Tag Archives: car care

5 Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

holiday road trip safety
An estimated 99 million Americans travel during the holidays with over 38 million of those traveling by car. The traffic alone can cause some serious stress, not to mention winter storms, construction, wildlife, and distractions from inside the car. With all these risks, it’s no surprise that a 2 hour car trip could end up taking 5 hours.

 

Before you leave for your holiday road-trip, consider these tips given by experts to keep you and those you love safe on the roads: 

 

Car Emergency Kit

Most auto supply stores will have an “all-in-one” car emergency kit that include the essentials like jumper cables, a first aid kit, batteries, a flashlight, etc. The Department of Transportation suggests you include all of the items listed below. If you already have all the items needed, just buy a plastic box to keep them nice and tidy in your trunk.
  • Roadside flares
  • A first-aid kit
  • Work gloves or latex gloves
  • Two quarts of oil
  • Jumper cables
  • One gallon of antifreeze
  • Brake fluid
  • Extra fuses
  • A blanket
  • A flashlight with fresh batteries
  • A Phillips head screwdriver
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • Vise grips
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A pair of pliers
  • A tire inflator
  • A tire pressure gauge
  • Some rags and a funnel
  • A roll of duct tape
  • A roll of paper towels
  • A spray bottle with washer fluid
  • An ice scraper
  • Triangle reflectors and flares.
  • A pocketknife

 

Portable Backup Battery

Ipads and smartphones are not only for entertainment value when taking a road tip. Having a fully charged phone is crucial while on the road, especially if you are in an accident or stranded. A portable backup battery can be charged at home and taken with you on the road. Another benefit to having one of these is that you won’t have to share one cigaret charger with the rest of the family.

 

Water and Snacks

You never know when traffic will come to a standstill or a flat tire leaves you on the side of the road for hours. It’s always smart to have a few bottles of water and some granola bars, fruit, nuts, and other snacks on hand just in case. Even if you don’t need the supplies yourself, you might run across someone else in need.

 

Kitty Litter

In the case that your car gets stuck in snow, ice, or even mud, laying kitty litter in front of the tires can give you enough traction to get moving again. Have a bag or two handy in the trunk if you plan to be driving through snow or ice.

 

Roadside Assistance

Last but not least, make sure to have your AAA or roadside assistance card handy, along with your drivers license. Jumper cables and kitty litter isn’t always enough to get you out of a bind while on a road tip. It’s also a good idea to make sure your proof of  insurance card is updated and in your glove department.

 

Save Travels!

Don’t let the stress of holiday traveling keep you from taking a road trip to see family or a new part of the country. Gathering just a few supplies can give you peace of mind when on the road. Safe travels!

Fall Maintenance Checklist for Your Car

Fall is here and the weather is changing in San Antonio. It’s a great time to prep your car for the coming temperature drops and changing road conditions. Keeping your vehicle maintained now is the best preventative measure you can take to avoid costly emergencies later.

Here is a handy fall vehicle maintenance checklist to get you started:

Get an Oil Change

Motor oil is essential to your vehicle’s maintenance. It keeps metal surfaces from grinding together, reduces heat from friction, and many other functions. It’s recommended to get an oil change every 3,000-5,000 miles, depending on your car and the type of driving you do. Check the owners manual to find out the optimal mileage for an oil change your particular vehicle.

Check the Battery

Take a good look at the battery connections and make sure they are clean, tight, and corrosion-free. If a connection becomes lose or there is corrosion this will affect the charging of the alternator.

Test the Heater, Defrosters, Wiper Blades

Before the temperatures drop, take time to test the heater, defrosters, and check the air filter. Although it varies per vehicle, it’s recommended to change your air filter every 30,000-45,000 miles. Make sure your wiper blades are not torn or cracked and that the wiper fluid is full. Wiper blades are recommended to be replaced every six months.

Inspect Tires

You’ll want to check the tire pressure as well as the tread depth on your tires. Check the owners manual for the proper tire pressure and be careful not to over or under inflate the tires. As temperatures drop, the air pressure changes in your tires so it’s smart to check them weekly. Also, look for uneven wear, bulges, and bald spots. An easy way to check tire tread is to insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Check Breaks

This something you might want to have a mechanic look at. Have them check the brake linings, rotors, and drums to be sure they are in tip-top shape.

Check the Radiator Fluid

Radiator Fluid, or coolant, keeps the engine cool in the hotter months and also transfers heat to the inside of the car during the cooler months. Coolant should be changed every 2-5 years depending on the type of coolant used, and a full radiator flush is recommended once a year. You’ll want to check the hoses to make sure there are no rips or tears where leaking could be a problem.

Evaluate Belts and Hoses

Take a look at all the belts and hoses to see if there is any evidence of cracking, fraying, or leaking. Rips or leaks could cause major issues so if you see any signs of that take your car to a mechanic.

Test Headlights and Taillights

It’s hard to tell if one of your headlights or taillights are out. Take the time to make sure they are all bright and working otherwise you could have an accident or get a hefty ticket.

Take Preventative Measures Now

Why not take a little time to perform a few preventative measures to make sure your car is healthy and ready for the winter? Whether you perform the checks yourself or you take your vehicle to a mechanic, just a few checks now can save you from a costly emergency later.

Another great way to prepare for the harsh winter months is to make sure your auto insurance coverage is updated and specialized to your needs and location. Contact us if you have questions about your current plan or want a complimentary quote.