The holiday season is a busy time for drivers. While you may be tempted to save time by putting off your car care, you will likely end up paying for preventable vehicle damage. This fact is especially true for those who travel during the holiday season. Our local mechanics are here with five tips on preparing your car for holiday travels.
1: Check Your Registration
You will likely see traffic officers keeping the roads safe during your holiday adventures. These officials often work to curb DUI offenses and speeding hazards; however, they will also pull over any drivers with expired tags. Before risking a ticket on the road, ensure your registration is up-to-date. The easiest way to check your registration status is to look at the sticker on your license plate. Your tags expire on the last day of the month listed.
If your license plate is expired, ensure you have your inspection completed and your registration updated before your trip. Even if your new sticker does not come in the mail, you should be safe from a ticket if you pay your registration fee before hitting the road. You can read more in our guide on when you should get your car’s state inspection.
2: Oil Check and Change
Your engine oil is vital in keeping your engine safe. This vehicle component lubricates your engine—keeping all of the moving parts working together seamlessly. Your oil also has cooling properties that help your radiator keep your engine from overheating.
Over time, your engine oil can become contaminated and depleted, which leaves your engine at risk. It takes just moments to check your engine oil—and this small act can save your vehicle from costly damage.
3: Tire Pressure Check and Refill
The air inside your tires will compress as the temperature cools down, leading to low tire pressure. Unfortunately, low tire pressure will cause your fuel economy to tank, which is less than ideal for a holiday road trip. Additionally, low tire air can damage your tires and pose safety issues for your vehicle. Thankfully, it is easy to DIY check and refill your tires—or have a local professional do it for free.
4: Tire Health and Service
Healthy tires are essential to keeping your vehicle safe and moving forward on the road. Your tires need to be ready for anything during a holiday road trip. You might find yourself traveling during inclement weather or passing through a city that is prone to snow. Take a second to do some quick tire checks:
- Tread Wear: Your tire tread is designed to grip the road to maintain traction and safe handling. Without adequate tread, your vehicle will be unsafe on the road—especially during inclement weather. Take a moment to make sure your tires have at least 2/32 of an inch of tread depth.
- Tire rotation: When was your last tire rotation? This service keeps your tires wearing evenly. Most vehicles need two tire rotations a year. If it has been a while since your last rotation, it is best to complete this service before any extensive holiday travel.
- Alignment: Wheel alignment is essential to keeping your tires protected. Thankfully, you can get your alignment checked for free at many local mechanic shops—including Chapel Hill Tire.
- Patching: If you notice a nail in your tire or your tire is having difficulty maintaining its tire pressure, you may need a tire patching service.
5: Consider Catalytic Converter Protection
Catalytic converters have been stolen from cars for years and sold for the precious metals they contain. Unfortunately, travelers are particularly easy targets for catalytic converter theft. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to stay safe:
- Safe Parking: When possible, park under street lights and near security cameras.
- Security Features: If your car has any built-in security features, be sure to turn them on whenever you are away from your vehicle.
- Safety in Numbers: Try to park in areas with high foot traffic.
- Catalytic Converter Shields: A catalytic converter shield can make cutting through this vehicle element challenging, which is the best way to deter theft.
You can read more in our guide to everything you need to know about catalytic converter theft.
Vehicle Trip Check Inspections from Chapel Hill Tire
The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire know how important it is to keep your family safe during holiday travels. The Trip Check is an affordable inspection we offer for this reason. Our vehicle professionals will check your car to ensure it is safe and ready for long-distance travel. If any issues arise during this inspection, our mechanics have what it takes to get your car ready to go—without delaying your travel plans.
We offer all the services your car might require—from an oil change to a catalytic converter shield installation. Our experts even install trailer hitches so you can take all your extra cargo along this holiday. You can make an online appointment, browse our coupons, or call one of our 10 Triangle-area mechanic locations to get started today!