BDR Automotive

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Getting Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready at BDR Automotive Holliston, MA
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BDR Automotive

Getting Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready

It is officially summer so that means … It’s road trip time!

But before you hit the road, you need to do a bit of checking to be sure your car or truck is ready for your next adventure.

Vehicle maintenance is necessary year-round, but before a road trip there are essentials to be carried out. Major stuff, like checking your tires and brakes … to minor things, like tidying up.

Here is a handy list to use as a guide:

Tires

  • Check air pressure – The wrong air pressure causes tires to wear unevenly, which shortens the tires’ lifespan. To get the best gas mileage, be sure your tires are not under-inflated, which guarantees that you will waste gas.
  • Overinflated tires deliver a rough ride because they are less yielding to the road. Check your owner’s manual or the sticker inside the driver’s door for the suggested tire pressure and check the tire pressure every 1,000 miles. 
  • Get your tires rotated – You should rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Road conditions, the car’s suspension, and driving habits make tires wear at different rates. When you rotate the tires from right to left or front to rear, you are helping them last longer.
  • Get your tires replaced – Tires generally need replacing when you’ve driven 25,000 to 50,000 miles. Before a road trip, tuck a penny into the grove of the tire tread with Abe Lincoln’s head facing into the groove. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, it is time to replace the tires … before you leave on a long road trip.

Fluids

There are five essential fluids that should be monitored to be sure they are not in need of filling or flushing.

  • Oil and oil filters need to be changed every 7,000 to 10,000 miles but check your manual to be sure. Use the dipstick to check the oil’s condition and fill level. If the oil is black or gritty, or the level is low, get an oil change right away.
  • Radiator fluid keeps the engine cool. A low fluid level can result in the engine overheating. Top off the fluid, if necessary. The system should be flushed every 40,000 to 50,000 miles.
  • Brake fluid ensures that your brakes work properly. If the pedal feels spongy or you need to depress the pedal longer for the brakes to react, there may be air bubbles in the line. If the fluid is low, top it off. Keep in mind the system should be flushed and given fresh fluid every 24,000 miles.
  • Power steering fluid helps turning the wheel easy at any speed, but this fluid can become contaminated, making the steering less responsive. Check the level and condition of the power steering fluid each time you have an oil change. The power steering fluid will need to be changed every 50,000 miles.
  • Transmission fluid helps the vehicle’s gears mesh smoothly. The fluid lasts a long time and most owner’s manuals recommend replacing the fluid at 60,000 miles. 

Brakes

  • Brake pads provide the friction needed to slow and stop your vehicle. They wear away with use, and a screeching or squealing noise usually announces when they need to be replaced. Depending on several circumstances, brake pads can last anywhere from 25,000 to 70,000 miles.

Safety and Comfort 

  • Air conditioning is as important as gasoline when driving in the summertime. Check out our blog on Getting Your Vehicle A/C Ready for Summer In MA for a comprehensive guide.
  • Air filters prevent dust, debris, and bugs from entering the engine and interior. They eventually become clogged and impact engine performance, fuel economy, and interior air quality. The engine air filter should be replaced about once a year or every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. The cabin air filter lasts between 12,000 and 15,000 miles.
  • Windshield washer fluid – Keep an extra jug of fluid in your truck along with a funnel so you can fill up the reservoir if it gets low while on the road.
  • Lights – To make sure all the lights are in working order, turn on the engine and leave it in park. Switch on the headlights and then walk around the car to see if any bulbs are burnt out. Do the same for the turn signals and with an assistant, the brake lights.
  • Belts and hoses – With the engine off, press down on the belts under the hood to make sure they are tight. There should be very little slack. Look for visible cracking or fraying or missing “teeth,” which indicates that they need to be replaced. Check for fluid leaks, especially towards the middle of each hose.

Clean and Organize

  • Clean the interior paying special attention to the seats, floor mats, cup holders, storage areas, and dashboard.
  • Wash the exterior, making sure all lens covers are clean and sparkling.
  • Clean and organize the trunk so your luggage stays clean, and you have room for souvenirs you may buy on your trip.
  • Pack cords and power adapters for your electronic devices and select a spot for them to be stored.
  • Bring and use a trash bag or bin and put it in a central location with easy access for all to use.

Getting your vehicle ready for a summer road trip takes some time and attention, but it will lessen the risk of needing maintenance on the go (or worse – an aborted vacation) and increase the likelihood of a fun and trouble-free adventure.

If you have questions about getting your vehicle road ready, or if you want to make an appointment to have BDR Automotive give your car or truck a pre-vacation maintenance check, call 508-429-4720 or schedule an appointment online. Let us service your vehicle for your road trip this summer.

Jarred McGee
Jarred is not only an amazingly competent and capable technician, he is a confident leader and source of incredible knowledge. Known for being a tireless and dedicated technician, he is always friendly and professional, always willing to go the extra mile to ensure BDR customers leave with peace of mind about their vehicle. Jarred attended Mass Bay Community College where he earned his Associates Degree in Automotive Technology. He went on to receive a Toyota T-TEN Certificate while working in Toyota’s dealership system. Jarred has also worked at an auto-body repair shop that specialized in complex high-end vehicles such as the Tesla.

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