Specializing in European and Asian car repair, preventative maintenance and service
Vacation To-Do List
Brought to you by Car Care Council
When the last beach towel was loaded, the family pulled out of the driveway and headed on vacation. Thatís when an unsettling moaning noise caught their attention.
Chances are the moaning noise was a result of low transmission fluid. But without a professional technician to check it out, how could the travelers be certain that topping it off would fix it?
A pre-trip review is the smart way to begin a vacation or road trip. Long before the dog goes to the sitter and the neighbors are asked to pick up the newspapers, itís important to schedule an appointment with your repair facility to examine the vehicle.
Fluids are an important part of any vehicle checklist. Expect your technician to check and perhaps replace or top off the following: antifreeze/coolant, transmission, engine oil, brake fluid, washer fluid, power steering fluid and gasoline. The transmission fluid, oil and gasoline also have filters that will need to be examined.
Another important filter to examine in a check up is the air filter. This strains the impurities and should be changed at recommended intervals in order to protect the engine.
Not surprisingly, itís a driverís vision, not his hearing or smell, which guides 90% of driving decisions. Thatís why something as simple as a misdirected or burned out headlight can spell disaster on a rainy night. Now is the time to make sure headlights, windshields, window glass, signal lights, mirrors and wipers/blades are in good shape.
Although brakes are constructed with built in ďsquealersĒ to alert motorists to declining conditions, itís a good idea to have them examined before a trip. Brakes also should be checked at regular intervals (see ownerís manual) and whenever they begin feeling abnormal.
Unlike some of a carís components, a battery can be easily tested and, if necessary, replaced prior to a trip. While cold weather affects a batteryís starting ability, hot weather takes its toll, making a trip with a weak battery a true crapshoot at best.
Technicians are fond of pointing out that at any given time, a motorist is connected to the road by the few square inches of rubber that are in contact with the road. Make sure that the tire tread is deep enough; the tires are properly inflated and have been correctly rotated, balanced and aligned.
Your technician may suggest other checks to perform during a pre-vacation inspection. Donít put your carís reliability and your familyís safety on the line. The best bet is to get the most thorough examination you can afford. Itís some of the cheapest insurance around.
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