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maintenance November 25, 2016

5 tips to prepare your vehicle for a road trip

Will you be traveling to visit family or loved ones in the upcoming weeks? Plenty of us are preparing to travel between Thanksgiving and New Years. Whether you are heading north to visit the in-laws or south to escape the cool weather, be sure your vehicle is ready for the ride.

Here are 5 tips to prepare your vehicle for the road trip:

1) Check your car’s battery

A road trip is no fun if your car won’t start!

You can check your car’s battery by performing this test: Turn your headlights on before you start your engine. Then turn your engine on. If the lights get brighter once the engine is running, your battery may be dying. If you are unsure of the results, visit any Wiygul Automotive Clinic store for a free battery voltage check.

2) Inspect your tires

Be sure there are no bulges in the sidewall. If you haven’t purchased new tires in the past 2 years, inspect the tread depth. The easiest way to check your tire’s tread depth is by performing the penny test:

Take a Lincoln penny, hold it between your thumb and forefinger so that Lincoln’s head is showing. Place the top of Lincoln’s head into one of the grooves of the tire’s tread. If any part of Lincoln’s head is obscured by the tread, you have a safe amount of tread. If you can see above Lincoln’s head, then you need a new tire.

Once you’ve confirmed your tire tread is good to go, make sure the tire pressures are set to the numbers printed on the driver’s door jam or in your car’s owner’s manual. You can do this with your own tire pressure gauge (which you can buy at most stores or gas stations) or at the air pump at a gas station (most are equipped with built in gauges)

3) Check your brakes

If you don’t remember the last time you had your brakes replaced, or if you’ve heard any sounds or felt any vibrations when pushing on the brake pedal, be sure your brakes are inspected before hitting the road. Wiygul Automotive Clinic offers a FREE visual brake inspection, which includes a measurement of the brake pads and a brake fluid test.

4) Look at the lights

Check the headlights, brake lights, blinkers and interior lighting. Faulty lights are dangerous; they impact your visibility and other motorists may have a harder time seeing you or gauging their distance from you. Furthermore, you can be pulled over by the police if you have a light out. No one wants to get pulled over and add extra time to their road trip!

5) Give yourself a good view

When driving, visibility is important; ensure that your visibility isn’t hindered in any way. Check your windshield for any cracks (this is another ticket worthy issue in many states!) Make sure your windows are clean, the mirrors are at the right angle and wiper blades are functioning at their best. (Windshield wiper blades should be replaced every 6-12 months.) Also, be sure the defroster is working adequately.

Want to give yourself some peace of mind? Schedule a check up before hitting the road. Wiygul Automotive Clinic can perform any basic maintenance needs, ranging from an oil change to checking the wipers and fluid levels. Click HERE to make an appointment.

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