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auto maintenance February 10, 2018

My car is always ready for a trip

By Douglas Flint

A grizzled old mechanic I once worked with nicknamed Caribou Lou would shake his head and grumble, “My car is always ready for a trip!” whenever he was asked to get a customer’s car ready for a trip.  It used to irritate me until I began to see his point.  He took meticulous care of his old car. Any time he had the slightest inkling of a problem, he was under the hood or under the car taking care of it.  Thus his car was always ready to go on a trip.

Now do not get the idea I am discouraging you from coming in for any reason, any day, any time. We are here to serve you.  And getting a car looked over before a trip is always a good idea.

Postponing major maintenance and repairs until the day before a trip is not.  For one thing, there might simply not be enough time to gather the parts and make the repairs in the allotted time.  And there’s no leeway if an additional problem is found or a rusty bolt breaks or a new part is delivered wrong.

A much better way to operate is to perform the scheduled maintenance on schedule, get the car checked regularly, and fix problems on an as-needed basis instead of saving them up for one visit to the shop.  Then your car is always ready to go on a trip and a routine check-over is all you need.

Also, we cannot always know when that 3:00 a.m. phone call will come and we have to go on a trip.  In an emergency, your car is almost always the quickest way to get somewhere under 750 miles away, and often the most practical way to get a thousand miles or better.  Three a.m. is not the time to be thinking, “Will that tire that has been losing air make the trip?” Or “Will that burning smell be a problem?” “And does the battery have 3 starts left in it?” With whatever other stress you have, you don’t need the stress of being uncertain of your car.

When you do have a planned trip, try to get your car checked at least a full week before your departure. Then there is plenty of stress-free time to deal with any issues.

Few things improve the feel of a car on the road like a good set of tires. The Goodyear Assurance® ComforTred® Touring tire comes to mind.  Make sure the spare tire gets checked also, not only for air pressure and condition but also for operation.  That middle-of-the-night trip is not the time to figure out how your spare tire gets lowered from under the back of the car, or to learn that it won’t come down at all.

Of course, belonging to a motor club such as AAA can offer some peace of mind, but remember the great summer storm of 2012? The whole cell phone system went down and we were on our own.

But know that even if you are a thousand miles away, you should feel free to call us with any questions or problems.  Solving people’s automotive problems is what we live for.

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