spring-car-care-for-road trips

Spring Break is right around the corner and most people in Hastings already have their trip planned down to the very last detail,including their housing accommodations, car rental and the route they’re taking.  With airline fees up 91% more this week of travel over other weeks of the year, a lot of those plans are to drive to that sunny destination over taking a flight.  While driving can certainly save you a wad of money, it’s important to know that your vehicle can handle a long road trip without breaking down before heading out on the open road.  Unexpected repairs can cost you not only money, but they can also steal precious vacation time sitting in a repair shop instead of on a sunny beach.  Save yourself unnecessary worry and frustration this vacation by making sure your car is ready to go by following these 5 steps to getting your vehicle ready for Spring Break.


Tires are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road beneath you so it only makes sense to make sure they’re functioning at their very best before logging the miles of a long trip on them.  One of the easiest things you can do is check your tire’s air pressure to make sure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications.  Doing so can improve gas mileage and prevent tire failure while you’re driving.  In addition to tire pressure, you’ll want to inspect the overall condition of all four tires for uneven wear and tread depth.  Worn tires can negatively impact your braking distance and will certainly affect your tires ability to maintain traction on the roadway.  Before heading out on your trip, make sure your tread depth is not below 4/32.  An easy way to make sure you have the recommended amount of tread is with the quarter test.  Flip a quarter upside down with Washington’s head facing you.  If his head is partially covered by the tire, your tires still have adequate tread.  If not, it’s time to replace them.


Fluids are the life blood of your engine and if you’re missing any, your vehicle is straining to perform.  Start by having your oil changed before your trip to ensure the oil is clean and full, as well as a new air filter to gain your best gas mileage.  Next, check yourself or have your trusted mechanic check your Coolant, Brake Fluid, and Steering fluids to make sure none of them are low.  If they are low, it’s important to replace them but it could also be telling of a bigger problem you should resolve.  Also, while your hood is up, double check that your Washer Fluid reserve is full to keep your windshield clear despite the road conditions you face on your trip, including bugs!  BONUS TIP: Top off your gas tank the night before you begin your journey to avoid having to stop early on in your journey.


Brakes are something we tend to take for granted, that is until they don’t work as well as we’d hoped they would.  Brakes are one of the most critical safety features on your vehicle, and their ability to stop your car in a timely manner can be the single difference between a being involved in a collision and avoiding one.  People may wait until their brakes are making noise before they have a mechanic take a look at them but that can be a costly mistake.  Having your brakes inspected before a trip to see how much life is still left in your brake pads can prevent damage to your rotors and to avoid brake failure down the road.


If you’ve ever been caught in a torrential downpour, you understand the importance of good wiper blades on your vehicle.  To make sure the harsh winter weather hasn’t taken its toll on your windshield wipers before you encounter inclement weather, start by looking for tears, rips or cracks on the rubber.  Testing your wiper blades with washer fluid to see if there’s any streaking or pulling away from the windshield is also recommended.  Replace the windshield wiper blades if you notice any of these things to insure your windshield stays clear from any kind of precipitation or debris.  You’ll also want to make sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly.  Not only will they help with visibility while you’re driving but replacing a non-functioning light can help you avoid getting pulled over, and possibly an out of state ticket, on the highway.


On average, a battery can last 3 to 5 years but harsh Grand Rapids winters or driving short trips that make it difficult for your battery to fully charge can shorten that life.  There can be warning signs that your battery is running low before complete failure but not always.  A check engine light or slow turnover when starting your vehicle, can signify that your battery needs replacing but often times, there is no indication before you find it’s completely dead and you’re stranded somewhere.  Take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic or shop to have your battery tested ahead of time before venturing out on your next long trip for peace of mind.


Sometimes the best thing to do if you feel unsure of your vehicle’s road ready status is to rent a vehicle for the trip.  Next time you’re taking a trip, spare your vehicle the added miles, not to mention the added wear and tear on your vehicle and book a car rental from Broadmoor Motors Hastings.  We’re locally owned and family operated, with two locations to serve you better in Grand Rapids and Hastings.  We offer a variety of quality rental cars, from Economy Size to Full Size cars, Minivans, SUV and Luxury vehicles for short and long term rental, with the option of direct billing while your car is being repaired at a body shop.  Give us a call at 269.320.6304 in the Barry County area to book your next Car Rental  Or visit our website to see our Entire Inventory of quality, used cars for sale by clicking HERE.