Before heading out on your first road trip this winter, check out these quick car maintenance tips. When you are road tripping it to grandma's house, you don't want to be stranded on the side of the highway because of something that could have been easily prevented.
Maintaining Your Car This Winter
Tip # 1
Check the oil before you take a long trip and change on a regular schedule. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of keeping your car running smoothly. Most mechanics recommend you change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual to see how often it is recommended specifically for your car. You should NEVER neglect the oil light on your car, especially in cold weather!
Tip # 2
Get your brakes checked out (depending on the age of your car). If you drive an older car have your brakes inspected nearly as often as you get your oil checked. Especially if you have frequent starts and stops, slam on the brakes a lot, drive on very hilly roads, or tend to ride your brakes.
Tip # 3
Keep it clean. While washing the outside of your car is smart to keep your paint looking nice, nearly everything your car drives over gets stuck to the undercarriage and stays there. In the winter it is imperative that you wash the road salt off your car, as road salt is extremely corrosive and over time it can cause major damage. The biggest problem is rust. Visiting a car wash with an undercarriage spray several times a month can help protect against the road salt’s effects.
Tip # 4
Check your tires. Getting better performance from your tires can be as simple as ensuring they are properly inflated. When the tire pressure is off, even a little bit, you’ll see poor fuel economy and handling, as well as premature wear on the tires–up to 25% more wear than a properly inflated tire. If you live in a part of the country that gets more than a couple of inches of snow every year, you should invest in tires made specifically for winter. Winter/snow tires are designed to offer better traction that your regular tires can't. They have superior tread patterns and use softer rubber compounds that enhances grip on the road.
If you are driving a car that is over 10 years old you might want to look at the advantages of trading it in for a newer car. With the advances in fuel efficiency and higher milage manufacturers warranties, it might be cheaper to upgrade rather than keep on driving that 17 year old SUV that gets 10 miles to the gallon and breaks down every few months.
If you are looking to purchase a new/new to you car and don't know where to start, stop by cars.com and do some research.
Whether your car is 10 days or 10 years old, proper maintenance will keep it running smoothly. And by following these few, easy tips you can hopefully avoid any unplanned stops on the way to grandma's!