Revved up for summer: how to keep your car in gear

Michael Watkins/Courier Automotive Tech major Fernando Ruiz works under the hood of an oldsmobile cutlass to get it back into running shape in the PCC auto lab on March 21, 2017.

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When taking a road trip it is more than just getting up and driving, especially if you want to arrive at your destination safe and sound. There are more procedures than just filling up your car with gasoline. Keeping up with the maintenance for your car is key, especially on road trips.

 

Many people assume that as long as they fill their gas tank up and change or add oil they’ll make it on a trip driving hundreds of miles. Paul Gandara, a student at PCC, is planning a 1,026 mile round trip adventure to the Grand Canyon located in Arizona.

“I know I need to check the engine,” Gandara said. “[I] also probably would need to change the oil and add air to my tires if needed.”

Paul got part of what he should do to get his vehicle ready for the road trip, but is still missing important maintenance procedures.

Instead of assuming or trying to look on Google for what you need to do, asking a mechanic themselves is always better.

Previous student at PCC and now the lab technician for the automotive department at PCC Rowena Chan had some great advice, and a lot of it.

“Check your tires, check all of your belts, and if they feel gummy replace them,” Chan said. “Check your cooling system, the radiator, and all of its hoses.”

Checking your cooling system is one of the biggest components to check so your car does not overheat and you can have A/C. Chan also advised you should be checking the brakes, oil and transmission fluid, and making sure there is a spare tire for the trip.

It may be hard to check all of these things yourself, especially if you don’t have any knowledge of cars whatsoever. Not to worry, there is always a plan B; you may have to pay but at least you and your car will be safe.

“Most mechanic shops have a 40-point inspection,” Chan said. “Have them check your car, most shops will do it for you.”

That is a helpful tip if you need help or have no time to do it yourself. Just make sure the repairs get done so your car will take you where you want to be.

Chan offered one last tip: if you’re a Triple A member, some mechanic shops that work with Triple A offer a discount on the inspection if you are a current member of their club.

The last thing you want is your car to break down halfway to your destination or have no way home and your trip will be ruined, not to mention you’ll be out of a car. There are many possibilities that can happen, so do not take the risk. Fix your car.

 

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