Chances are, you and your family will be hitting the road over the next month to visit those near and dear to you.
The kids are buckled in, you’ve set the house alarm, and the cell phones are charged. But, are you as prepared as you think you are? Whether you are traveling from Virginia Beach to Suffolk or from Chesapeake to Cleveland, Ohio, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready for the ride.
Thanks to our friends over at The Virginian Pilot, we have a few tips for our Checkered Flag travelers to keep you and yours safe on the roads this holiday season.
Article source: [pilotonline.com]
HOLIDAY ROAD TIPS
Keys to keeping you and yours safe this travel season
By Steven Cole Smith
The Orlando Sentinel
Holiday travel is stressful enough, and an ill-prepared vehicle can jeopardize not only your trip but the safety of you and your passengers. There’s a lot that shade- tree mechanics can do, but Rennie Bryant of Redline Performance in Pompano Beach, Fla., suggests that to really check the car out, you need to put the vehicle on a lift, and few of us have access to one.
Underneath , Bryant said that while modern vehicles don’t need conventional lubrication jobs, you need to check CV joint boots – rubber enclosures that surround constant-velocity joints on front- and all-wheel-drive vehicles that connect the engine to the wheels – for cracks that can let lubrication out, dirt and water in.
It’s also much easier to check for leaks from underneath – you can catch small problems before they turn into big ones. Brakes and brake lines should be inspected, as well as the condition of the exhaust system – if you live near the beach, corrosion from salt water can play havoc with the undercarriage of vehicles.
“It’s easier to check tires, too,” Bryant says, as you can rotate the tire and check all the tread for cuts, unusual wear or nails and other puncture-causing objects.
Once the car is back on the ground, check the spare tire. “No one ever thinks to look at it and check the pressure until it’s too late,” he says. “Those little temporary spare tires tend to lose air quickly.”
Under the hood, check the age, level and condition of the oil, the transmission fluid and the brake fluid. And, of course, the antifreeze in the radiator. (Which we can do for you here at Checkered Flag service centers.)
Also worth a look: Belts and hoses; fuel, oil and air filters – including the overlooked cabin air filters many modern vehicles have, and windshield washer fluid, as well as the condition of the wipers. When was the last time you checked to make sure all your exterior lights work?
Finally, don’t forget your own comfort on a trip. A good interior cleaning, including the glass, will make the trip more pleasant. No car ever comes back from a holiday trip cleaner than it was when you left.
PACK A HOLIDAY CAR TRAVEL KIT
Here’s your starter kit for automotive emergencies:
Your membership card from an agency that offers emergency road service.
A can of aerosol tire repair. And read the instructions before you go.
A flashlight. Well worth buying: One of those small lights that have a crank for manual recharging.
A list of family and emergency phone numbers, stapled inside a good old-fashioned road atlas.
A phone charger that plugs into the cigar lighter.
A fresh roll of duct tape, a quart of motor oil, a half-roll of paper towels and a gallon of distilled water — good for drinking or filling a radiator.
End of article
If you’re not sure that you feel comfortable doing all of this on your own (like climbing under your car) or aren’t sure exactly what you’re looking at, don’t feel bad, just stop by any of our Checkered Flag Service Centers in Virginia Beach or Norfolk this week and we’ll get you all set up. Call (757)490-1111 to schedule a service appointment. Also, remember, many of our Checkered Flag brands offer roadside assistance with your purchase new vehicle purchases. Make sure you have the appropriate phone numbers handy in case you need to take advantage of those services. Better safe than sorry!
Image source: [grizzlybomb.com]