By Geoff Spencer
Summer is the time of year people pack their bags, load up the family, and find somewhere to beat the heat! Awareness of your vehicles condition is very important and can be the difference between a fun vacation and no vacation. To ensure a safe and hassle free trip, your automobile should be well maintained, thoroughly inspected, and monitored throughout your trip. After these steps have been made you will have the peace of mind and confidence that your transportation will reliably deliver you and your occupants to your summer destination.
Regularly maintaining your car, truck, or SUV can greatly lower the chances of a break down. This is referred to as “preventative maintenance.” We had a scenario the other day at the shop, a customer asked, “I’m confused. Why were my radiator hoses recommended if they were not leaking?” A great question and concern. We explained to the customer that the hoses were original equipment and had been on their truck for 150k miles. We elaborated, “When squeezing the radiator hoses, an audible crunch was heard. This indicates deterioration of the hoses from the inside out and later on down the road can result in rupture.” After explaining this to the customer they were grateful and appreciative that we noticed this upon the inspection. The point of preventative maintenance is to catch issues before they escalate. Replacing certain components and fluids based on time and mileage is critical to establishing a strong, dependable motor vehicle.
Before leaving for your trip, take your vehicle into a licensed and certified repair facility for a “Pre-trip inspection.” This is a service that we offer free of charge at Spencer Auto Repair. It is important to take your automobile in at least one week before your trip, in case large repairs are needed. A certified mechanic will look over your car, truck, or SUV and notify you of any repairs that may be needed to be fixed before your trip. If there are any issues found regarding safety items such as brakes, tires, steering, suspension, and exterior lamps, they should be addressed as soon as possible. A quality repair shop will inform you about both concerns that can wait and concerns that are urgent. A thorough inspection before a long drive will give you a further understanding of your vehicles condition and provide assurance for you and your family.
While on your trip you should be aware that certain components that require regular monitoring. Aside from your fuel gauge, your oil pressure gauge, coolant temperature gauge and warning lights should periodically be glanced at while driving. Warning lights such as check engine, brake, and abs illuminate when there is a fault found with your vehicle. When any of these lights are illuminated, or gauges indicate an issue we recommend to pull over, shut down, and get your vehicle towed to the nearest repair shop. If you ever have any questions or concerns while driving your vehicle you are always welcome to call Spencer Auto Repair.
Monitoring your tire pressure routinely is also very significant to keeping safe and protecting your tires. It is always suggested to keep a tire pressure gauge somewhere in your vehicle. The specified tire pressure for your vehicle is located on a sticker near the driver’s door jamb. If your tire pressure is lower than the specification, your tires are underinflated. Underinflated tires can result in a rise of tire temperature resulting in accelerated tire wear, blowouts, or in extreme cases loss of control and possible collision. Over inflation causes irregular tire wear and can cause tires to be more prone to damage and punctures by road debris and potholes. If your are traveling to an area that has a different climate than home, it is important to know that tire pressure changes 1-2 psi for every 10 degrees in temperature change. For example, you leave the valley, its 110 degrees outside and your tire pressure is 35. Once your in Payson, and its 70 degrees out, your tire pressure is now underinflated at 4-8 psi less than specification. It is critical to maintain tire pressure throughout your trip.
Summer vacations are for relaxation and enjoyment. Taking a couple extra steps to ensure that your vehicle is in acceptable condition to drive long distances can save you from breaking down. Regular maintenance, a pre-trip inspection, and knowing what items on your vehicle to monitor are the keys to having a safe and sound vacation. Get your vehicle ready for that trip and safe travels!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Geoffrey Spencer is the owner of Spencer Auto Repair a full service automotive and tire shop. Spencer Auto Repair has been in business since 2013 and serves San Tan Valley, Florence, Queen Creek and the surrounding areas. Geoff and his staff offer quality service at an affordable price. They will always go the extra mile for their customers. They are family business, Geoff works alongside his wife and brother-in-law. Honesty and great customer service are the top priorities for everyone at Spencer Auto Repair. They have ASE certified technicians and a Ford Master Technician on staff. Geoff and his technicians also have access to all the latest manufacturer information, technician service bulletins, and maintenance schedules to ensure they provide the best service to every customer.
Geoff has a strong background working on all makes and models. He has many years’ experience working at both independent shops and dealerships. He is both ASE and factory certified. His passion for cars started early in life working on MGs in the garage with his father. Personally, Geoff and his wife have a daughter and are expecting their second child. They truly love living in San Tan Valley and enjoy being a part of the community.