Tips for car repair while on vacation

TIPS OF THE WEEK

Bennett Oghifo

It is the season for family and friends to get together and enjoy the time spent with each other. It may mean taking a road trip, with many more heading for highways and roads. But with more travelers comes a greater chance of accidents.

Leave early

It helps to leave early for your destination so that you don’t feel rushed. Plan ahead to avoid making a hasty driving decision. The more time you give yourself, the more likely you are to be a patient and safe driver.

Sleep well

Never go on a road trip while drowsy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 72,000 crashes nationwide are caused by sleepy drivers. Go to bed in time to get a good night’s sleep the night before a trip.

If you are traveling overnight, consider walking a short distance and then stopping to rest. If you’re having trouble concentrating on the road, stop and rest for 20 minutes. A well-lit grocery store or hospital parking lot is ideal at night due to the number of people around.

Monitor the roads and the weather

Before setting off on your road trip, check the road and weather conditions. If you think you might encounter bad weather, pay attention to the travel warnings. If conditions are extreme, wait until the weather improves before taking off. Better to arrive a day or two later than not to arrive at all. If you don’t feel comfortable driving in the weather conditions for your route, you can also look for alternative routes that will allow you to avoid it.

Monitor your surroundings

Accidents can happen on residential roads, rural roads and major highways. Regardless of the time of day, pay attention to your surroundings when driving. Stay away from erratic drivers, watch out for freeway exits and entrances, and always use your lights and turn signals to let others know where you are going.

At ProCare Collision, we want everyone to be safe when traveling for vacation. If you are involved in a collision, give us a call for a free estimate and we will exceed your expectations for an effective accident repair.

This list is meant to cover all of the routine checks you will want to do before an extended trip, to make sure you and your family are driving safely.

1. No heating? It may be more than you think.

If you found out this winter that your car is not blowing hot air, it could be a bigger problem. The heat comes from your engine and the internal workings of the car. This means that a larger part of your car is probably not doing something it should. To avoid surprises on the road, do not take your car on this route until the problem is resolved. You don’t want to find yourself in a random body shop far from home.

2. Check your dashboard and lights

Make sure there are no warning lights on your dashboard. If there is, take your car to a mechanic to check the onboard diagnostics with a scanning device. It works like a computer and reads if there is a problem with the vehicle. This step will help you find out the causes behind the warning lights and how to fix them.

Also check your headlights. Turn them on and off to make sure they all work. Otherwise, go to your local auto parts store to purchase new bulbs. Being visible to other drivers is a key safety concern, and drivers who use their headlights all day are less likely to have an accident.

Also, if you haven’t driven the car recently, take it for a test drive on the freeway, listen for noises, feel the jerks, and watch for signs of trouble in the gauges.

3. Tire pressure and tread

Tires are a major safety concern. Check the tire pressure and the tread before driving for a long time.

Look in your car’s manual for the recommended tire pressure. People often think of the number on the tire as the pressure, but it is the maximum amount the tire can hold. Overfilling the tire combined with hot weather can cause a blowout.

Make sure you add the right amount of air to your tires. Inspect the tread of your tires. Tire baldness can increase the chance of a blowout and reduce traction.

4. Engine oil and coolant

Check your oil levels and the mileage you owe for an oil change. If you’re nearing the suggested mileage for an oil change, go ahead and do it before you hit the road.

So be sure to check your coolant levels as well. You don’t want to be stuck with an overheated car.

5. Brakes

Make sure to check your brake pads. If they squeak, or if it’s been over 50,000 miles since you replaced your brakes, it’s a safe bet to replace them before you hit the road.

You can also do a little test at home by looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the spokes of the wheel. The outer pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. There should be at least 1/4 inch of pad if you see less than that, you may want to replace them.

6. Transmission

A transmission is what changes the gearing of an engine, and your transmission and drive axle have their own lubricant. Check them before you hit the road. Consult your owner’s manual for advice or take it to a local transmission store for a quick recharge.

7. Belt

Most cars have features that cannot run without the belt, like the alternator, water pump, power steering, and even air conditioning. You can easily check the belts by turning them on their side and making sure there are no rips or tears or by taking your car to a local auto parts store.

Have your belts changed if the auto parts store recommends it. If you are a vehicle connoisseur, check out this video below for how to change them at home.

8. Battery

While it can be a bit difficult to spot whether you have a good or a bad battery, there are steps you can take to make sure there is a strong connection to the car’s electrical system.

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a clean container, use a toothbrush to clean your battery and then wipe off the mixture.

9. Documents

Make sure your documents are up to date. Carry your insurance papers, registration, driver’s license and any other vehicle information that might be useful during your trip.

10. Emergency kit

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Have an emergency kit with essential items if you get stranded or have car trouble.

A few things to consider include a few blankets, a bright flashlight, jumper cables, and a few basic tools like a screwdriver or wrench.

Family trips are a great way to bond and explore parts of the world you’ve never been to before. Make sure your car is ready to drive there and back safely. (Source: Procare)


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Sylvia F. Hernandez