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Pre-Trip Car Inspection Can Save Time, Money, Trouble

Summer is a fun time to travel! You????????ll enjoy your road trip so much more if you take the time to get a pre-trip inspection for your vehicle.

During the week prior to your departure, take your car to a certified mechanic for a thorough inspection of all systems. A costly breakdown can ruin a great family vacation. This year, travel with confidence and security knowing you are safe.

Most repair shops are equipped with an inspection check-list. It shouldn????????t take long; but, it could save you a significant amount of time, trouble, and money.

Shopping for the Right Mechanic to Inspect Your Vehicle

It????????s important to take your vehicle to a mechanic you trust. If you don????????t know mechanics locally, ask for the recommendations of friends and family members. Ask the mechanic about professional licenses and certifications.

Take a look around the shop where you are considering having your car inspected. The shop should be clean and well organized. Business owners who care enough to keep their shops organized and presentable are generally more likely to take personal pride in their work (and the work of their employees).

If you????????re an experienced mechanic, you can also perform this pre-trip inspection on your own.

Items to Include on Your Inspection List:

Check oil for healthy color, weight and level. The oil should be about the same consistency of thin syrup. Dirty oil must be replaced. Make sure you oil is full.

Check fluids including windshield washer fluid. Fill the wiper fluid reservoir and ensure all fluid lines are clean, clear and working properly. Check the spray angle of your wiper fluid and look for worn or broken wiper blades.

Inspect transmission fluid. Transmission fluid should be bright red and clear. It has a semi-sweet smell. If it????????s dirty, dark, or smells like something has burnt, your transmission must be inspected for damage.

Check power-steering fluid and brake fluid. Make sure they are both full and clean.

Check your serpentine belt or have it checked. This belt winds around many key parts of your engine: water pump, fan, alternator, and more. If this belt has any more than an inch of play, it could slip and cause costly problems. Replacement belts are inexpensive and well worth preventing a major engine failure.

Check your air filter. A dirty or clogged air filter can cause your engine to use more gas than it should. Because the engine runs rich with a bad air filter, this will eventually cause damage to your engine. Replace the filter if necessary and you will recoup the cost in gas mileage.

Check the coolant level of your vehicle. If you are not familiar with common safety precautions while doing this, please have a qualified mechanic take this on. Some newer vehicles require Dexcool; it????????s different than the standard coolant/anti-freeze. If you’re not sure what to use, read your car????????s manual or ask the manufacturer.

Check tire pressure. Tires with too little or too much pressure can be dangerous, and they can negatively impact your gas mileage. Check all your lights. Headlights (hi/low), turn signals, hazards, marker or running lights, backup lights, taillights and license plate marker light. It’s a good idea to stock a 1 or 2 of each light in your car anyhow just in case you lose a headlight or tail light.

Check spare tire. Make sure your spare tire is up to par and make sure all jack parts are readily available. If you????????re not sure how to use a jack in an emergency, ask someone to show you before you leave.

Check fuses. Fuses are inexpensive, so make sure you have spares available.

Check spark plugs. Make sure they are gapped properly and free of carbon buildup or damage.

Clean windows and mirrors. Keep windows clean throughout your travels and don????????t let build-up occur.

Pack jumper cables and emergency supplies. It????????s always a good idea to carry jumper cables, a flashlight (and fresh batteries) in your car along with some basic tools. Keep car blankets in your trunk, spare water, and some snacks in case you get stranded.

Not comfortable performing these checks on your own? Bring your car to Grant????????s Hometown Repair at 25 West 3200 South, Nibley, UT 84321. Call us at (435) 213-3158 for a quote or information.

leverton

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