Preparing Your Vehicle for the Summer

Car trouble in your summer holiday is more than only a repair bill. It can mean towing fees, accommodations and a rental car. When you consider the price of additional phone calls, meals and general aggravation, your holiday can become a budget-buster. Most breakdowns can be avoided with a pre-vacation review on your own or a professional service technician.

So before packaging, set aside the time to be certain that your car is ready. 15 minutes of preventative care on your driveway only may eliminate hours of aggravating on-the-road issues. Follow these 5 steps and you will begin your trip right.

Fluids:
Check all of your vehicle’s fluid levels. This could be engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Most cars have transparent reservoir tanks so that you might not even have to get your hands dirty. Check the owners’ manual for procedures for checking and adding fluids. When you check the brake fluid level, examine the fluid color. You want it to be clear or light amber. When it’s dark and muddy, you have got contaminated brake fluid, and it needs to be replaced along with the brake system flushed.

Belts and Hoses:
All drive belts and hoses should be checked for signs of deterioration and wear. Replace any belt that is frayed, cracked or has chunks missing. With the engine cold, look at all of the hoses for leaks, cracks, or swelling. Replace as necessary.

Battery:
One of the biggest culprits is the battery when it comes to holiday stoppers. Make sure that the electrolyte fluid is at the proper level. Remove battery caps and look inside- the amount should be above the battery plates. If your battery is more than four or five years old, consider replacing it for a much more worry-free trip.

Also, make sure that battery terminals and wires are clean and firmly connected to the terminals. If the terminals and wires are coated with”snow”, remove the wires from the battery and thoroughly wash the wires and terminals.

Cooling system:
Continual highway driving and hot summer days combined place a huge load on the engine cooling system. How many times have you passed some bad guy on the side of the road with the hood up and steam coming from the radiator? If your radiator has regular green anti-freeze that hasn’t been changed for a couple of decades, now’s the time to do it. If it’s long life anti-freeze check the recommended change intervals and whether the mileage is going to be attained during the trip, change it today.

Air-conditioning:
Make certain your air conditioning is functioning nicely. Run it for a while in all its modes, checking that the airflow is coming from all vents. If the system requires an unreasonably long time to cool the interior of the vehicle, or the atmosphere just does not get cold enough, chances are the machine has to be checked for leaks and recharged.

Whilst following this list of tests, be conscious of more generalized warning signals also. Ticking, clunking or knocking noises, a sudden vibration or shimmy, or anything out of the ordinary is likely a symptom of a hidden problem which ought to be assessed before hitting the street.

No matter how comprehensive your pre-trip preparations, unexpected problems still happen. That’s why it is a fantastic idea to have a simple road-kit onboard if something should occur. Jumper cables, flares, a prepaid mobile phone, spare anti-freeze, a gallon of water, three quarts of oil, and other hand tools are great to have. You can purchase a ready-made emergency kit or make one up your own.

While no review can absolutely guarantee your vehicle’s performance, it’s sure comforting to know all of the precautions which were taken. Now you’re as prepared as possible, enjoy your vacation and relax.