Cars are complex mechanical marvels. However, they do eventually breakdown. The best way to prevent car breakdowns is preventative maintenance. You can do many of the steps of preventative maintenance at home. For those that can’t, these can be quick stops at your local oil change shop. These tips can help, especially if planning a road trip.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is much like it sounds. It’s regular servicing of equipment to prevent future failure. With cars, this means having a routine check-up to regularly. This ensures that all of the moving parts are in tip-top form.
Here are five of the most important maintenance projects that will keep your car on the road:
1. Maintain Regular Services
For some, especially those with older cars, these services are easy enough to do from home with the tools you have in your garage. But for those with newer cars, or those who are less mechanically inclined, you may want to hire a professional for these services:
2. Non-aggressive Driving
Sometimes, aggressive driving is necessary, but most of the time, it’s not. Developing healthy driving habits will extend the life of your car by reducing the heavy wear on the mechanical workings.
Some examples of how aggressive driving can damage your car’s engine, and promote car breakdowns are below:
3. Avoid Hauling Extra Weight
In winter weather, having excess weight in the back of your car can help with traction, but it’s unnecessary for the rest of the year to haul around sandbags, bricks, and random excess. When you haul extra weight, your car has to work harder to maintain its operation. Extra weight can also reduce your gas mileage, making your car less efficient than it could be.
4. Don’t Ignore the Warning Lights on Your Instrument Panel
Every one of those lights is there for a reason. When a light pops on in your dash, it’s a warning that something isn’t right. If you’re unfamiliar with what the light is telling you, take a look at the user manual for your car. Each light is outlined in it and there are also solutions mentioned for troubleshooting the problem.
You can also go to any local parts store and ask them to run a diagnostics scan on your car. They have tools to plug into your car’s system and read the warning light triggers. Jot down the codes you get and take them to a mechanic for repairs.
5. Learn to Listen to Your Car
Your car will always have road-noise, the pedals will always have a vibration, and the steering wheel will always have a certain feel as you drive. Pay close attention to these things, and be aware of any change in them as you drive.
Especially in older model cars, you’ll often hear or feel a change before a warning light will ping. For example, a brake pad that has worn unevenly will shimmy before it squeals in most cases. Low tire pressure in one or more tires may cause a drift in the steering that isn’t usually there. A leak in the oil may cause a burning smell as it drips on the hot engine block, or a bubbling sound may alert you to an overheating radiator before the temperature spikes.
Tow Truck Services RI
Your car will talk to you if you listen to it. Taking care of your vehicle, learning basic maintenance, and discovering your car’s quirks are the best defense against car breakdowns. When you can’t avoid a breakdown, we’re here to help. From running out of gas to lockouts, and side of the road breakdowns, give us a call for a tow and we’ll be on our way.
If you are getting ready to take a long road trip, the last thing you want to do is break down along the way. You may not be able to predict when a tire will blow out or a battery will suddenly not hold its charge, but there are certain steps you can take to make your trip a safer one.
Here are some of our favorite, can’t-miss car checks you will want to do before you head out on your long-distance drive.
Test all the lights and windows as well as your horn
This includes interior and exterior lights. Not being able to see (or be seen) in the dark can cause huge safety hazards, and not being able to see inside your car to view a map or find your coffee mug could be problematic on their own. You will also want to make sure your horn works in case you need to warn a nearby motorist not to merge into your vehicle, and ensure that all the windows work in case of an emergency.
Check all your fluid levels
If it has been a while since your last engine checkup, you will want to have your oil changed and other fluids — wiper fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, and more — checked to ensure they are good to go and your car is safe for your entire drive.
Check the age of your tires and brake pads
Tires and brake pads all wear down over time, making your car potentially unsafe on a long road trip. Make sure your car care professional inspects tires for wear and tear and ensures your brake pads won’t fail the moment you are miles from civilization causing you to need roadside assistance.
