Tips for Safe Holiday Road Travel

(NewsUSA) – Preventive auto maintenance is the best way to assure hassle-free driving through the woods and to Grandma’s house this holiday season. Here’s advice from the pros at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence:

* Engine performance: Get engine driveability problems (such as hard starts, rough idling, stalling and diminished power) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters including air, fuel and PCV.

* Oil: Change your oil and oil filter as specified in the manual.

* Cooling system: The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked by a professional auto service technician.

* Windshield wipers: Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice buildup. Carry an ice-scraper.

* Heater and defroster: They must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.

* Battery: The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. As part of routine care, scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; and re-tighten all connections. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

* Lights: Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs. Periodically clean road grime from all lenses.

* Exhaust system: Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.

* Tires: Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life and uneven wearing and cupping. Check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Don’t forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign.

Visit for seasonal and year-round car care tips.

Related Articles