If you’re heading out of town this Thanksgiving or over the winter break at school, now is the time to take care of your car so it doesn’t have an issue during your travels. It only takes a little time to complete these pre-travel checks, but they can save you a lot of frustration. And, if you start now, and realize you need an appointment with your mechanic, you can get in before you plan on leaving.
Check Your Tires
One of the most dangerous things that can happen on a road trip is a flat tire. You are either stuck changing it on a potentially busy highway or waiting hours for your road service to arrive so they can do it. A few simple checks before you hit the road can help prevent issues.
- Check the tire tread depth to determine if you need new tires. There are a few easy ways to do this, all of which are summarized here – https://www.wikihow.com/Check-Tire-Tread
- Check tire pressure. When your tires are properly inflated, you’re less likely to be in an accident and you’ll get better gas mileage.
- Look at your tire maintenance. When was the last time you had your tires rotated? If it’s been more than 6,000 miles, it’s time to do it again.
Don’t forget to check your spare too! You may find its under inflated (or that you don’t have one).
Evaluate Your Fluids
The various fluids in your engine all have an important job. If they are low or too old, they can’t do their job. Most fluids have a dipstick that you can remove and check. The dipstick has a line on it indicating proper levels. The trick is knowing when to look. For example, oil should be checked when the car has been off for at least ten minutes, whereas transmission fluid should be checked while it’s warmed up and running. Make sure to wipe the dipstick clean and re-insert for a proper check.
Don’t just look at the fluid level, also check the color and texture. That means you need to know what color each fluid should be when it’s in good condition but it’s often easy to tell when you need a fluid flush.
Lights are an important safety feature of your car. Although you may not have a breakdown or end up stranded because your lights aren’t working, you could end up in an accident or with a ticket. The best way to check your lights is with a second person. Have them operate the turn signal, brakes and other lights while you walk around the car to make sure they’re all illuminated at the proper time.
If you need any maintenance, from tire rotation to a fluid flush or oil change before you head out of town this holiday season, call Oldsmar Automotive at (727) 784-3501 to schedule an appointment. We’re conveniently located at 3166 Tampa Road in Oldsmar and offer complete car maintenance and repair.