Making sure your vehicle is ready for the Holidays.
Often we think of the holiday season as being from Thanksgiving to New Years, but the truth is your vehicle should be safe all year round, especially around any holiday season. Drivers seem to be more distracted during the holidays and distractions multiply 10 fold near the Christmas season due to the weather, especially rain or snow and the shorter days. That's why it's so important to take the time to either have your vehicle checked or take 30 minutes to do some basic checks. Here are some tips on checks you can do yourself.
- Check all your lights. Ask a friend or family member to help and in the evening, have them turn the ignition key to the on position and work all the lights. Step on the brake, use the turn signals, check the emergency flasher and check the head and tail lights. Also check your dash lights. Make notes of any lights that look dim or don't work and have them repaired. (The rest of the list is best to do in daylight.)
- Tires: Check each tire for unusual wear and depth. On most tires there is a date code stamped in the sidewall. Your tires should be changes if they are more than 5 year old or if any part of the tire is less than 2/32. Use a penny to check. If any part of Lincoln's head is covered, get new tires.
- Your battery. Check for a powdery type substance around the terminals. If you see it the battery cables need to be removed and cleaning done. If you battery is more than 4 years old, you might want to consider replacing it rather than be stranded.
- While your under the hood look at your hoses and check for any leaks. If you see any wet oil or liquid have a professional take a look at it. Also checked for dry fluid around the hoses.
- Your oil is the life blood of your engine. All engines use oil so even if you use extended life oil, you must make sure your level does not go any lower than a quart. Keep a quart of the oil you use in the car or garage in case you need to top off. Don't overfill, or you may cause a leak.
- Wiper blades: you don't need them till you really need them. Squirt your windshield and check the blades. If they streak, replace them.
- Other fluids such as coolant, power steering and transmission can be checked easily on some vehicles but not on some new models. Many vehicles have electronic steering assist and transmissions fluid level can only be checked from underneath the vehicle. No more dipstick. Consult a professional to check these items.
- Last: Although many items can be checked at home, it's still better to take you vehicle to a shop that you trust. Many professional shops have access to Carfax reports which can not only give a history of service but also any recalls you may not be aware of. They will have not only the tools and equipment to work on your vehicle but also know what special things to look at to make sure your vehicle is safe and gives you many years of service.