Nothing matches the fun and excitement of a summer road trip. You have mapped out your route and all of your stops, figured out where you will stay and calculated how long it will take. All that is left to do before you hook up that new boat or camper, or hit the road with your family or friends is take the time to review these tips and make sure your trip is as safe as possible.
Get Your Car Serviced
Regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns. You can also check for recalls with the NHTSA’s VIN look-up tool by entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn of a safety recall in the last 15 years.
Check for Minor Damage
Have you previously had a fender bender or had other damage? Watch for reduced battery life, check engine lights, leaking fluid or poor alignment. Pay close attention to gauges and any smells that might seem abnormal and have your car looked at by an auto body shop like Turk’s Collision Center. They are trained in how and where to look for hidden damage that you may not see, what can be safely repaired and what needs to be replaced, how to inspect and repair air bags and seat belts, and current vehicle technologies and repair techniques.
Check Your Tires
Underinflation is the leading cause of tire failure. The correct pressure for your tires is listed on a label on the driver’s door pillar or door frame or in the vehicle owner’s manual and confirm you have a spare tire. Look for the built-in wear bar indicators on your tires or use the “penny test” to determine when it’s time to replace your tires. Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your vehicle needs new tires.
Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Towing a trailer? Be sure to also check your trailer including brake lights and turn signals. A failure of the trailer light connection is a common problem and a serious safety hazard.
The radiator in your vehicle needs water and antifreeze (coolant) to keep your engine functioning properly. When the engine is completely cool, carefully check your coolant level to make sure the reservoir is full. In addition, if your coolant is clear, looks rusty, or has particles floating in it, it is time to have your cooling system flushed and refilled. If your coolant looks sludgy or oily, immediately take your vehicle to a mechanic.
As with coolant, if it’s nearly time to have the oil changed, now would be a good time to do it. In addition, check the following fluid levels: brake, automatic transmission or clutch, power steering, and windshield washer. Make sure each reservoir is full; if you see any signs of fluid leakage, take your vehicle in to be serviced.
Belts and Hoses
Look under the hood and inspect all belts and hoses to make sure there are no signs of bulges,
blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber. High summer temperatures accelerate the rate at which rubber belts and hoses degrade, so it’s best to replace them now if they show signs of obvious wear.
After the heavy toll imposed by winter storms and spring rains, windshield wiper blades may need to be replaced. Like rubber belts and hoses, wiper blades are vulnerable to the summer heat. Examine your blades for signs of wear and tear on both sides.
Even well maintained vehicles can be in an accident or collision on the road. If this happens contact Turk’s Collision Center. They have a state-of-the-art automotive body repair shop with I-CAR Gold Status, A.S.E. certified technicians and CCC Pathways certified estimators. When you bring your vehicle to our Gold Class shop, you can be confident our technicians are the best. Don’t guess. Choose our Gold Class trained repair professionals for your collision repair because safety matters.