Spring break—it’s why you went to college in the first place, right? You’ve been planning your trip for months now. You, your friends, your friends’ friends will be packed tightly into your Ford Focus with only the essentials—an extra change of clothes, road snacks and your iPhone with a newly created “Road Trip” play list. Besides making sure that you email Mom and Dad the number where you’re going to be staying, what else is left to do?
Well, if you’re driving to wherever your college student budget affords, you need to make sure that some basic pre-road trip maintenance is on the to-do list.
You don’t have to schedule taking your car to a mechanic. The basics you can check yourself (if you really don’t know how, find a friend who does or find instructions on YouTube…really, these are things all car owners should be able to do):
Check your fluid levels
Oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and while you’re at it, go ahead and check your windshield washer fluid, too. Observe the area around your car—are there any leaks? If so, that’s when you need to call Quanz to make sure it’s nothing that’s going to leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Check your lights
Including your turn signals. You’ll need the help of a friend to check the brake lights. If any lights are out, chances are it’s a bulb. The staff at most auto parts stores will help you find the right bulb, and if you ask nicely, they may even help you install it. If it’s not the bulb, call Quanz. It may still be a simple fix, but maybe not one you want to deal with on your own.
Check your tire inflation and tread
Standard PSI for your tires are listed on the car, usually inside one of the doors. Proper tire inflation will help you maximize your mpgs. To check the tread of your tires, do the penny test. Because you may not know what kind of weather or road conditions you’ll be driving in to, best not to take a chance on this one. If your tires are worn, get new ones before you embark on your week of frivolity.
The Backup Plan
Checking your fluids, lights and tires and doing any preventive maintenance will, hopefully, avoid any major car issues during your Spring Break trip. But it’s always best to have a Plan B in mind before disaster strikes.
Before you leave, make sure you know who to call in the event of a break down. Do you have AAA? Does your insurance provider have their own roadside assistance number? It’s also a good idea to inquire about your insurance company’s towing coverage. Sometimes, that’s the most expensive bill when a car breaks down.
If you happen to break down far away from home and can’t get your car to Quanz, we can still help you find a reputable mechanic. Quanz Advanced Auto Body is part of the nationwide NAPA Auto Care Center network. If you call us and tell us your location and situation, we can help you find another NAPA Auto Care Center in the area. And knowing your car is in good hands away from home is a huge relief.
No matter what your plans are or how far away you plan to travel for Spring Break 2012, make sure you drive safely!