Most of our customers in the city use their cars more in spring and summer than the rest of the year. We recommend taking care of the following to avoid even the smallest problem that could affect your road trip.
Lube, oil and filter change – Have this done by a mechanic and not a quick lube facility. A “quick lube” facility is convenient, but at least once a year go to a full-service garage where a technician with more experience can inspect the car and notice any issues that could turn into bigger problems on the road.
Tires – Check the depth and condition of all four tires, as well as the spare. Winter driving can be brutal on your tires, and debris from the roadways can cause damage. Check the production dates on your tires; most manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are eight years old, no matter what condition they are in. At the same time make sure the jack and lug wrench are in the car, and if your car has locked wheel lug nuts, make sure you have the key.
Wiper blades and washer fluid – Good wipers are important for safety, and washer fluid is essential.
Belts and hoses – During an oil change, a good mechanic should check all the rubber on the vehicle. Belts can split or crack and you don’t want to be stuck on the side of the highway with smoke steaming out of your hood.
Air and cabin filters – Air filters help your engine breathe, and the cabin filters help you and your passengers breathe. If you notice an unpleasant odor or airflow has decreased, consider replacing the cabin air filter, usually located behind the glovebox.
Maintenance schedule – Even though you might not have driven as much due to the pandemic, service intervals are suggested based on elapsed time as well as mileage. Make sure that you’re up to date.
Swap your emergency gear – Replace your snow brush and scraper with water and snacks. You should also have a blanket and flashlight, phone charger, flares or triangles. Make sure you have extra masks as well.
Floor mats – Remove rubber mats and put carpet mats back inside.
Sunglasses – Make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses in the car to reduce glare in longer daytime hours.
Car wash – Last but not least, give the car a good cleaning inside and out to remove the dirt, salt and grime from the winter. Clean all the glass, including mirrors and headlights.
Kevin Wright, director of operations, 54th Street Auto, New York, NY