Getting ready for a road trip

budds road tripThinking of taking a road trip? Summer is definitely the season to do it. The weather is good, there’s plenty of daylight and the scenery is at its best.

Just don’t let car trouble spoil your adventure! Here’s some automotive advice for anyone about to hit the highway this summer.

Oh, the places you’ll go

Here in Oakville, we’re well-placed for road trips. Drive north for Collingwood and Blue Mountain. Head west and visit our Michigan neighbors. (Sleeping Bear Dunes is a must-see!) Or head east to Quebec or the Maritimes.

Wherever you choose though, it’s essential to make sure your car is ready. Any kind of breakdown or problem will really spoil your vacation.

Things you can do yourself

Anyone can take care of the basics of prepping a vehicle for summer. Here’s a list:

  • Expect trash. If you’ll be snacking in your car have a bag ready for garbage. That way you can dump it out quickly when you stop for gas and avoid any unpleasant odors. Pro tip: Vacuum before you leave and clean windows to improve your view.
  • Check tires. Check tire pressures when they’re cold and add air if needed. While doing that, see how much tread is left, and look for any odd bumps, splits or cracks. If the tires are worn or look at all suspect, bring it in to us for a professional inspection.
  • Top up the windshield washer fluid. The windshield is going to get dusty and collect bugs.
  • Inspect the lights. The days are long but you could still find yourself driving in the dark. Take a walk around your car to check all the lights are working. Spot a problem? Bring it in to Budds’ and we’ll put it right.
  • Windshield wipers. If these are torn, if they judder as they sweep, or they’re more than six months old, it’s time for replacements. Swapping blades is a job you can do yourself but it can be fiddly for the uninitiated. If in doubt, ask us.
  • Schedule maintenance work. Dust and high temperatures make oil, filters, and batteries work harder. Don’t risk a breakdown. Call us and schedule a service.

Maintenance work to have done

Your Chevy, Buick, Cadillac or GMC vehicle is a complex machine with every component engineered for performance and durability. It’s astoundingly reliable too, but still benefits from some TLC. Here’s what we recommend having done in our service bays before you head out.

  • Oil change. Oil does more than just lubricate; by taking heat away from the pistons it helps keep the engine cool. Have the oil changed before leaving to ensure it runs at peak efficiency.
  • Filter replacement. A dirty filter can affect fuel consumption, and they clog quickly in hot, dusty conditions. That’s why you should start your road trip with one that’s new. And don’t overlook the cabin air filter. You’ll likely have the A/C on “Max” and a clean cabin filter ensures you stay supplied with cool fresh air.
  • Cooling system inspection. High temperatures have the radiator and water hoses working hard. Modern vehicles are particular about the type and concentration of coolant used, so we’ll gladly check that for you. We’ll also take a close look at the hoses to see if there’s a risk of them failing. If we see any problems we’ll talk to you about what needs doing.
  • A/C system check. Yes, you can roll the windows down, but it’s not a good way of staying comfortable. First, lowering windows on the highway increases fuel consumption, and second, being cool and comfortable helps you stay awake and focused on driving. Avoid problems by letting us check out your A/C.
  • Battery check. Summer sees more battery problems than winter. Our test equipment measures battery performance and will reveal if it’s time for a preemptive replacement.
  • Serpentine belt inspection. Rather than separate belts for cooling fan, alternator and power steering, modern cars do it all with a serpentine rubber belt. This last a very long time, but if it does fail you could have a long walk ahead of you. Don’t take chances: let us see if it’s time for a replacement.

Don’t risk your vacation

Summer road trips should be time for fun and family bonding. A breakdown will cause all kinds of stress and mess up your schedule, so don’t take chances. Use our checklist for the simple things, and schedule an appointment with us for those that are more complicated.