No matter where you are traveling this holiday season, having car problems or an accident is a sure way to put a damper on things. One way to make certain you have trouble free holiday travel is to make sure your vehicle is prepared.
We have already blogged about the traveling tool box that we carry with our car. However, that is only part of the preparations we take. We want to make certain that the Funmobile will get us to where we’re going on time and in good shape.
“The best way to avoid car trouble is to have your vehicle professionally inspected,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Mechanics can ensure the recent cold weather didn’t damage your car battery. They can also ensure your tires, brakes, belts and hoses are all in good shape for your trip.”
Of course, our car has plenty of warning lights and other means to let us know if there’s something wrong. In addition, we have developed an ongoing relationship with our mechanic. He lets us know if there’s something that is going to need attention so that we can take care of it before it becomes a problem.
- Check your tire pressure and tread. Inspect all four tires and the spare (if you have one). Look for cuts, gouges or sidewall bulges. Check the tire tread by inserting a quarter upside down between the tread. If you can still see the top of George Washington’s head, you need new tires. Check tire pressure before driving. Inflate to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Listen to and feel the brakes. If you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration when applying the brakes, get them professionally inspected.
- Secure and test the battery. Have a service professional check your battery to determine the remaining capacity. Ensure the cable connections are clean and tight, and the hardware is secure.
- Top off engine oil and other fluids. Ensure engine oil, coolant and brake transmission, and power steering fluids are all at the correct levels for safe vehicle operation.
- Replace wiper blades and replenish windshield cleaner fluid. If wipers streak or fail to clear the windshield thoroughly, it’s time for new blades.
- Check belts and hoses. Replace belts that are cracked, glazed or frayed. As a general rule, drive belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles. Also radiator hoses should not leak or be worn, brittle, or excessively soft.
- Replenish emergency kit supplies. Kits should include a cell phone charger, car battery booster cables, flashlight and extra batteries, first-aid supplies, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for people and pets, emergency flares or reflectors, rain poncho, basic tool kit, duct tape, gloves and shop rags or paper towels.
Remember, traveling can be more than half the fun. We think that being prepared means your trip won’t be spoiled. Our adage is, if you have it, chances are you won’t need it.
Let us take this opportunity to wish you a Blessed Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, a wonderful New Year and Happy Motoring!