The Essential Road Trip Automobile Maintenance Checklist2018/05/08 HANSUN
Summer is right around the corner, and an annual road trip is on many family’s agenda for vacation plans. The checklist will help to ensure your family is traveling in a well-maintained automobile and free from automotive issues before hitting the national highway system.
Those who choose not to do a quick automobile examination, whether your vehicle is old or new before hitting the road are at risk of unnecessary hold-ups. We’re not talking about rebuilding the engine, instead, completing a checklist of the basics.
Here are the essential items we recommend you check to eliminate automotive problems during your trip:
1. Engine oil - Check your oil levels and the date you’re due for an oil change. If you’re close to the manufacturer-recommended oil-change interval listed in your manual, then change it prior to your road trip. If you are going long distances, consider choosing a synthetic motor oil. If you’re traveling in warm weather or pulling a trailer, fully synthetic engine oil can provide extra safety and increase your fuel economy.
2. Transmission and differential fluids – Don’t forget about the other oil reservoirs in your car. Both transmission and drive axle have separate lubricant supply. Check your owner’s manual for their change intervals, as they are relatively longer than engine oil. An oil-change shop can handle the greasy job of changing manual transmission oil and the differential oil. While the mechanic is under the car, ask him to give the drive-shaft U-joints and any other grease points a squirt of grease.
3. Hoses - Rubber hoses are repeatedly exposed to extremely high temperatures. At these temps, the plasticizers that make rubber spongy begin to leak out. Once a hose gets hard, it cracks, and hot water sprays out. First, look at where both the input and output radiator hoses attach to the engine and the radiator. Also, check your heater hoses. Look for swells or blisters, which indicate a weakness in the hose wall. If your hoses have cracks or blisters, replace them.
4. Belts - Check the engine belts by turning them sideways with your hand so you can see the chafing surface. If they’re at all raggedy, torn, split or showing the fiber cords, it’s time for new belts.
5. Engine coolant - Newer cars are outfitted with engine coolant intended to go 100,000 to 150,000 miles. If your vehicle is less than four years old, check the under-hood coolant reservoir is topped up. If you have an older car, check both the coolant reservoir and the radiator. If your coolant is rust-colored or looks grubby, it’s time for a change.
6. Tire pressure and tread - Look on the driver’s side door, in the glove box, or on the gas tank door for the suggested tire pressures and check your tire pressure with a proper gauge and an air hose. Low tire pressure wastes fuel and causes the tire to run warmer from the extra resistance. Also, measure the tread on all four tires to make sure it’s not too worn or unevenly worn. If your tire tread-depth gauge displays less than 2/32”, it’s time for new tires.
7. Brake system - For older cars, mineral oil is used that attracts and absorbs moisture, and as the brake fluid ages, it turns the color of maple syrup and begins rusting brake parts. Check your brake reservoir for the color of the fluid, and ensure it is topped up to the “full” mark. Brake fluid should be flushed every two or three years. In newer cars, silicon-based fluid is used and not susceptible to water absorption. Still, you will want to clean the fluid according to the owner’s manual.
8. Battery - If the battery in your car is more than a couple years old, check that the terminals are free of white chalky material and the positive and negative leads are secure. If your starter sounds sluggish, it’s either erosion or a dying battery. If the battery is not a sealed, maintenance-free battery, have a gas station test the electrolytes. If the battery is sealed, they can check the output voltage. If there is corrosion, remove it with a wire cable-brush. Double check the leads to confirm they are secure.
Better to be safe than sorry. Check these eight maintenance items before heading off on your next road trip and keep your precious cargo safe and free from unnecessary frustration. Safe travels.
An ISO/TS16949 certified Taiwan manufacturer of Window Regulators, HANSUN is a leading supplier of Window Regulators to the Automotive Aftermarket. With more than 28 years of professional experience in design and manufacturing, HANSUN provides quality window regulators. HANSUN, headquartered in Changhua, Taiwan, has a full-service Distribution Center, Supex Auto Parts Inc., in Ontario, California, USA to support the needs of retailers, warehouse distributors and repair shops. Register to receive your Buyer Checklist: https://tinyurl.com/y75nsd3k.
HANSUN is a leading supplier of Window Regulators to the Automotive Aftermarket. With more than 28 years of professional experience in design and manufacturing, HANSUN provides the best quality window regulators in the industry. HANSUN, headquartered in Changhua, Taiwan, has a full-service Distribution Center, Supex Auto Parts Inc., in Ontario, California, USA to support the needs of retailers, warehouse distributors and repair shops. Register to receive your Buyer Checklist: https://tinyurl.com/y75nsd3k.