Travelling can be difficult, and traveling can be fun. The difference usually comes down to how much preparation you do in advance, and how many unplanned obstacles you meet along the way. A great way to avoid setbacks, mishaps, and stressful situations is to make sure your car, truck, or SUV is ready to hit the road. Here are some important points to check before travelling, from Autoworks in Ithaca, NY.
Fluids First, check your oil - but you probably already know that. It’s not a bad idea to carry a quart around with you as well, just in case you end up needing it. Sometimes, an engine can burn a lot of oil over a period of a few hundred miles, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you don’t see any debris, milky coagulation or condensation, and you’re up to date on your oil changes. While the vehicle is completely cooled off, check the coolant level. On most new cars, there is an auxiliary tank you can look at, and see the coolant level without even opening a cap. If your system is pressurized or you must remove the radiator cap, be sure the engine has completely cooled, and open the cap slowly. If you aren’t sure if the engine is cool yet, wait another hour, and open the cap with a rag, just in case. Coolant can burn off or leak discreetly, and often you won’t notice a low coolant level until the vehicle is overheating. Make sure you’re good to go. To check the transmission fluid, follow the recommended procedure in your manual. On most vehicles, you get the car up to operating temperature, and check the dipstick with the vehicle running, in park or neutral. The transmission fluid should look fairly clean, with no debris, and no burnt odors. Brake fluid is also important, for obvious reasons. There are no special tricks here, just pull the cap and make sure the level looks good. Be careful not to allow dirt or moisture into the reservoir.
Tires have a tendency to fail on the highway if they aren’t in good condition. They generate more heat and are subject to much more stress at high speeds over long periods of time. Usually, it takes one a couple of hundred miles to fall apart, so it’s best to check that out beforehand. You can use the penny trick to see if you have enough tread to drive on your tires. Stick an upside-down penny in the deep part of the tread (if you can still find a penny, that is) and make sure the tread is at a minimum higher than the top of Lincoln’s head. Most tires have indicators built into them as well - you’ll see a bar molded into the rubber across the gaps in the tread. If the tread is worn down to the bar, it’s time for tires. Ensure your tires aren’t dry rotten as well. Even if they have perfect tread, an old tire will fall apart, vibrate, and make handling difficult. Check for gouges, bubbles, and other damage on the sidewall too.
Finally, make sure you can see all the treads, and confirm it isn’t worn all the way through on the inside. Often, people only look at the outer portion of the tread, which looks fine, and don’t notice their tire is about to fail. Maintenance Items Make sure you aren’t overdue on fluid changes, timing belt replacements, drive belt replacements, tire rotations, and the like. Check that your suspension components are in good working order, and not rattling and shaking while you drive. A bad ball joint can put an end to a trip real quick, as can a broken belt. It’s hard to guarantee there won’t be bumps along the way, but it’s certainly worth the peace of mind to handle whatever you’re in control of preventing. For a multi-point inspection, maintenance, or repair, Autoworks in Ithaca, NY has the professional technicians you’re looking for. For the best auto service shop in town, call or stop by any time.
Thank you for visiting Autoworks in Ithaca, NY. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.