4 Vehicle Vitals to Check After A Long Summer Road Trip
With spring coming to a close and summer right around the corner, it is time to start planning for all your summer road trips! While it is very important to check your vehicle before a road trip, it is also very important not to overlook checking your vehicle afterwards as well. Checking your vehicle’s vitals on a regular basis will help lengthen its lifespan and keep you safe. Freedom Honda suggests checking these four important vitals after every long summer road trip: battery, breaks, tries, and fluids.
- Battery– When checking your battery it is important to look first at how the battery looks on the outside. Is there anything leaking from the battery? Is there a broken terminal? Bulging or bumps in the case? Any visual damage on the outside of a battery is a good indicator that it is time for a new one. After inspecting the outside of the battery move on to the inside. You can do this by simply taking a voltage reading. A battery that is 100% charged will read between 12.7 and 13.2 volts. A battery that cannot reach higher than 10.5 volts (when charged) most likely has a dead cell and needs to be replaced. If a battery is reading lower than 12.4 volts it is most likely sulfated and would also need to be replaced. To check your voltage level all you need is a digital voltmeter. If you do not own your own personal voltmeter, no worries, Freedom Honda or your local automotive store can check your battery for you!
- Brakes– Car brakes can easily be checked by their visual look, the sounds that they make while in use, and how they feel while in use. A break pad that is effective should be at least one fourth of an inch thick. If your break pad is less the one fourth of an inch, you are getting close to exposing a small metal shim. This shim is an indicator that will make a high pitched noise when your cars brakes have gone bad a need replaced. Another good indicator that your brake system needs a tune up is how it feels when you are actually using them. Is there a reduced response time or fading? Pulling? Grinding or growling? Vibration? Any of these symptoms are good indicators that it is time to make an appointment for a break system check!
- Tires– Your vehicle’s tires are very important and should never be overlooked. Once a week visual tire inspection can keep you safe and prevent unexpected flat tires and blowouts. One simple trick is the use of the penny rule: Turn a penny so that Lincoln’s head points down into the tread. Does his head disappear into the tread? If yes, then your tread is still above 2/32 of an inch and is still considered in the safe range. If you can see his entire head, it is time to look into new tires because your tread is no longer in the safe range for tread height. Once you have checked your tires tread you should also look for other visual indicators of damage such as small objects lodged in the tire (nails and glass) or visual tears or chunks missing from the tire.
- Fluids– after a long car trip it is very important to make sure that all your fluids are still full and clean. Seven of the most important fluids to check on your car include: oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, break fluid, air conditioning, coolant, and washer fluid. Keeping all of these fluids full and clean helps sustain the life time of your car and insure your safety for every ride.
Remembering to check these four vehicle vitals after every long summer road trip will help insure that you stay safe throughout all your summer ventures. If you have any questions or need to make an appointment to get your vehicle checked out, Freedom Honda is always ready to help keep you safe!