Set up or update your in-car safety kit
you should have a safety kit in the back or trunk of your vehicle at all times, but especially if you’re planning a longer-than-average drive. Your car safety kit should include:
Check that a friend or relative has your itinerary
Sure, this might seem like an unnecessary step in the age of cell phones and social media. You’ll be glad you took it if your car breaks down or you are in an accident, however, as someone will be aware that you did not make it to your intended destination and will look to send help.
Remember, road trips are supposed to be fun! Take in the open road, enjoy the view, and take these steps before you go to make sure you stay safe out there.
The end of summer has arrived, and that means students everywhere are headed back to classes. That also means teen drivers will be back on the roads driving themselves and their siblings to school, sports events, and extracurricular activities, among other destinations. Each of these routes have likely been taken many times before, and while that likely means your child knows exactly how to get where they are going, it can also lead to problems.
Having a car is a privilege that can be taken away should teenage drivers show they are incapable of being safe motorists. Here are some quick tips to share with your children to ensure they keep sharp eyes on the road and pay attention to their surroundings.
Safety is a Must
All of the normal rules apply, including that everyone in the car must have a seat belt on, music should be kept to a reasonable volume, and cell phones should absolutely not be used while driving. Each of these factors not only come with tickets and fines if they are not adhered to, but can also lead to injury or death should an accident occur.
Don’t Get Complacent
Traveling the same routes each day can mean drivers end up on autopilot, thinking about other things or listening to music or passengers’ chatter rather than fully focusing on the road in front of them. Be sure to remind your son or daughter to remain vigilant and aware of his or her surroundings, always on the lookout for other motorists, animals, people, or debris that might cross their path.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
You never know when your teen might have a car-related emergency, including a flat tire, engine trouble, or other issues. Pack an emergency kit together for trunk of their vehicle, including first aid items, bottled water, non perishable snacks, an atlas, road flares, warm clothes, a pair of old sneakers, blankets, jumper cables, and a spare tire with tire changing gear.
Bonus emergency preparedness tips: It’s also good to toss in an old cell phone that’s charged in case of emergencies, as out-of-service devices can still make emergency calls to 9-1-1. Go over how to change a tire, advise young drivers to never let their gas tanks get below one-quarter full, and make sure your teen knows how to read a map in case he or she is lost or stranded without good cell service. You can also store the number to your local towing company in case you need to call for a tow.
Be Careful Near School Zones and in Neighborhoods
Back to school means more students are out and about, and that includes young children who might be walking themselves to school. Be attentive in neighborhoods and near schools were young students might run out in front of traffic to cross streets.
Program Emergency Numbers Into Their Phones
Your teen likely knows to call 9-1-1 in the event of a true emergency, but what happens if their car runs out of gas, gets a flat, or otherwise breaks down? Having the number of a trusted towing partner stored in their phone is essential to getting them back on the road in no time.
It can be tempting to try a do-it-yourself approach when you experience vehicle issues. Smart motorists carry emergency kits filled with nonperishable food items, water bottles, basic tools, blankets, first aid gear, analog maps, a spare tire, jumper cables, pressure gauges, AA and AAA batteries, phone chargers, and more. Those items might make them feel like they’re ready to tackle anything when they hit a bump in their travels, but sometimes it’s better — and safer — to call a professional.
Here’s a quick guide to knowing when it might be time to reach out to your trusted towing services provider rather than fight through a problem on your own.
Assessing Your Situation and Needs
Safety is the most important thing to consider when deciding if it’s time to call a tow, and that applies to yours as well as that of your passengers. Ask yourself the following:
When to Call a Towing Services Professional
Several instances require a tow, so giving your preferred group a call as quickly as possible will have you out of trouble or back on the road in no time. Rather than trying to battle the problem on your own, work with a trusted provider if:
If you’re experiencing a problem you can’t remedy on your own, call your trusted towing services professionals near you to come and help you out. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting yourself and your passengers!
