As you're setting off for your summer road-trip, the last thing you want to worry about is car trouble. Get ahead of it by having your mechanic take a look a few things.
- Check your car battery: Check your car's battery to be sure the connection is tight and corrosion-free. (If your vehicle is more than 2 years old, Consumer Reports recommend having your vehicle's battery checked annually.
- Inspect belts and hoses : They are critical when it comes to keeping your car's electrical, power steering and cooling systems functioning properly. Have them inspected to determine if any are frayed or cracked.
- Top off fluids and replace filters : Check the levels of your car's many fluids, including engine oil, power steering and transmission fluids and windshield washer fluid. If any of them are low, top them off before hitting the road, recommends the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If your car is close to needing its next oil change, it may be worth having it done before your trip. You should also check your vehicle's engine coolant (also known as antifreeze) tank to confirm it's filled to the car manufacturer's recommended level.
- Check the brakes : Squealing noises coming from your car's brakes may indicate worn brake pads. If your car's brakes are making this sound, or any other odd noises, be sure to have them professionally inspected before you hit the road. If your brake pedal feels spongy when you press it, that may indicate the brake fluid is low.
- Inspect tires : Insert a penny upside down between the treads on each tire — if you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln's head on the penny, it may be time for a tire replacement. If you notice uneven wear on all of the tires, that may mean it's time for a tire rotation or alignment before your trip.