It’s that time of year — family, friends, food and lots of travel. And nothing can spoil a trip quicker than ending up stopped on the side of the road.
Frankly, a month chocked full of weekend gatherings, shopping, and decorating can be stressful enough; don’t let a breakdown be another hassle. Good thing a lot of potential car problems can be prevented if you just spend some time inspecting your car a few days before heading to grandma’s house. Here’s what ProCarCare.com suggests you do:
First things first, walk around your car and check the following:
- Wiper Blades. Make sure they are soft, pliable, free from cracks and still attached.
- Lights. Check your turn signals, headlights, and brake lights to make sure than are working properly.
- Tires. Make sure they don’t have excessive or uneven wear and they are properly inflated to the levels recommend in your owner’s manual.
Next, lift the hood of your vehicle and check:
- Fluid Levels. Check them all — engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant and windshield washer fluid. Top off any if you need to.
- Belts and Hoses. Make sure your hoses fit properly and aren’t brittle, loose, cracked or have loose clamps. Check the belts for alignment, tearing and cracking.
- Battery Connections. Check battery posts and cable terminals for corrosion. Clean if necessary. Here’s Ford’s recommendation for cleaning corroded battery terminals.
Now, check under your vehicle for the following:
- Fluid Leaks. Check the ground under your car for any puddles or stains. Need help identifying the leak, here’s a handy guide from autobytel.com. Make sure you have any leak repaired immediately to avoid problems.
- Exhaust Leaks. Turn your car on and listen and look for any leaks from the exhaust system. If there appears to be a problem. Have any issues checked by a mechanic.
Then, take your vehicle for a drive and watch for:
- Brakes Issues. Take your vehicle for a drive and specifically focus on brake response and feel.
- Weird Noises. Turn off the radio and listen for noises. Ticks, knocks, clunks or other noises may be a symptom of a problem.
Also, you should stock your car with an emergency survival kit, just in case. Here’s a list of what Foremost suggests you should carry.
Most important, no matter your destination, be sure to travel safely. And consider talking to a Foremost Agency if you’re in the market for auto insurance.