Winter is over and spring is in full bloom. Now is the time to start planning and taking spring road trips! National Car Care month reminds you to have your car inspected and get any issues fixed before you hit the road.
While spring brings warm weather and beautiful scenery to take in, it is not uncommon to get caught in a spring rainstorm. Make sure that these areas of your car are ready:
Tires. When driving in the rain on slick, wet roads it’s important to make sure that your tires have enough tread and are free from damage. First, take a penny and hold it with Abe’s body between your thumb and finger. Place the top of the penny – where Abe’s head is – into the groove of your tire. If there is any part of Abe’s head that is covered by the tread, they you have a safe amount of tread on your tires. If not, you are at risk for hydroplaning and skidding in wet weather conditions. It is best to do this test on a part of your tires where it visually appears that the tread is the most worn. Remember just “eye balling” the tread on your tires is not a safe assessment – you need a penny test!
Wipers. When the rain starts falling, sometimes it seems like it’s coming down in sheets and visibility is severely limited. This is the time when you need windshield wipers that are new and undamaged. Your wiper blades should be changed every six months, or as soon as you notice that visibility is being affected. If your wipers squeak, skip, or just smear the water around your windshield you need new wipers. Before you hit the road for a Sunday drive, pour some water on your windshield and turn on your wipers. Listen for sounds of the motor working properly, make sure that the water is being completely “scraped” from the windshield, and check the wiper arms for any damage.
Oil. It is recommended to have your oil and filter changed every 3,000 miles. Make sure before you start your day trip that you have had your oil changed. Also, check the oil dip stick to make sure there is enough oil. You can put a piece of cardboard under your car the night before and check it in the morning to see if any oil or other fluids are dripping. These are the type of easy issues that could turn into major problems if left unfixed. You could find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a broken down car and a cranky family.
Spending time away from home is a fun way to break up the week and recharge your batteries. Don’t compound the stress you’re trying to relieve by neglecting your car. Get your safety check done before you hit the road!