Planning for the 4th and What to Do with Your Vehicle
The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays, and for good reason. It’s when we celebrate our country’s founding, and it’s a great time to reflect on what it means to be an American and honor this nation’s heroes. If you’re planning on travel for the Fourth, you might want to make a few preparations on your vehicle so that your trip is a fun and comfortable one:
Car Maintenance Checklist for Trips
- Oil change: How long has it been since your last oil change? If it’s more than 5,000 miles (for conventional oil) or 10,000 miles (for synthetic), go ahead and set up that oil change appointment. Can’t remember how long it’s been? Pull your dipstick and have a look. If the oil on the stick is translucent and honey colored, you’re still good for awhile. If it’s the color of black coffee and has an acrid, acidic smell to it, go ahead and do the oil change.
- Tire rotation: Tires don’t wear evenly, because vehicle weight isn’t distributed 50/50 front to rear. In addition, braking and cornering transfer weight to the front of the vehicle, stressing the front tires. Regular tire rotations are essential to tire service life and can greatly enhance your vehicle’s road manners. Tire rotations along with every oil change are a good rule to live by.
- AC recharge: Even on newer model vehicles, your AC system can lose as much as five percent of its charge during the off season. It’s likely to get a little warm on 4th of July weekend, so it’s a good idea to have an AC system checkup and add a little refrigerant if it’s needed. Nobody likes riding in a stuffy car, after all.
- Air filter: Can’t remember how long it was since your air filter was changed? Go ahead and change it. They’re inexpensive and super easy to replace, and a new, less-restrictive air filter will give your fuel economy and performance a boost.
- Cabin air filter: Often neglected, this part is what keeps weird smells, pollen, dust and other particulates from making their way into your passenger compartment. It’s located behind the glovebox on most makes, and is also easy and quick to change.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to top off all the fluids (including the windshield washer tank) and check tire pressure all the way around. Even one tire that’s down five PSI in pressure can cause a hit on fuel economy, not to mention that the heat buildup from added rolling resistance puts a lot of stress on tires.
So go ahead and start packing, gather up the kids and get ready to hit the road — but don’t forget these maintenance tips for your car so you can have a safe and hassle-free 4th of July trip!