7 car maintenance checks you should do before you hit the road

If you’re travelling by car with your family, take a few minutes to evaluate the condition of your vehicle, so you can have a summer holiday without any hitches.

Taking a road trip this summer? Are you heading to the beach or visiting family in another province? Although regular car maintenance should be carried out throughout the year, a vehicle requires additional care in the hot summer months, as you’re more likely to drive for long distances.

ALSO SEE: 7 valuable tips for moms travelling with kids

Follow these car maintenance tips from BP to make sure you reach your destination safely:

1. Create a regular cleaning schedule for your radiator.

This will boost the engine’s cooling effect and lessen the chance of your engine overheating.

2. Change your oil and oil filter.

You should change your oil regularly, as stated in your driver’s manual. You should get oil changes more often if you make extended trips with lots of luggage, or if you are towing a boat or trailer. An engine is more likely to overheat in summer when you’re travelling further.

3. Check your tyre pressure regularly.

You should do it at least once a month, and always before a road trip. Under-inflating is a tyre’s number one nemesis, because it can cause damage that may lead to tyre failure.

4. Rotate your tires every 10 000km.

If your tyres show uneven wear, ask your service professional to look for and adjust any misalignment, imbalance or other mechanical obstacles before rotation.

5. Check your fluids.

It’s important to keep all the vehicle’s fluids at the recommended levels before a road trip, as this can prevent overheating. This includes motor oil, coolant, transmission, differential, power-steering and windscreen washer fluids. If you’re unsure about which fluids to use or how much to add, ask your mechanic for help.

6. Change your wipers.

Yes, it is summer, but it’s probably going to rain at some point. Worn wipers create nasty streaks across the windshield and can affect your vision while driving. Replacing them doesn’t cost much, but it can be a fiddly operation. If you’re in the habit of taking your car in for oil changes, ask them about the wipers, too. Sometimes a dealership will sell you the wipers and install them for free.

 7. Keep to one service mechanic if possible.

Much like you have a regular GP, because he knows your medical history and understands your unique requirements, the same applies to the servicing of your vehicle. Credible workshops will keep a detailed history (service log) of your vehicle and will be able to reference it if they are unsure about what has been replaced, may need replacing, or any custom specifications that need to be taken into account.

ALSO SEE: 7 tips to keep kids busy and calm in the car

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