Before You Hit The Road: Maintenance You Can’t Miss

Whether you’re headed a few hours away to spend a week in the mountains, or on a week-long road trip along the West coast, there’s a lot to think about. Did you remember the bug spray? How about car activities for the little ones? Do you need to book campsites along the way, or are you getting a hotel room? Did you bring enough snacks along to avoid the fast food drive-thru lines as much as possible?

But how much thought did you put into ensuring your car is ready for the journey? Did you just check the oil and call it good, or did you really think it through and check everything just in case? There are definitely some things you should make sure you’ve checked and certain things you need to do in order to keep your journey a smooth and uneventful one. You wouldn’t want to end up stranded in a strange place, would you? Whether you check it all yourself, or choose your favorite Fort Collins auto repair shop to do it for you is up to you. Just don’t forget to do it!

Required Maintenance

  • Air filter. Did you know it’s recommended you replace the air filter twice a year? This should be on your auto to-do list anyway, what better time to do it than right before setting out on your journey? It doesn’t take long to do this yourself, once you know where it is and how to replace it. Refer to your owner’s manual.
  • Oil. Is your car due for an oil change (or overdue)? You should do this prior to hitting the road. Get your oil change in Fort Collins now to prevent big problems later on! Even if your car isn’t due for a change, you should check that the oil level is sufficient.
  • Tire pressure/condition. Weather around the country has been quite unpredictable, so you should be prepared for anything. That means you might be driving through torrential downpours, and if your tires aren’t up to the task, you’ll hydroplane your way to disaster. Check your tread to be sure you are as safe as possible no matter what the weather does. Also, remember that tire pressure is key to not only getting there without getting a flat, but optimal tire pressure actually contributes a bit to better gas mileage! Your car will tell you exactly what pressure your tires should be filled to – it is most often located on the inside of the driver side door. Just open the door and look at the area closest to the edge where the latch is. Front and rear usually need different pressures.
  • Radiator. It’s the summer, so to prevent your car from overheating along your drive, check the coolant level in the radiator. If you don’t, you could run the engine so hot, it seizes. Then you’re in big trouble! Most people don’t know that coolant should be flushed about once each year to extend the life of your radiator and cooling system – do this before you head out. If you don’t flush it on a regular basis, the old coolant inside breaks down and corrodes the inside of the radiator.
  • Brakes. You might know it’s time for new brakes – the telltale squeaking, grinding, and lack of braking performance is often all the indication you need. If you ignore this before you head off on your road trip, well – that’s just plain stupid. Brakes are kind of important, especially when you’re traveling on 65mph+ roads! If your brakes appear to be functioning to perfection, great! You should still take a peek at your brake fluid just to be sure. A brake fluid leak is a sure fire way to put a stop to your vacation by not stopping your car!
  • Windshield wipers. Often overlooked, checking the condition of your windshield wipers is pretty important. We said it before – you just don’t know what kind of weather you’re going to run into. If your windshield wipers are cracked or worn, it’s going to be next to impossible to see clearly the road ahead should a big rainstorm come across your path. Add in hot temps, and you’re asking for trouble!
  • Headlights. Check every light to be sure it’s functional. Not only does it keep you safe, it helps you avoid a ticket! Along the way, put other passengers to work checking lights periodically before you set out along your way. This includes headlights, blinkers, reverse lights, and fog lights.
  • Battery. After the long winter, your battery terminals might be corroded. Look at them now before you set out to avert disaster along the way. Even if it isn’t corroded, you might invest in a booster pack to take along in case your battery dies. There’s nothing worse than having a dead battery 1,000 miles from home!

Car maintenance service is imperative before a big road trip. Whether or not you do it yourself, or you rely on Fort Collins Foreign Auto to take care of it for you is the question! If you are nervous doing it all yourself, we’re happy to help! Stop in today.