation, you can enjoy nothing but sunshine and relaxation.