Car Prep Tips*
Whether you’re heading cross-country or just up the east coast, do these things before setting off on your adventure.
- Check all fluid levels including oil, coolant, brake and power steering.
- Examine engine belts for excessive wear or cracking.
- Check your tire pressure
The number on the tire itself are the maximum pressure, not the ideal pressure recommended by the car manufacturer. The correct PSI (pounds per square inch) can be found on a sticker on the driver’s side doorjamb or in the your vehicle owner’s manual. Especially on long trips, check the pressure periodically; changes in altitude and temperature may affect the PSI of your tires. Always check the pressure when the tires are cold; hot tires (from driving) naturally expand, yield a false PSI reading. (This is also why you shouldn’t overinflate your tires.)
- Be sure your tires have at least the minimum 2/32-inch tread.
- Make sure you headlights, taillights and turn signals are working.
- If you vehicle will soon be due for routine maintenance, take it to the shop before you go. Your trusted mechanic might spot a potential problem, and it’s better to handle it now than to risk a breakdown on the road. Also seize the opportunity to have your tire rotated, a practice that helps ensure they wear evenly.
Just as you get your wardrobe and your schedule ready for vacation, you should also prep your car, so that you don’t end up spending part of your trip broken down on the roadside or in a repair shop away from home.
*Our thanks to AAA’s Westways magazine (June, 2014) for this article, copied in part.
Check Engine Light
- Follow manufacturer’s recommendations
- Tires will last longer when rotated regularly
- Check the tread depth every 3,000 miles
- Examine tires visually on a regular basis