Oct 5, 2020

Auto Maintenance - Prepare for Your Next Road Trip

I’m getting ready to take my next trip and thought I’d share the checks I do to make sure my truck is ready. Check your owner’s manual maintenance schedule, no need to do things that aren’t ready to be done.

Under The Hood Maintenance

If you’ve had an oil change recently, they’ve probably looked at most of these for you.

  • [ ] Oil Level - If you have a dipstick for oil level check it. Some new cars have a sensor so nothing for you do do for oil.
  • [ ] How much Oil Life do you have. You no longer change the oil every 3,000 miles like in the old days. Your car monitors use and calculates a % oil life.
  • [ ] Transmission Fluid - Same as for oil
  • [ ] Washer Fluid - Fill up the reservoir before you leave
  • [ ] Coolant - For most cars there is now an overflow reservoir, check to make sure there is coolant.
  • [ ] Power Steering Fluid
  • [ ] Engine Air Filter
  • [ ] Air Conditioner - Nothing for your do do here. If it works you good.

Around the Exterior

  • [ ] Check that your brake lights work.
  • [ ] Check that your turn signals work, front and back
  • [ ] Check your headlights
  • [ ] Check your running lights
  • [ ] Brakes - have them inspected for proper wear, they may last 30,000–50,000 miles, but maybe less depending on how you drive.
  • [ ] Check the tire air pressure. Use a proper gauge. The correct pressure can be found on the driver’s door jam
  • [ ] Tire Tread - You can do the penny test, put a penny in your tread upside down If Lincoln’s head goes below the tread you are good. Should be at least 2/32 inch.
  • [ ] To prolong tread life, have your tires rotated every 6000–8000 miles
  • [ ] Windshield Wiper Blades - Look at the rubber, not worn or loose. If so replace the rubber or the blade with pre-installed rubber.
  • [ ] Give all the fascia trim a quick inspection and make sure it’s tight

Inside the Passenger Cabin Maintenance

  • [ ] Check the cabin air filter, usually replace every year. Some cars and trucks have an air filter to keep you interior cabin air fresh and clear.
  • [ ] Clean the windows for better night vision.
  • [ ] I also like to start my trips by vacuuming and having a clean interior.

Other Maintenance to Think About before you leave on a trip

  • [ ] Wash and wax your car. Dish soap and and old rag should not be used! Today’s finishes like special soap designed for cars and a soft microfibre towel

Check Engine Light

Is yours on or does it come on during the trip. If the light is on and it’s flashing or red you need immediate maintenance. If it’s intermittent or if it’s yellow you probably have some time. At your first opportunity you should have the code read by a dealer, auto repair shop or parts store. They’ll all do this for free… or they should.

The most comment items are:

  • [ ] Catalytic Converter - This will cost you some money, upwards of $1000
  • [ ] Oxygen Sensor - you can replace it yourself or pay a mechanic $250
  • [ ] Ignition Coil and Plugs - Probably more then $300
  • [ ] Loose Fuel Cap - Free to tighten but may need to be replaced if it’s broken
  • [ ] Mass Air Flow Sensor - $350

Safe Travels!

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