Holidays are around the corner and many will take road trips to visit family, go on vacation, go camping. Now is the time to make sure your car will take you safely to your destination. What should you check your car for?
Let’s take a walk around the car and get it ready for the trip
Are they correctly inflated? Most tire stores will check your tire pressure at no charge or you can check them yourself, most gas stations have an air station and for a few quarters you can check the air pressure, you may even have one of those multi use gizmo that also has a compressor. Ideally you want to do it before driving and before your tires get warm. Check the recommended pressure, on most cars you will find it on the driver side pillar.
Do you have enough thread left to drive safely in the rain and if you are going up the mountains, in the snow. again, you can go to a tire store or do the penny test or as new studies suggest, replacing the penny with a quarter
Windows and mirrors:
Are they clean inside and out? Most clean the outside windows regularly or when they wash the car, most try to avoid cleaning the inside, especially the windshield but a dirty inside windshield is a safety risk. Dust on the outside and the film on the inside both increase glare and as a result driver fatigue, reduces visibility, and increases the risk of accident
Don’t forget the rear window. I know, it’s a pain to clean on sedans and coupes but with time they also get dirty and create glare from headlights at night
When did you last check your windshield wipers?
I know, we live in Southern California and it does not rain much but windshield wipers bake on the hot windshield for months and damages the blades. You should change your wipers at least twice a year and when they streak on the windshield
Check the windshield wiper fluid. Are you going to be driving in freezing temperatures? Chose the right fluid, some are designed for Winter driving and will not freeze
Check all lights, it’s not just about seeing it’s also about being seen.
Are your headlights working
Are they clear (with time, plastic headlights become cloudy and reduce visibility, check out our blog post on clearing cloudy headlights)
Your brake lights
Your back up light
Your warning signals
Replace the bulbs if necessary, if one side goes out, change both sides, the other side bulb is likely to go out soon and keep spares in your car
Clean the inside of your car:
A road trip is a good opportunity to do that cleaning and vacuuming you have been procrastinating
Now let’s open the hood:
Are you due for an oil change?
Check your levels:
Check your battery
Do you see any sign of corrosion (you know that white powder around the terminals. Corrosion can prevent the car from starting and the battery from charging.
If you do, clean them, you can use a wire brush or buy a battery cleaner spray your local auto store, when you are done spray a battery terminal protector
You can also go to your local mechanic, auto store or battery store to get the battery tested.