The first day of spring may not have officially arrived yet, but that hasn't stopped many people from celebrating the end of winter with a spring break trip. There's still plenty of time to enjoy one of these road trips, however, and a few travelers may be planning an adventure for the coming weeks. Regardless of what's on the horizon, anyone who is going to use a car to get around in the near future should make sure the vehicle is getting the care and maintenance it needs to drive safe on the roads.
"Spring break time is finally here. While jumping in the car and heading to a warmer climate may sound like a great idea, don't forget to make sure your car is road ready before you go," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "A pre-trip vehicle check will give you peace of mind because you can take steps to have any needed repairs performed before you go."
Before a road trip
If you've got hundreds of miles of driving coming up, you need to invest in the right vehicle maintenance. Just a bit of forethought and effort can save you from breakdowns and other costly auto repair projects. Certain fixes may even boost your vehicle's fuel efficiency, which offers plenty of financial perks as you cruise the open road.
The Car Care Council had several suggestions for drivers. For starters, the organization recommended brake service, even for those who may think this aspect of the vehicle is working properly. Inclement weather and rough road surfaces may have damaged brakes or reduced their efficiency. Having a professional examine the brakes and replace them if necessary will ensure a vehicle can manage any obstacles on slick spring roads.
Your attention should then turn to some of the action going on under the hood. Check over hoses and belts, for instance, to guarantee they haven't developed holes or cracks throughout the winter. This is also the ideal time to monitor fluid levels. Winter may have depleted your windshield washer solvent, coolant, engine oil or transmission fluid. Consult your owner's manual to see when these liquids need to be updated and what the ideal levels are. Depending on the status of these, you may want to schedule an appointment with a professional who is comfortable handling the car repair.
Other seasonal maintenance
Even those drivers who haven't planned an elaborate vacation may need to update some aspects of their automobile. A-Affordable Auto suggested all motorists use this time to review their car insurance policy. Looking over coverage for just a few minutes will allow you to ensure all potential drivers are included, and you can brush up on which issues are fully covered by your policy.
The source noted that this may also be the ideal time to sign up for roadside assistance. You'll want to choose a program that works with your chosen auto repair franchise and has few limitations on when you can use it.
Finally, think back to your car's recent service history and decide if it's time for complete auto tune ups. No matter if you're planning a massive cross-country road trip or only gearing up for a few summer treks to the beach, you'll want to do everything in your power to ensure the vehicle can handle the road. Technicians know what problems are common to your specific make and model, and they can also check your vehicle history to see what updates you're due for, making scheduled maintenance a smart choice.