If your car is overdue for servicing, you may be tempted to let it run for a few hundred more miles, especially if you're too busy to visit a mechanic. But, if you're one of the one in three Americans who plans to take a road trip this holiday season, you may want to reconsider.
Not only will regular maintenance reduce your risk of car troubles while you're on the road, but a well-maintained vehicle will also maintain its value.
Chris Holsinger of All Valley Car Care offers this practical advice before embarking on a road trip, "Check your wipers and wiper fluid. When the rain falls, you don't want to discover your wipers are useless. Bug hits can also really mess a windshield, so you'll need a full fluid reservoir."
Here are five other maintenance tips to get your vehicle in tip-top shape before the holidays.
Your brake system is complex but simple to maintain. One of the critical tasks for brake maintenance is checking the brake pads and rotors. Another crucial task is to flush the brake fluid. The fluid plays a vital role as it acts as a messenger between a driver and the car's brakes system. A cloudy and milky appearance is an indication that you need to replace it.
Besides having aesthetic benefits for your car, this process will increase your safety while behind the wheel. Headlights can oxidize from time to time due to normal wear and tear, and the weather is a major factor when it comes to headlight damage. With time, weather elements such as the sun and snow can be harsh on the headlights and reduce visibility and performance.
Check the Air Conditioning System
You can improve comfort during your trips by ensuring the AC is in good condition. Like any other equipment in your car, it may stop working. One of the common causes of AC failure is a refrigerant leak, which usually happens during the winter.
If you notice that your vehicle is losing the refrigerant, chances are there are leaks. If that happens, you need to perform a leak test.
Go for Tire Inspection
According to CBS News, roughly 60 of people don't know how to change a tire. If you're one of these people, inspecting your tires before you embark on a road trip is even more critical.
First, check the tread depth to ensure you have adequate traction to grip when you hit the road. One of the common ways of doing this is performing the penny test. The next step involves checking the tire pressure. Tires should be properly inflated.
Keep Up With Oil Changes
When it comes to maintaining the engine in good condition, changing your oil regularly is imperative. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing it every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Changing the oil is an effective way of removing engine gunk. Draining the fluid removes all the impurities that may present in the oil. Using new oil also helps to produce more power and ensures the highest possible fuel economy.