So you’re getting ready to take a big summer road trip; the last thing you want is to find yourself stuck in a strange repair shop, hundreds of miles from home, with out-of-state tags and a stack of suitcases in the back.
So your best bet is to have your car checked and serviced before you head out on the road.
Start by reviewing your owners manual; it’ll have a list of all service recommendations based on your car’s mileage. Keep in mind that you’re going to be adding a lot of miles on your trip, so if you’re getting close to a recommended service milestone, now’s the time to take care of it.
Take your car to your Cottman center and ask for a complete safety check. Explain that you’ll be going on a road trip and want to make sure you don’t have any surprises while you’re gone. They’ll understand exactly what that means.
In general, you’ll want them to check the tires, brakes, suspension and steering, motor mounts, and all the normal wear items. At the same time they should make sure all your lights and wipers are working like new. And they should adjust the tire pressures to compensate for the warmer weather.
If you haven’t had your car’s engine oil changed recently, do it now. And consider using one of the slightly heavier recommended oils; engine oils thin out as they get hotter. You can also consider using a synthetic oil, because they tend to maintain their viscosity through a wider range of temperatures but always use the motor oil weight recommended by the manufacturer of your particular vehicle.
While the technician’s under the hood, you’ll want him to check the hoses and belts, all the fluid levels, the battery terminals, and anything else that looks iffy.
Finally, don’t forget your comfort: Have him check the air conditioning system to make sure it’s working right. This is a vacation; you want to relax and be comfortable while driving along on those hot summer days.
A few simple checks can make the difference between a memorable vacation and a nightmare you just can’t forget.