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With the summer coming, we know a lot of our readers will be going on vacations, staycations, and road trips. That’s all good and gravy, but we feel a responsibility to educate everyone on some good pre-vacation practice, especially for road trips. When driving across state, or the country, it can mean going far away and tacking miles onto your car. Before leaving, it’s smart to do some routine maintenance, a lot of which you can do yourself.
Do It Yourself Car Maintenance
Let’s start off with some easy ones, all of which can be done in an hour or two. Best to do these a few days ahead of your trip though, and not the day of, in case you find yourself with a faulty car battery.
Filler Up! Nothing like stalling out on the side of the road because you forgot to stop at the gas station before heading out for the road ahead. Even at half a tank, the next pit stop on the open road may not be for 100 miles or more. Depending on the miles-per-gallon your vehicle gets, that could be a problem, so fill up the tank before leaving town and thank us later.
Give the car a check up in minutes. To check the battery, one can easily go to an auto shop, most will give a free five-minute check to test the battery and find out if it’s running low on juice. Of course, car batteries last pretty long, so you may not need to worry, but it’s good to check. You can also do this yourself by going to a retailer and picking up a device to test your car battery. Another good idea would be to find a unit like CarMD that can run a diagnostics test on your car, as long as it has a computer, and let you know of any pending problems.
What about the tires? Are they in good shape or are they worn down? Driving on worn tires can be a bad idea. If they’re just low on air and you have a pump, check the tire pressure suggested and pump it up. Or, go to a mechanic - they might do it for free.
Check with the Mechanic
Aside from adjusting tire pressure, we’re going to guess our readers don’t have tires lying around, aside from a spare. So it’s best to get worn tires replaced before a long trip. That just eliminates the tires from being an issue at all.
You can also do things like performing an oil change without trouble, but some of us rather let a professional handle it. If doing it yourself, it may be cheaper, because we should also check on the main fluids, such as brake fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, etc. We’re not saying an auto shop will charge for every one of these, but we’re not saying they won’t either. Since most can be done solo, we’d say have a pro do an oil change, and then take care of the rest on your own.
That about covers it. Painless, right? Now you can hit the road with peace of mind. Take some pictures for us - wish we were there!
Photo Source/Copyright: Shutterstock.com; splfaum