As the holidays just around the corner, you’re probably starting to think about travel plans. With COVID-19 concerns, car travel is much more popular this year. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of car care tips to make sure your holiday travel is as smooth as possible.

1. Check the battery

Look at the battery to ensure it’s securely connected and free of corrosion. Car batteries typically last 3 to 5 years, and it’s recommended to have them checked every year once they’re over 2 years old. You don’t want any issues with your car battery while you’re out on the road.

2. Listen to the brakes

If your brakes are making odd noises, you’ll want to get them inspected by a professional. Squealing brakes is often a sign that your brake pads need to be replaced. Brake pads provide the friction that’s needed to stop your vehicle. Eventually, they get too thin and wear out. Depending on their material, brake pads typically last anywhere from 25,000 to 70,000 miles. Replacing them will get rid of the squealing noise and ensure a safer road trip.

3. Inspect your tires before traveling this Thanksgiving

Everyone needs good gas mileage, especially on a road trip. That’s why air pressure is so important. If your tires are underinflated, you’ll waste gas. If they’re overinflated, it’ll affect your ride quality. The wrong air pressure can also shorten the lifespan of your tires. Check your tires before you leave, and again for every 1,000 miles you travel.

Since tires wear at different rates, they should be rotated periodically. Get them rotated at least every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Most tires last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 miles. If your tires’ lifespan is close to this, replace them before any long-distance travel.

4. Refill fluids and replace filters before driving on Thanksgiving

Before leaving, you’ll want to top off any low fluids. This includes power steering fluid, antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and windshield fluid. You also need to make sure you’re keeping up with your oil changes. If you’re not sure and you haven’t changed your oil in the last 3,000 miles, then you should definitely change it before your trip.

Your engine’s air filter and the cabin filter should be replaced annually, or every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. These filters affect fuel economy, engine performance, and air quality. Switch these out before hitting the road.

5. Check the electrical

Make sure all your vehicle’s lights are working. This includes headlights, taillights, and blinkers. If you’re driving a larger vehicle like a truck or motor home, confirm all electrical is in good shape.

6. Inspect the belts and hoses

Press down on the belts to check that they’re tight. If they hang slack, or if any teeth come loose when you press on the belt, then you have a problem. When you examine your hoses, look for any cracking or fraying. Additionally, keep your eyes open for any fluid leaks. If you see problems with any of these things, you’ll need to get your car serviced before your trip.

The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year. Ensuring your vehicle is prepared can make all the difference in preventing the unexpected. Do you have questions about prepping your car for holiday travel? Our experienced technicians at Blaine Auto Care & Transmission have answers. Give us a call today at (763) 755-7255, or schedule your appointment online​.