It’s vacation season, and the hassles and cost of airline travel might make you consider taking this years’ vacation in your Nissan or Infiniti! Before you roll out, here’s some basic but helpful tips to ensure that your trip is trouble free.
Before you leave, be sure to do a Walk-Around Inspection, an Under-Hood Inspection, along with an Under-Vehicle Inspection. After completing the safety inspection of your car, it is important to put together an Emergency Road Kit. Carrying an emergency kit can get you out of a tough situation when stuck on the roadside.
Wiper Blades – Check condition. Inspect for brittleness of squeegee, cracks or separation from the blade retainer.
Lights – Check lights for burned out bulbs and replace if necessary. Also, it is a good idea to have the headlight checked for proper alignment, in order to have optimum lighting, and to prevent the blinding of oncoming vehicles while driving at night.
Tires – Check tire for excessive wear, uneven wear and tire pressure. It is important to check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. The recommended tire pressure provided by the vehicle and tire manufacturers is designed to compensate for the increase in tire pressure caused by the rise in temperature of the tire when it is rolling down the highway. Due to the heat buildup when the vehicle is driving down the highway, the air expands in the tire, and in the event that the tire was inflated to the recommended tire pressure when warm, the air would expand further, thus causing an over inflation situation. The over inflation would cause the tire to wear prematurely in the center of the tire.
Fluid Levels – Lift the hood and check the engine oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, rad coolant, and windshield wash/bug wash fluid levels. Top up if necessary.
Belts & Hoses – Check the hoses for fit, brittleness, loose clamps, and softness in the elbow areas. As for the belts, check for alignment, glazing, adjustment, and for tearing and cracking. Replace if necessary.
Air Conditioning – Test the A/C system to see that it is working and that it is cooling the vehicle down in a reasonable time. Also, inspect the coolant lines for evidence of oil leaks. Any evidence of oil at the coolant line connections may indicate the loss of refrigerant, and require servicing to refill the system with refrigerant and lubricant.
Battery Connections – Check/Clean battery posts and cable terminals for corrosive buildup. This can be easily identified by the white fuzz that surrounds the cable terminal ends at the battery posts. Cleaning or removal of the white fuzz requires the removal of the cable terminals after washing them down with a baking soda and water solution. Best cleaning results can be achieved by using a battery post and cable terminal cleaning tool. This is a hand tool that consists of wire brush to clean the inside of the battery cable ends, and a wrap around brush within a housing to clean the battery post. Performing this small maintenance activity will ensure optimum performance from the vehicle’s electrical system during your vacation.
Fluid Leaks – Examine the ground where you park your vehicle for leaks. Any fluid residue found should be examined for the type of fluid (gas, engine or transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, rad coolant, and windshield washer fluid), and the leak repaired immediately to avoid any problems during your trip.
Exhaust Leaks – Listen for leaks from the exhaust, and if at all possible have the system checked by a professional for potential breakdown prior to leaving for your vacation. The life you save may be your own, as the gases escaping from the system are very deadly.
Brakes – Test drive the vehicle for brake response and feel. Listen for noises (high-pitched squeal, clunking). It is recommended to have a professional look at your brakes to advise on the condition of the brake friction material, and the hydraulic system. It is important that the vehicle always be prepared to stop regardless of the driving conditions.
What if your car just isn’t up for the trip? Well, consider renting a new car for the weekend, or maybe contact one of the car-for-hire companies that have popped up. You could grab a classic convertible and make your ride part of the vacation, or maybe you want someone else to do the driving – in that case, you could hire a limo, a party van, or for a really large group, a charter bus.. A company we’ve been keeping an eye on is Limo Find , and they have services that are ideal for a wide range of events.
BONUS: Here’s your emergency road kit checklist –
One quart of Oil
Two quarts of premix rad coolant
Tire pressure gauge
Assortment of combination wrenches and screwdrivers
First aid kit
Electrical tape (I like emergency tape)
Cell Phone spare battery
Contributed by: Speeddoctor