Have you ever been stranded on the side of the road as everyone else whizzes past you…and there you are… standing next to your car… stranded while that car’s engine is smoking or a tire is blown out? I sure have. My air compressor went out and my engine seized up and I didn’t see the tell tale signs of absolute destruction. So there I sat, on the side of the road on my way home from vacation, in Bellvue, Florida waiting for AAA to come tow my baby away to the car doctor.
It’s times like this you don’t want to be stranded. You’re coming back from a (hopefully) wonderful trip and your car breaks down. Now you are stuck, having to pay for a tow, and having to pay to get your car fixed when you just blew a nice chunk of cash on vacation – or if you were in my situation, you had to pay for an overnight hotel stay and a taxi.
Just like slimming down your waistline before going on vacation; there are definitely steps to take to avoid car troubles on vacation. Maybe not an air compressor blowing (that, apparently, can happen suddenly); but a belt snapping or a spark plug going bad are all common problems that can occur while traveling.
Some of the steps to take to get your car in traveling condition include:
1. Get your oil changed! It’s routine maintenance and you need it done anyway. Also, it is wise to buy a small bottle of whatever engine oil is in your car to take with you because chances are you’re going to run a bit low after driving a lot. The last thing your poor engine needs after driving hundreds, if not thousands of miles, is to be a quart low on oil. It can happen!
2. Check your brakes. Very important to your health. You don’t want these going out on you on the interstate.
3. Engine tune-up! These keep your engine healthy and aids in keeping your gas mileage true to the owner’s manual and maybe even a little bit better.
4. Get your fuel filter and fuel pump checked. These parts can also play a good role in the gas mileage of your car – keeping these parts healthy also play a definite role in keeping your engine healthy.
5. Get your tires checked for dry rot, get them filled to the correct pressure as stated on the tire, and get them rotated and aligned. Keeps your ride nice and smooth and hopefully no flat tires caused by neglect.
**Bonus: Drive the speed limit. It’s safe, keeps you from getting a ticket/accident, and it saves gas!**