Summer’s coming. And that means it’s vacation season once again.
Here in Colorado, the term “road trip” can mean many different things.
Why not visit the Rocky Mountains? A day trip to any of the ski resorts can yield a great time. Hike. Bike. Shop. Or simply hang out in a hot springs pool all day. There’s something to keep everyone’s interest all day long.
Or maybe you have the desire to go further. A long weekend to a place you’ve never been before. Mesa Verde is always a great stop. Or check out the tallest sand dunes in North America – just a short drive away and a true wonder to behold.
And that’s just the start. With so many things to do in Colorado, you can stay quite busy year-round. But if you want to see even more, pack up the family and head out for a week or two. The open road is waiting for you.
Of course, the last thing on your list is to be stranded along the side of the road. If your car stops working in the “middle of nowhere,” you’ll pay a pretty hefty price. You’ll lose valuable time with the family. You may not see what you wanted to see. Stress? Yep, there’ll be plenty of that. And can you really trust the only service station within a hundred miles to do the right thing?
There is another solution. Before you set out on your road trip, take action on a few car maintenance tips first. By doing a few little TLC tasks, you’ll ensure your car is in top shape when you hit the open road. You’ll decrease the chances of having an emergency stop. And you’ll keep your family safe and secure in the process.
Here are the car maintenance tips we suggest.
Change the oil
This should already be on your list or regular maintenance. But if you’ll be putting a couple thousand miles on your vehicle, it’s important to start out with a fresh oil change. This will allow your engine to operate at its peak condition, and give mechanics a chance to ensure everything is working well. Then it won’t matter if you drive out in the open on one of the hottest days of the year. Your car will operate without worry.
Check your car’s battery
How old is the battery? On average, car batteries last from three to five years. If you drive daily and the battery is kept at full charge, you may get even more years from your battery. But if you’re about to hit the open road, do you want to chance it? Pop the hood and take a look. Do you see corrosion? Batteries contain corrosive acid that may leak as they age or if something happens to the connections. Manufacturers recommend having your battery checked and tested annually as your battery ages, and especially before you take a long road trip.
Double check your tires
Or maybe we should say triple check them. Tires will top the list on keeping you safe and secure on your trip, as well as making it an enjoyable experience. Have you ever felt a car shake and shudder? If the tires aren’t properly filled, it impacts the way it handles. It can even cause the tread to wear unevenly, which can damage the tire. Uneven wear can be exacerbated by certain road conditions, especially if you’re driving hundreds of miles in excessive heat. Bring them in for one of our mechanics to check tire inflation, as well as get them rotated too. Then check tire pressure right before you head out of town, and periodically on your trip.
Top off fluids
A vehicle operates using a variety of different fluids. Windshield washer fluid is important for those rainy, dusty areas. Don’t forget the many other fluids used to keep your car running smoothly. Transmission fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant – while these aren’t fluids you replace regularly, they can leak or fail over time. Have you noticed a difference in the way your car performs? Do you notice small puddles when your car sits for a bit? All of that can be a sign one or more systems may need repair. By bringing your car in for a diagnostic test, we can ensure your vehicle is running at its best before you leave town.
Verify lights and electrical
Make sure all internal and external lights are working well. Replace any burnt bulbs to ensure each light is bright and fully illuminated. You may even wish to consider adding an extra bulb in your glove compartment, just in case. You should also test other pieces of equipment to ensure they are working well. Turn on your windshield wipers – do they leave streaks? Is your horn working well? If you’ve noticed any dashboard light flickering, this is also the time to discover why.
Check the brakes
What’s that squealing noise? Or maybe you’ve noticed the brakes don’t engage with a simple tap of the brake pedal; it takes more pressure. That may be a sign your brakes aren’t in top condition. That can be a big deal as you go in and out of the mountains. Checking the brakes is easy for one of our mechanics. We’ll ensure you have enough brake pads left to engage as you head out on your trip. We’ll also ensure the entire brake system is working at its best, so you can start out with peace of mind.
You’ve packed clothes, toys, and snacks for the car. Did you remember to pack an emergency kit? Be prepared and include a few emergency items just to be safe. A basic tool kit may be just what you need in certain situations. Be sure to have enough food and water to hold you until you find help. Do a little research depending on where you’re going – camping is different than visiting urban locations.
Have fun on your road trip this year. With these car maintenance tips, you’ll ensure your car is safe and well cared for, and will be something you don’t have to worry about during your trip.