Summer is upon us. Whether you and your family are planning to dart up to Yosemite for a weekend gazing up at a massive waterfall, or you’re planning to shoot down to Los Angeles to spend a weekend with your hippy dippy brother on Venice Beach, you want your car to be prepared. The following 6 step auto maintenance checklist can help you minimize potential trouble, so you can maximize the potential fun of your trip.
1. Review the owner’s manual.
Yes, reading through an owner’s manual is boring. But it’s chock-full of useful information about how and when to check fluids, what to do if the engine heats up or battery dies, etc.
2. Check your oil.
I know most of you would think this is obvious but a lot of people still don’t do it. Make sure your oil isn’t low and if your trip miles put you over your next scheduled change, have it changed prior to leaving or have it changed on the road.
3. Check transmission fluid.
If the fluid is brown and gloppy, or if it’s too low, guess what? It’s time to change it. If it’s pink and not so viscous, and full, you are probably good to go.
4. Check your coolant level.
See your owner’s manual for specifics. If the coolant is low, fill it up, you don’t want your engine to overheat on some godforsaken desert California highway out in the middle of nowhere.
5. Do a spot inspection under the hood.
Don’t just look at the engine oil and windshield wiper fluid. Check everything out. Are there any cracks in the equipment? Can you see any obvious damage to parts or components, hoses, or belts? Is your battery corroded or cracked or bubbling acid? Is there a small raccoon living under the hood? If the answer is yes to any of these concerns, see a mechanic before you go on your long trip.
6. Even if you do all these things, you still may want to take your car to a mechanic.
A good mechanic can check out your suspension, your brakes, your tire pressure/rotation and spot potential problems that non pros would miss.
7. “Gear up”
Store an emergency kit in your glove box, along with medical supplies and a camera. Consider taking a GPS system with you, particularly if you are going “off the grid” to mysterious regions of Nevada or whatever. A GPS can be a godsend if you lose cell service.
If you run into trouble on the road, and end up needing some auto body work or collision repair, call Shattuck Auto Collision Center at 510-848-6281. We are the Bay Area collision repair and auto painting experts.
Image source: planetgreen.discovery.com