How To Prepare Your Car For Labor Day Travel

When tires are not properly inflated, it causes fuel efficiency to drop.
When tires are not properly inflated, it causes fuel efficiency to drop.

One look at your car, with a full gas tank and trunk, and it’ easy to believe you’re ready to hit the road. Not so quickly!

Here are five basics every driver needs to know to prepare for a car trip. This holiday weekend, be safe, save money and avoid expensive repairs—you’ve got a tan to catch!

Don’t wait until you have a problem. It is vital to be proactive in ensuring that our cars are running as safely and smoothly as possible.

Properly inflate tires

When tires are not properly inflated, it causes fuel efficiency to drop. Plain and simple: more money wasted on gas means less money for your summer BBQ snack list.

Check your brakes.

Changing brake pads more frequently actually saves you money in the long run. By leaving brake pads in too long, the brake rotors—much more expensive pieces of equipment—wear down at a much faster rate. Even the most advanced cars have problems.

Rule 1: Scraping sounds likely mean it’s time for new disc brake pads.

This sound comes from metal grinding against metal—which can affect the speed at which your car stops. It’s wise to get this fixed as soon as possible.

Rule 2: If your brake pedal sinks to the floor, beware.

This may be a sign that the master cylinder—which holds your brake fluid—is not properly holding pressure, a potentially dangerous condition that can cause brakes to stop functioning the way they are supposed to. Get this checked out as soon as possible.

Rule 3: Don’t consistently ride the brakes while going downhill.

By resting your foot on the pedal unnecessarily, it can wear out the brake pads much more rapidly than would happen normally.

Rule 4: Spending an hour getting your brakes checked out now can save you dozens of hours (and dollars) later.

Rotate your tires

It’s common to get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we can forget to rotate our tires. However, this causes them to wear out faster, and can damage your suspension, steering, and traction.

Replace dirty air filters

Replacing your air filter regularly is a simple—yet often overlooked—procedure that costs drivers lots in wasted fuel and damaged system components.

Check your windshield wipers

If your blades are worn out, you may not have clear visibility in rainy weather. Buy new blades but before you go to buy them, make sure you know the exact model of your car. Here are easy instructions.

How do you know who is reliable?

Check out RepairPal that independently certifies auto repair shops nationwide for superior training, quality tools, fair pricing and a minimum 12-month/12,000-mile warranty. The customer reviews are particularly helpful.

For more by Marybeth Bond, follow her on Twitter.