The coming months will be the season for vacations and weekend expeditions with your friends and family. But even though road trips and highway journeys may be a fun-filled event for you, it puts a lot of strain on your car.  To avoid unexpected problems and reduce your chances of needing serious auto repairs, you should always inspect your auto, follow a routine maintenance schedule and observe these seasonal safety tips, especially before heading out for a long trip.  A general check-up by a professional mechanic or automotive service shop is always recommended if you are heading out for a long trip.

A big concern this season is your automobile’s tires. High temperatures cause your car’s tires to deflate, therefore decreasing the tire’s air pressure. It’s been proven that with a 10-degree change, your tires lose about 1-2 pounds per square inch. If your tires remain improperly inflated, more pressure will be placed on them from the road, eventually leading to tread separation or a blowout, potentially causing an accident.  Before you set out on any kind of outing, make sure that your tires have been inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications, allowing them to endure the distance and the climate changes.  While you are checking out the tires, an inspection of your brakes is also in order.

Next thing to take notice of is your oil. This is what keeps your car running smoothly from the inside and keeps your engine and its parts properly lubricated. Due to the immense heat and humidity of the warmer months, your engine is much more likely to overheat in the summer temperatures than at any other time. It is advised that you keep a schedule of when to change your car’s oil and oil filter.  When you check the car’s oil, a ‘clean oil’ should be yellowish or light brown in color, and be within the marked indicators on the dipstick, meaning you’re all set for your journey. If the oil is dark, that means that there’s dirt and grime in your engine and your car is in need of an oil change.  If the oil is dark, you should be sure to handle the problem before other issues arise that could result in the need for other auto repairs.

The check up should also involve checking all of the car’s belts and hoses.  The belts and hoses used today often outlive some of the older ones; it doesn’t mean you can go on forever without replacing them.  In order to prevent unexpected problems, checking the condition of belts and hoses, as well as belt tension and hose connections should be a part of your routine inspection of your car or truck.

Also important is the condition of your radiator and cooling system.  You want to make sure that you have the proper water level, and that the system is operating correctly, allowing for proper flow of the engine’s coolant.  The coolant must flow through the hoses and throughout the radiator, making sure the system is free of leaks and free of blockages.

Along with the things we’ve already talked about, the battery, all of the lights, and even the windshield wipers should be checked out.  While the warmer months bring us fun in the sun and trips from around town to around the country, safety should always be your first concern.  Proper auto inspections and maintenance can save you and your trip from unexpected problems and surprise auto repairs that can turn a good trip bad.  Before you head out on the road, take your car or truck for a check-up by your auto repair shop or trusted mechanic, it could just save your life!

March 14, 2013 admin Auto articles, Columbia SC, Repair Help, SC, Tips