The holidays are a big time to visit Florida. After the heat wave this year and the sudden, grueling winter, our streets are guaranteed to be flooded with tourists and snowbirds alike. If you’re like most Floridians, you’re getting ready to get out of the heat and take your reverse vacation into the cold. When you avoid the clogged airports and get behind the wheel for a relaxing road trip, car maintenance is a top concern for you . What precautions can you take to make your trip go as smoothly as possible?
Car maintenance, making sure your car is legally registered and insured, and tire health are your most important ways to prepare for a drive over the holiday season. Read more below!
Keep Your Engine Running Cleanly
Your vehicle is a big, one to two ton machine runs on careful mixtures of air, fire, and fuel. Give it some love. When is the last time you replaced your fluids? Always make sure to do this before a fun road trip.
The oil change is so important, especially since the hot Florida climate can gum up oil quickly..Driving on bad oil can seriously damage your engine over the long run. Make sure your mechanic replaces the oil filter and puts in the right oil for your car. You can check the manufacturer’s guide for the oil requirements for your specific vehicle if you do not feel like performing the job yourself.
Coolant, per the name, keeps your engine at the right temperature and prevents it from overheating. Overheating can kill an engine, so it’s a big deal to keep it full: If your coolant reservoir is low or empty, you can probably hear hollow whirring sound when the engine starts, Most cars have a bobber or level on the side that will show you how high to fill the tank, but it’s very important that you do not fill it beyond the maximum recommended height!
Power steering fluids are easy to top off, and often forgotten by car owners. These chemicals affect how your car handles. A pump pressurizes the fluid and helps you turn the wheels via the steering. They support the entire steering system, so be sure to check the levels of the fluid and top it off if you are running low.
Low windshield washer fluid may not hurt any of the integral components of your car, but it is essential for your visibility and experience as a driver. Floridians know that the car windshield can become completely distorted by all the tropical bugs, bird messes, etc. The unpredictable heavy rains will create a cocktail of viscera and turn your view of the road into that of a melted VHS tape. If you splurge a little on high quality or OEM washing fluid, you can battle the blinding mess on your windshield. If you don’t you could add extra strain to your washer motor and get clogs in your system, leading to an expensive fix down the road.
Tires are one of the most important tools to keep your car safe. Here are some big points to pay attention to so that you don’t end up stuck in a rest stop somewhere between Palm Beach and Amelia Island.
Air pressure in your tires affects your handling and your gas mileage. If your tires are pressurized unevenly, or if the pressure is too low, you can run into issues driving. All you need is a little tire pressure gauge to check that there is enough air in the tires. Then you can take it to a pump or use a portable air pressure pump to get them to the right levels. Most contemporary cars have a built in tire pressure sensor, but those sensors can fail. Nothing is as reliable as an analog test when used properly.
Check Your Tread
Don’t drive with bald tires. Stick a penny into the tread groove and face Lincoln’s head downward. If you can see any space over the top of his head, the tires need to be replaced. This is about 1/16” of tread left. If you see bubbles or raw kevlar in the tread or walls of the tires, get that tire replaced immediately.
Always Keep Your Florida Car Legal
You know what you need: updated registration, car insurance, and a valid driver’s license. Police and State Troopers will be out in force, so if your registration is expired, a simple ticket could become a bigger fine or even a free night in jail in the Florida boonies.
Contact Auto Tags of Florida to get your registration updated quickly. The DMV will be packed over the holidays, and we offer same-day service so you don’t have to turn your fun road trip into an anxiety filled one.