The Holidays Are Here – And It’s Time for Maintenance
Where did the year go? The holidays are now on us, and that means lots of travel for many folks. You may have put some miles on the odometer at Thanksgiving, or maybe you’ve got some travel planned at Christmas. Either way, it’s important to make sure your vehicle’s ready to roll post-trip. Here’s a brief list of a few things you might want to consider…
• Oil change: When did you last have your oil changed? A 5,000 mile interval is good for conventional oil, while synthetic motor oil is usually good for 10-12,000 miles between changes. Just keep in mind that clean motor oil is important to cut wear and lubricate moving parts.
• Tires: If you’re headed out on the interstate this month, it’s a fair bet that you might run into some difficult weather and road conditions. Check your tires’ tread depth before you get out on the highway…here’s an easy way to do that. States mandate a minimum tread depth of 2/32”, so stick a penny into the tread grooves, Lincoln head down. Does the rubber touch the top of Abe’s head? That’s a 2/32” depth. Insert a quarter into the tread, Washington’s head down – if the rubber reaches the top of his head, that’s an indicator of 4/32” tread depth. Try with the penny one more time – does the tread reach the Lincoln Memorial? That’s a depth of 6/32”. Also don’t forget to check the inflation of all four tires, and have a tire rotation performed.
• Fluids: Engine coolant is a 50/50 mix of distilled water and antifreeze, meaning it protects the engine from freezeups as well as overheating. Have your coolant checked – if it’s starting to weaken or is looking dirty and contaminated, it may be time to flush the system and replace the coolant. Also don’t forget the power steering and brake fluid, transmission fluid and (or course) windshield washer fluid.
• Wipers: Even good-quality wipers only last about a year, thanks to normal wear and the elements. If your wipers are leaving streaks or smudges in rainy weather, have them replaced.
• Lights: Road grime will compromise your visibility by building up on your headlight lenses. Make sure your lights and taillights are nice and clean, and that all lights are working properly.
• Finish: Your vehicle’s finish is vulnerable to road grime and salt; a wash job means your car won’t just look better, but it will give corrosion less of a head start in eating away your finish, sheet metal and frame.
• Trouble kit: A well-rounded trouble bag might include highway flares, a flashlight (possibly the dynamo style that doesn’t need batteries), blanket, protein-rich snacks, first-aid kit, Leatherman-style multi-tool, duct tape and a spare power bank for your cell phone. Better to need it and not have it than the other way around!
The holidays are stressful for many people. You can at least take one stressor out of the picture with a good-running, dependable vehicle. Remember that highway miles, running for hours at a constant speed and steady state, is much easier on your car than stop-and-start city driving. Make the right calls on maintenance and your vehicle will be good through the holidays and a long time beyond.
Don’t leave it to chance – give us a call at Master Auto Repair in St. Louis, MO and let our technicians have a look at your vehicle before you set out on the interstate again!
|The Holidays Are Here – And It’s Time for Maintenance was written by Mike Najjar of Master Auto and Tire|