for your holiday gathering? Whether you’re going down the road or across the
country, ensure your vehicle’s up to the task while you still have time.
Tires: Check your
tread. If it’s worn down, get new tires now before you’re on the interstate.
Here’s what the NAPA advises:
tire wear by locating the wear bars embedded in the tire groove. If the surface
of the read is close to—or even with—the wear indicator, it’s time for new
tires. If not, rotate your tires as necessary to promote even wear, and check
air pressure using an accurate digital or analog dial air pressure gauge. Don’t
forget to also check your spare tire for pressure, and to make sure your lug
wrench and jack are in the vehicle.
Fluids: Is it time
for an oil change? Check your fluids and top the, off as necessary. Fluids may
include motor oil, automatic transmission fluid, coolant (or antifreeze), brake
fluid, power steering fluid and windshied washer fluid.
Engine Maintenance: If you’re
due for an oil change or other scheduled service (or if you will be by the time
you’re back from your trip), play it safe and take care of it now. If you have a
shop do the work, ask them to perform fluid, air filter and belt inspections at
the same time. And note: Many shops already include those inspections with
their oil change services.
Belts and Hoses: Inspect
accessory belts and radiator hoses to be sure none are near failture. Hoses
typically last about 4 years (or 60,000 miles). Modern belts hide their wear
better than older ones, so have them checked carefully for signs of cracking,
abrasion and glazing.
Filter Check: Nearly
every vehicle has an engine air filter under the hood. Simply perform a visual
inspection of the filter—if it looks dirty, replace it. Some cars and trucks
also have a cabin air filter that cleans air used for ventilation inside the
vehicle, which can be inspected by eye as well.
Brake Inspection: Brakes are
essential to safety, so it’s wise to make sure they’re in good condition.
Remove your wheels if necessary and check the brake pad wear. Check your rotors
for grooves or damage, and make sure that no brake fluid leaks are evident on
or near the caliper.
Windshield Wiper Blades: If your
windshield wiper blades are worn, you probably already know it—they just don’t
wipe the glass clean anymore, and you can likely see the rubber blade coming
apart. Replace them if necessary, and make sure to check the rear wiper blade
if you have one.
Winsheild Glass and Mirrors: Check your
windshield, windows and mirrors and fill any cracks as necessary. It’s also a
good idea to clean all glass and windows for full visibility before hitting the
Exterior Lighting: Be sure
your headlights, high beams, front parking lamps and front turn signals, taillights
and rear turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights and license plate lights
are all functional. If not, replace any inoperable lights. (You may need a
helper to check this with you.)
now for a safe, fun and stress-free holiday.