Being prepared is your best course of action in nearly any situation, and the vehicle you drive is no different. So many things can go wrong while driving, you need to prepare for the worse case scenario every time you head out.
The following five items are simply must-have in your emergency car kit, just in case.
Because you could become trapped anywhere along your travels, it's important to have some way to call for help that is not reliant on a battery being fully charged. Although your best device would be a cell phone, too many times, they fail the user by either not having a strong enough charge or not being able to obtain a signal. A flare should alert anyone in your general vicinity that there is trouble and help is needed.
2. A Quick Fix For Flat Tires
Fairly economical and reliable, cans of foam spray-sealant can give your tire the air it needs to transport you to the nearest gas station for help, or even home if you're lucky. Especially since changing a flat tire can be dangerous when done on the roadside, you need a fast and safe way to get the vehicle back on the road. The spray-sealant is also much easier to use if you're not strong enough to remove lug-nuts and transfer the spare.
3. A Furnished First-Aid Kit
Hopefully, this is one item in your emergency car kit you'll never need; however, breaking down usually means having to fix something, and that can mean getting cuts as you reach into the engine or under the vehicle. Additionally, if you're ever in an accident and waiting for an ambulance to arrive, a tourniquet could save someone's life.
4. Jumper Cables
Batteries aren't always the most reliable devices in cars, nor are the gauges that are supposed to indicate their health. If you're ever stuck somewhere with a battery that simply won't get your car going, you're going to need jumper cables. Also, if you happen to see someone else stuck and wish to help, you'll have the needed equipment. Cables are essential in cold weather climates, known to brutalize batteries at the worst possible times.
5. Clean Drinking Water
Under any circumstances, be they running out of gas, a flat tire or simply getting lost out in the middle of nowhere, you should always have a means of hydrating. Wash a few 2-liter soda bottles and fill them with tap water, or pop a six-pack of your favorite bottled water in the trunk.
Don't take chances, especially when your life and the lives of others are at stake. Be prepared in your vehicle with an emergency kit and keep these five items, along with things you deem crucial, on hand and you should be well prepared for most any scenario. And, if you get stuck and need emergency services, always call 911 for help. If you think you need towing services, call us for help.
When we're driving our cars, there's one thing we never want to happen, and that's for our cars to break down while we're on the road. Not only is it a major inconvenience, but we may also find ourselves in potential danger depending on why and where the break down occurs. Your safety should always be your number one concern when it comes to a car break down. Here are three top safety tips if your car breaks down:
1. Make Sure You're in a Safe Place
Let's say your car breaks down on a busy highway. You should never get out of your vehicle to examine the car or to make repairs. Instead, you should get your vehicle to a safe spot before you exit. If your vehicle is unable to move, it is imperative that you motion for other drivers to drive past you. Even a flat tire could pose a danger. Therefore, it's crucial for you to get to safety, even if you destroy the tire in the process.
2. Get On Your Cell And Call for Help
After you've made sure your car is in a safe place, get on your cell and call for help. It's useful to belong to a roadside assistance service for break down emergencies. If you are unable to get to a safe place, turn on your hazard lights and do what you can to direct traffic to drive past you and call for help at the same time. Call 911 to arrive quickly and help to remove your car out of traffic. If you've moved your vehicle out of traffic but you are in a dangerous location otherwise, remain in your car with the doors locked and call the police.
3. Have What You'll Need on Hand
To assist with protecting yourself and your car, be prepared. Carry things like flares, reflective triangles, and flags in your glove compartment. Your hazard lights are also an excellent way to warn other drivers and oncoming traffic.
Also, be sure to pack an emergency kit to keep in your trunk. The kit should include jumper cables, rope, a warm blanket, gloves, a first-aid kit, and a spare tire.
When your car breaks down, it can be a scary experience for everyone involved. However, if you follow these tips, it will help you take care of the situation.