Planning a road trip this summer? If so, it’s essential to get your vehicle checked over by a professional prior to taking off in order to ensure that it’s safely ready to hit the highway!

Photo-Charley-Olson-Meineke-Car-Care-Centers-Omaha-Nebraska“It’s important for all of your car’s systems to be fully functional, and moreover, to be operating as efficiently as possible,” emphasizes Charley Olson of Meineke Car Care Centers. “You don’t want the first time you notice an issue to be on the road, especially if it can be caught and fixed before you go. Based on how many miles you are planning to drive round trip, you’ll want to confirm that your oil change isn’t due during that interval and if you’re cutting it close, make sure to have it done prior to taking off. The same holds true with tire rotation, which is advised every 6,000 miles. Make sure to check the wear on the tires, not only on the tread but on the inside of the tire as well. When the alignment is off, it causes wear that isn’t visible from the outside and will leave you at risk for a blowout in addition to negatively affecting your gas mileage.

Aside from your engine running smoothly, an oil change is advantageous because all other fluid levels are checked at the same time. Coolant in particular is key in the summer months; if it’s low for some reason you run the risk of major (and expensive) problems in the event that your car overheats and breaks down, leaving you stranded who knows where. Especially with high temperatures coming up, in addition to checking the coolant level now is the perfect time to make sure your air conditioner is blowing out cold air—we even offer a free A/C check.”

Rick Quistad Jones Automotive Care Auto Care Omaha NebraskaRick Quistad of Jones Automotive also addresses the importance of checking general maintenance items off the list prior to leaving for your summer road trip. “I always stress that even though nothing may seem to be wrong, it’s still critical to have your vehicle checked over prior to departure. Aside from the basics of oil, fluids, tire pressure, brakes and so on, assessing the integrity of the belts by checking for cracks and excessive wear and the hoses by checking for any cracks, leaks, loose connections and the right firmness is important. The risk of belt failure rises dramatically over 36,000 miles, so if you’re not sure about the timeline, a good rule of thumb is to replace any belts that look excessively slick or smooth. Hoses in particular suffer from a slow deterioration process called electrochemical degradation where they erode on the inside, which is problematic because it’s not visible. They should always be firm and never soft or malleable. Another item that is often overlooked an easy to replace is the air filter. Spring is a particularly good time to check this as it may become clogged with salt and debris commonly used to keep roads safe in the winter months, and a clogged air filter can decrease your gas mileage up to 10%.”

Boyd-Ballie-SuperGlass-Nebraska-Auto-Care-OmahaAlthough often overlooked in the scheme of things, you’ll also benefit from having a clear view that’s free of obstructions. “In order to have a safer driving experience, it’s beneficial to repair any rock chips and cracks on your windshield,” suggests Boyd Baillie of SuperGlass Nebraska. “In doing so, you’ll want to choose a repair company that is committed to providing the best repair possible. SuperGlass has an established reputation as the quality leader in windshield repair worldwide. Another safety issue you may want to consider before hitting the road is headlight restoration. The modern headlight lens is made of acrylic. A weakness of acrylic is its tendency to break down and deteriorate due to contact with cleaning solvents and exposure to UV rays, causing the headlight to be dimmer and less effective. The SuperGlass Headlight Restoration system removes the opaque and yellowed surface of the acrylic and restores clarity of your headlights to like-new condition.”

Above all, take it from the experts and don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to the safety and reliability of your vehicle. Make it a point to get everything checked out properly right before you leave so your vacation is enjoyable and free of any unfortunate (and likely costly) setbacks.