Commuter Crossing: Basic car maintenance spring break road trips


As winter ends and spring break approaches, it’s time to get your car checked out. Some of you may be going away for spring break, and this trip may involve a long drive. You need to make sure your car is in tip-top shape before you travel anywhere.

Get an oil change– Oil is what helps keep your engine running smoothly. Over time, oil breaks down and loses its viscosity. When this happens, it is not properly lubricating your engine and makes the engine more prone to wear and tear. A well-oiled engine also gets better gas mileage, which will help you save on gas money.

Rotate the tires– Tires need to be rotated on different corners of a car to prevent uneven wear. The tires in the front are more likely to wear down faster because the heaviest part of a vehicle, the engine, lies in the front. The front tires also get added wear because when they brake, all of the car’s weight shifts forward. Switch the front tires with the back ones and switch the left with the right tires.

Check tire treads- Over time, tire treads wear down and leave you with less traction on the road. Traction is especially important in rainstorms because it prevents hydroplaning. A cheap trick to test the rubber depth on tires is by using a penny. According to Firestone, if you take a penny and place it in several grooves of your tire and part of Lincoln’s head is always covered, then you do not need new tires. However, if Lincoln’s head isn’t covered, odds are your tires are not at the required 2/32 of an inch of tread depth. Driving on such low tire treads is unsafe and in some states, illegal.

If you use these three basic steps in car maintenance, you will be safe and ready for your spring break road trip.

For comments/questions about this article, email or tweet @thewhitonline.


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