As autumn begins to turn into winter, many people’s thoughts turn towards holiday travel plans. More and more people decide to drive to their destinations and are all too often unprepared for the toll the journey can take on their cars. Tackling a road trip without first giving your automobile a checkup is asking for trouble. Even if you don’t think there is anything wrong with your car, your mechanic can often uncover small issues that can be repaired before they become large, expensive problems – or, worse, leave you stranded.
You may only think you need an oil change and to have your tires checked, but a professional mechanic also checks several other things to keep you on the road and not the roadside. In addition to checking the balance and rotation of your tires, they will check all of the fluid levels in your engine, as well as all of the filters, in order to ensure that everything is running safely and efficiently. The air pressure in your tires will be checked to help improve fuel efficiency. Any small leaks or pressure problems can usually be addressed the same day. A good mechanic will also make sure your windshield wiper blades are working properly, and that headlights, brake lights, and turn signals illuminate as they should.
Some mechanics will automatically check your brake system, while others view it as a separate service. It is important to make sure that the brakes are checked and working properly before hitting the road. Snow, ice, rain, and high winds can all be a problem when driving, and your tires and brakes are your first defense against accidents. Holiday travel also usually means holiday traffic, so making sure your radiator is functioning as it should will prevent overheating. If you travel from a mild climate to a colder climate, you will want to make sure the heater is working as it should. If you’re journeying south or west, you may find you need air conditioning even as late in the year as November or December.
A typical tune-up checks your spark plugs and intake valves, in addition to everything previously mentioned. It can help you get better performance out of your vehicle, saving you money at the gas pump. Your mechanic will also test your battery in order to make sure a change in temperature won’t leave you without a running car. You may find that a new battery is needed before you find yourself on the side of the road during inclement weather, saving you a great deal of trouble. You may also consider asking to have all of the fuses in your car checked. Your mechanic will give you a list of his findings, let you know needs to be repaired and provide an estimate of costs. A thorough mechanic will also tell you if there are any small issues that can be overlooked safely for a short while.
Traveling for the holidays can be fun and exciting, and with a few precautions, as well as a thorough check-up with your mechanic, it can also be a safe and trouble-free journey.