Experts are predicting that our roadways will see more traffic this Labor Day weekend than they have in six years, and considering that Labor Day weekend is one of the most traveled weekends in our country, that’s saying something. So, we thought we’d set you up with a little travel checklist before you take on the open road. You’re welcome.;)
1. Check your fluids. Cars have about as much bodily fluids as humans, so if you want your car to work at its best this weekend, then check your levels. Here are the ones you should take a peek at: transmission fluid, oil, gasoline (these first three have filters you need to check too), power-steering fluid, antifreeze, radiator fluid, brake fluid and windshield-wiper fluid.
2. Take a look at your tires. Are they looking worn down? Check the tread depth. How’s the tire pressure? Grab a gauge and check each tire (as well as the spare), and if you’re not sure what the pressure should be, consult your owner’s manual or the label on the inside panel of the driver’s side door. The tires themselves will have the maximum pressure listed on the side of the tire, but that’s not the pressure you should be aiming for. If you’re riding around at max tire pressure, you’re courting a blowout. And really, even if you don’t get hurt with a blowout, do you really want to hitchhike to your vacation? We didn’t think so.
3. How are those hoses and belts? Make sure they are secured properly and not looking rotted or frayed. If the belts aren’t working, the engine’s not moving.
4. Even if you can’t hear your brakes squeaking or grinding, that doesn’t mean they’re all good. And furthermore, you don’t need to wait until your brakes are screaming at you to have them checked out. Take them in and get them looked over, especially if your brake pedal is feeling a little off or you have to brake harder to stop. Your brakes are important–don’t ignore them.
5. If you can’t see, you’re not safe, so give your windshield wipers a once-over. They’re easy and inexpensive to change, so if they’re looking worn or aren’t clearing your windshield thoroughly in rain, switch them out for new ones.
6. Are your lights working? If they’re burnt out, other drivers on the road have more difficulty judging your distance from them, and if your brake lights and/or turn signal lights are out, it’s hard to anticipate your next move. If this doesn’t bother you, consider this: You might just get pulled over and issued a ticket. Check your lights.
7. Labor Day weekend is usually a warm one, so if your air conditioning isn’t blowing quite as cold lately, you might want to have someone take a look at it. Traffic jams on the highway get hot fast.
8. Air filters get clogged and dirty. Take a peek before you put loads of miles on your car with a long trip.
9. How are your battery connections looking? If they’re not clean, try using a little baking soda and water on them–they’ll clean right up!
10. Don’t overload the car. Your truck might be built to haul a boat behind it, but your Ford Focus isn’t. Check your owner’s manual to find out your load capacity. If you overload your car, you risk damage to your vehicle and your fuel efficiency takes a dive. Also, if you’ve got a heavy load strapped to the roof, be aware that your vehicle may handle differently.
RNR’s hoping you have a fun and safe weekend this Labor Day holiday! Do yourself (and the other drivers on the road) a favor by checking the things we’ve listed above and stockpiling your patience for what may be a long, trying trip in traffic. Hot heads and hot roads are a bad combination.