With triple-digit temperatures in the Valley of the Sun, I am sure you and your family are ready for a summer vacation, but is your car ready?
Preparing for a road trip takes some planning and strategizing when you are a parent. Do the kids have enough snacks? Are the iPads loaded with plenty of games and TV shows? Did we remember to pack the sunblock and close the garage door? While these questions are important, the most imperative question you should be asking yourself is, “Is our car safe for travel?”
Experiencing a vehicle breakdown can ruin a family vacation, so it is best to get a clean bill of automobile health before you hit the open road.
The best place to start is by visiting a reputable auto repair shop. If you don’t already have a shop you trust, search online for the Neighborhood of Automotive Repair Professionals (NARPRO.com) to find the best auto repair shop in your area.
A week before your trip, take your vehicle in for a routine oil change and air filter replacement. During this visit, a reputable repair shop will also provide a multi-point inspection of your vehicle. A few key areas they will evaluate include:
- Belts and hoses– the professionals will look for cracks, discoloration, holes and leaks that could prevent your vehicle from operating safely and efficiently.
- Tires – are your tires properly inflated? Is the tread worn out, dry, cracking? In the Arizona summer, asphalt can be close to 180 degrees. This heat can be a deal-breaker for a less-than-ideal tire situation. Are you prepared to deal with a blowout at 75 miles per hour? Don’t take chances with your tires, get them checked.
- Windshield wipers – in the desert climate, wipers can get brittle and become ineffective. Have your blades looked at and replaced every six months. If you encounter an unexpected monsoon, you will be thankful to have new blades.
- Battery – when was the last time you had your battery checked? Did you know, in Arizona a car battery only lasts 2-3 years? Plus, nowadays, we are putting even more stress on our batteries when we plug in our phones and other devices. Reputable auto repair shops can check your battery function and forecast your battery life. Take this simple precaution so you don’t end up stranded at a roadside rest stop.
Taking care of your car before your next trip can be the difference between making memories with your loved ones or searching frantically for a repair shop in a strange town. Don’t leave it up to chance, visit a NARPRO-approved shop before you head out for adventure this summer!
Written by: Brad Slagle, NARPRO Board of Directors
Brad Slagle serves on the NARPRO Board and manages S&S Tire and Auto Service Center, a family -owned and operated chain of tire and automotive services/repair stores in the West Valley.