Important Auto Maintenance Before a Summer Road Trip
The sun is shining, school is out, and it is time for your annual summer vacation. With travel restrictions still in place for many traditional vacation spots, the Summer Road Trip is a popular alternative. Whether your ideal road trip takes you to the lake, the mountains, or on the famous Route 66, make sure your car is safe and road ready. This has been a trying year with many challenges. Many of us have been working from home instead of driving into the office. If your car has been idle for so long, do you still need to do your routine auto maintenance? Absolutely! Even if you have not racked up the miles, the time between oil changes is just as important. Before you start your summer road trip, make sure to do all the basic auto maintenance checks, including brakes, tires, and exhaust.
Routine Auto Maintenance: Time vs. Miles
Automobile manufacturers spend a lot of time designing, testing and evaluating the components that go into your car. They take all that information and come up with a comprehensive maintenance schedule to keep them all working at their best. Then they give you that maintenance schedule in the form of suggestions and recommendations in your owner’s manual.
Often, you will see these recommendations stated as mileage & time markers. For example, your manual may say that you should change your oil every 6,000 miles or 6 months (whichever comes first). So, if your car has been in the garage for the last 6 months, because you have been working from home and having your groceries delivered, do you still need that oil change? You do. Consumables (like fluids) in your car are still in contact with your engine’s components, and they degrade over time – even if you are not driving your car. Experts recommend that you have an oil change every six months, whether you have reached the mileage marker or not.
Items To Check Before Your Road Trip
If you are handy with cars and want to do these checks yourself, then have at it. Otherwise, a certified service technician can do all the dirty work for you and get you on the road quickly and safely.
Coolant System, Hoses & Belts
Driving during the summer can be a hot and uncomfortable experience if your car is overheating.
The exhaust system is super important for fuel efficiency and power. If you want to be able to pass that big rig, then make sure your exhaust system is working properly.
Steering & Suspension
The steering and suspension systems in your car should have regular auto maintenance. Even if you have not driven a lot recently.
Tires, Alignment & Balancing
Did you know that both temperature and elevation affects your tire pressure? As the temperature rises outside, the pressure rises in your tires. Extreme heat (like driving on a blacktop highway in the middle of a hot day) can alter the pressure in your tires from okay and safe, to not-okay and unsafe quickly. Increases (or decreases) in elevation also changes your tire pressure because the actual pressure of the atmosphere changes. If your tire pressure dash light turns on while traveling, pull over when it is safe to do so, and check your pressure. You may need to add or release air from your tires to maintain safe driving conditions.
- Tires: In addition to air pressure, check that there is enough tread on your tires (including the spare) by using a penny or have a technician check for you.
- Alignment: Uneven tire tread may mean you need an ailment. Properly aligned tires increase fuel economy, so get them checked.
- Balancing: Tires that are out of balance can create shaking or noise when driving at higher speeds. Neither are good on a long drive.
The brakes are one of the most important safety components in your car. Make sure your pads, disks, shoes and drums are solid before any extensive road trip. Also check that your tail-lights are in good working order.
Oil & Oil Filter
Your car’s engine relies on clean oil to run smoothly. Over time, oil degrades and accumulates contaminants. It should be checked regularly to maintain appropriate levels and changed as recommended by your owner’s manual.
Air Filter & Cabin Air Filter
The engine air filter helps the combustion process in your engine and should be checked and changed if necessary, prior to a summer road trip. The cabin air filter helps your air conditioner run colder and keeps unpleasant odors from getting into the interior.
An air conditioner service is essential if you plan on driving through hot areas during the day. Maintaining a cool interior is about more than comfort, it is also safer. Dehydration for you, your family and pets can happen quickly in a hot car.
A clean, well charged battery is a simple way to prevent ending up stranded in a remote gas station off the beaten path, looking for someone to give your car a jump start.
Schedule Your Road Trip Auto Maintenance
Welcome to Eby’s Garage. We specialize in Auto Repair, Brake Repair and Factory Scheduled Maintenance in Boonsboro, MD. Our modern repair facility uses the latest computer hardware and software to diagnose your vehicle. We can service all vehicle makes and models and also perform small truck repairs.
Book An Appointment
To schedule a service before your summer road trip, visit us online or call our shop at (301) 432-5130.