This summer many Americans are
gearing up for road trips and adventures on the open road. With an
estimated 276 million cars taking to the
highways this summer, it’s crucial to ensure
your vehicle is in tip top condition for a
trouble-free journey. To help you prepare,
we’ve compiled expert tips on checking
the most common automotive problems
that can come up during your summer
Dead Battery: Your car’s battery is the heart and soul of your vehicle’s electrical system. It gives the necessary power to start the engine, operate the lights, and run various electrical components. However, like all good things, car batteries have a lifespan, and over time, they can wear out and lose their ability to hold an effective charge.
Here are some common battery indicators to keep in mind:
Slow Engine Crank: A healthy battery
should provide a quick and strong
crank, starting your engine without
hesitation. If you notice a sluggish crank,
taking longer to start, it’s a sign that your
battery needs replacing.
Dimming Lights: Brightness matters!
Pay attention to your headlights, interior
lights, and dashboard lights. If they’re
significantly dimming, especially when
you’re using other electrical components, it’s a clear signal that your battery
needs some love. Let there be light!
Warning Lights: Your car’s dashboard
is like a little communication hub. If the
battery or charging system warning light
flashes, it’s time to take action. Ignoring
this warning could lead to more significant issues down the road.
Frequent Jump-Starts: If you’re relying
on jump-starting your vehicle more
often than usual, your battery is telling
you it’s tired. Frequent jump-starts are a
cry for help.
Corrosion and Swollen Battery Case:
Take a peek under the hood and inspect
those battery terminals. Corrosion can
hinder proper electrical connections,
while a swollen battery case indicates
overheating. Clear the corrosion and
swap that battery if needed.
Age of the Battery: Car batteries have
a lifespan of around three to five years. If
your battery is approaching or exceeding
this range, it’s time to consider a replacement. Don’t wait for signs of trouble; be
proactive and enjoy a worry-free ride!
But what about electric vehicles? Prashant
Salla, Founder and CEO of Goodhood,
a mobile auto repair service that delivers
convenient car maintenance and repair
services directly to customers’ doorsteps
says, “Electric vehicles also require periodic battery maintenance and replacement.
5CAR CARE TIPS
SUMMER ROAD TRIP
by Taylor L. Cole, @TravelwithTLC
Most EV batteries will last around eight to
ten years before needing to be replaced,
depending on the make and model of
the vehicle. If you notice any symptoms
of wear or if your EV is nearing its expected lifespan, contact a professional for an
inspection and battery replacement.”
Brakes: Properly functioning brakes
are essential for your safety. Look out
for signs of brake wear, such as
squeaking or grinding noises,
vibrations, or a soft brake pedal. If you
notice any issues, have your brakes
inspected by a qualified mechanic.
Remember to check your brake fluid
level regularly and top it up if needed.
Flat Tire: Flat tires are common on
road trips. Before embarking on your
journey, inspect your tires for signs of
wear, such as low tread depth or visible
damage. Check tire pressure, including
the spare tire, and ensure it matches the
manufacturer’s recommended levels.
Carry a spare tire, jack, lug wrench, and
a portable tire inflator or sealant for
Car Won’t Start: Nothing is more
frustrating than a car that won’t start,
especially when you’re eager to hit the
road. Ensure your vehicle’s ignition system
is in good shape. Check for loose or
corroded battery terminals and clean them
if necessary. If you experience repeated
starting issues, have your starter and alternator inspected by a professional.
Oil Change: Regular oil changes are
vital for the health of your engine.
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for
the recommended oil change interval, typically every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Ensure
the oil level is within the recommended
range and the oil appears clean and clear.
If it’s time for an oil change, schedule one
before your trip to keep your engine running smoothly.
Diagnostic tools can also help save you
the headache and heartache of being
stranded or delayed for your long-awaited road trip. “Gone are the days when
mechanics relied solely on their instincts
to diagnose car issues,” says Prashant.
“Now there are comprehensive diagnostic services that use the power of advanced technology to offer accurate and
detailed information about your vehicle’s
performance. These tools allow technicians to go beyond mere guesswork and
pinpoint the root causes of problems
In addition to checking these five most
common auto problems before your trip,
don’t forget to pack the essentials like
jumper cables, a first aid kit, a portable
cell phone charger, flashlight, blanket, and
snacks. A few everyday items and these
time-saving steps will bring you peace
of mind and a smooth ride as you hi