You've got your tripp mapped out, your bags are packed and the weather is cooperating. It's time to head out for that much anticipated summer road trip. But wait! Is your car ready for the demands of travel? Tires, batteries and cooling systems are a few of the most prevalent mechanical failures that can ruin your vacation fun. Here are some car maintenance tips to ensure that your trip runs smoothly...
- Batteries: Your car batteries electrical plates deteriorate over time which can cause short-outs that could potentially leave you stranded hundreds of miles from home at a gas station on a Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. However, there is equipmet that can look into the future and tell you about your battery. For not much money, your batteries CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) can be measured to determine its strength and the estimated remaining battery life. In Oregon, the average battery life is 4-5 years.
- Tires: The correct air pressure for your tires may be found in the vehicle owner's manual or on the tire placard (found in glove box, on fuel door, door edge or doorpost). Having it at the ideal PSI will save you much grief. Also, pay attention to the tire wear bars. When these are even with the tread, it tells you it's time to replace your tire. It is unsafe at this point. As a general rule of thumb, every other oil change is a good time to change your tires. In addition to tire pressure, an automotive professional will perform a general check-up of your tires looking for potential problems such as uneven wear (a rotational problem) or embedded nails.
- Cooling system: If you've got 60,000 miles on your odometer and you haven't had a cooling system check-up, we hope you've got a good roadside assistance program. Among other things, a local mechanic will check the upper radiator hose. Try it for yourself. Squeeze it. If it's crunchy, it's time for it to go. Also, if any portion of the hose is bigger than rest (like a snake that's swallowed a mouse), the cords inside the hose have broken. Again, it's gotta go.
One Cent Auto Repair & Restoration highly recommends that you take these necessary precautions before leaving on a road trip. A qualified mechanic will not only inspect your battery, tires and cooling system, but can also perform a lube and oil change and check for worn engine belts and windshield wipers - all worthwhile preventative steps to give you peace of mind so you can focus on the fun in your vacation.