If you are traveling over the Christmas and New Year holiday, you’ll probably have plenty of company on the road. For the 97.4 million Americans planning to hit the road, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, in collaboration with AAA, predicts travel times during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the normal trip. While this could wreak havoc on your nerves, it could also take a toll on your vehicle.
If you are planning to travel by car this holiday season, it is important that you take the necessary steps to avoid ending up on the side of the road, which could not only prove frustrating, but also extremely dangerous. A properly maintained car will get you to your destination safely and save you some money in the process.
Here’s what you need to check with regard to your vehicle:
Oil levels: Make sure your engine oil levels are good and if you are due for an oil change, now might be the time to get it done. Even if you are close to the manufacturer-recommended oil change interval listed in your manual, do it, particularly if you are getting ready for a long road trip.
Transmission fluids: Both your transmission and drive axle have their lubricant supplies. Refer to your owner’s manual for details on when those need to be changed. Look for leaks, cracks, peeling or separation in your vehicle’s hoses. Replace them if they are worn out or leaking before they lead to bigger problems.
Belts: Check the engine belts by turning them sideways with your hand so you can see the friction surface. If they are torn or cracked, it’s time to change them. If belts are loose, they may have to be retensioned or replaced.
Engine coolant: If your car is under four years old, ensure that the under-hood coolant reservoir is topped up. Not all coolants are the same. So be sure you are using the same coolant type that is already in the engine.
Tire pressure and tread: If you don’t take good care of your tires, it could lead to a blowout. Also, look at the tread on all four tires to make sure it’s not too worn or unevenly worn.
Brakes: Be sure to have sufficient brake fluid. Water-laden brake fluid, besides causing damage to very costly brake parts, also lowers the fluid’s boiling point. A lowered boiling point can lead to a squishy brake pedal. You need your brakes to be in good condition, should you need to slow down or stop your vehicle.
Emergency kit: In case your car does break down, be prepared with water for yourself and the radiator, jumper cables, a flashlight, batteries, flares and a first-aid kit.
From all of us at Bisnar Chase, we hope you have safe and wonderful holiday season!