Warm weather and nice sunny days never fail to stir up excitement and longing for road trip adventures. But before you fill up the tank and load up your car, it is important that you tackle a couple of maintenance tasks just to be on the safe side. Here, the seven most common car check-ups you should cross off your checklist before getting behind the wheel.
If your car is tilting and you are hearing a loud thumping noise, you are probably dealing with a flat tire. In case you detect this issue, you should replace the tire with the spare one from your trunk. Next to your spare tire, there will be a small car jack that you should put on the stable part of your car (not on the plastic pieces), pump it up and replace the tire.
Dead battery is another issue drivers face from time to time. If your car won’t start, it’s quite likely your battery is dead and needs to be charged. What you should do is take the battery out of your car and connect it to the charger. This is done by clamping the positive (red) lead to the positive battery post and negative (black) lead to the negative terminal.
If you can’t see your antifreeze when you take off the cap, chances are your radiator is leaking. If this is the case, make sure you replace the whole thing rather than try to patch it up by using welding or sealant. In order to disconnect your radiator you will have to remove the drain bolt, coolant, overflow tank and the top radiator hose. Once you do that you should attach a new radiator and fill it in with a 50-50 mixture of water and antifreeze.
Another malfunction you might face is a dead alternator. A dead alternator is usually manifested by your car not allowing you to turn over. Sometimes, the gadgets inside of your car might not work as well. Luckily, replacing your alternator shouldn’t be too difficult. All you have to do is remove all the electrical connections, unbolt the brackets and free the serpentine belt so that you can remove the dead alternator and attach the new one.
Cleaning and maintenance
Unsightly bird excrement and splattered bugs that come with summer heat aren’t only aesthetically unappealing, but the acids they contain can also ruin your car’s paint and create rust spots. By washing your car and then applying protective car wax, you’ll create a barrier and an extra layer between the vulnerable areas of your vehicle and the outside world, whether it’s insects, UV rays, or rainwater. Regular cleaning and maintenance will also help preserve the integrity of the vehicle so you can feel confident in the driver’s seat.
Luckily, a bad belt is quite easy to spot. You’ll hear an annoying squeak every couple of seconds and the wear will start to crack and fray. Before you replace your belts, you will want to draw your belt diagram (if you don’t have one already) so that you know how to reroute the new belt you buy.
Faulty Spark Plugs
If the spark plugs in your engine are misfiring, your engine won’t be able to start properly. Luckily, changing spark plugs is quite easy. All you have to do is pop off the covers, unscrew the spark plugs and put new ones in. The only problem that can arise is that your engine is far back in the bay and you can’t reach it without help from a mechanic.
Car care is a year-round necessity, but for those planning on hitting the highway, pre-road trip car check-ups are essential. Cross these off your checklist before getting on the road and you’ll be reaching your destination without a hitch.