At last! You and your family are having a road trip vacation, from the noise and pollution of the city to the peace and quiet of the countryside. But along the way something happened...you had a flat tire! And when you opened the boot of the car and find the spare tire, the tire does not have the proper tire pressure due to the long safekeeping. You did not bother to check it before you left...whose fault was it? Have you ever tried to give your car a safety inspection?
Check your car regularly to prevent minor problems from getting worse. Like we used to say, "Prevention is better than cure..."
This is how to prevent such hassles. Just remember the word B-L-O-W-B-A-G (Brakes, Lights, Oil, Water, Battery, Air, Gasoline).
CHECK the following:
- B - for BRAKES.
- Check the brake fluid to make sure it's still close to the "max" level.
- Go to the car mechanic so they can check if your car's brake pads are still good.
- Check your gas pedal -- it should be not too hard and not to springy.
- L - for LIGHTS.
- Check that all of the lights come on when they are supposed to.
- Check your headlights (dim and bright).
- Check your brake lights and the signal lights.
- O - for OIL.
- Park the car on a level surface.
- Turn off the engine.
- Check the oil when the engine is warm using the car's dipstick. Because oil expands when it's hot and contracts when it's cold, different temperatures will give you different readings.
- Pull the dipstick all the way out and wipe it on a rag. Then push it all the way in.
- Make sure that the oil is close to the "full" mark.
- Check to make sure there isn't an oil leak.
- W - for WATER.
- Make sure that the engine has cooled down before you open the radiator cap.
- Check the water of the radiator; make sure it's still full to avoid overheating.
- You can refill your radiator with clean water together with a coolant.
- Check for a water leak.
- Check the windscreen washer bottle, making sure there's still enough water (clean water and windscreen washing liquid).
- B - for BATTERY.
- The battery produces gas that likely to explode and has fluid that can destroy metal gradually by chemical reaction. So it is important that you are very careful when checking and handling the battery to prevent damage and injury.
- Check the battery terminals and make sure they are clean and does not have any corrosions BUT do not touch the positive (+) terminal with your bare hands because it can electrify you, use a clothe or a mechanic gloves.
- Most batteries these days are sealed or maintenance free but if your battery has removable caps, you can check the level of the electrolyte liquid inside the cells. The liquid should at least be reaching the metal plates/cells. If the liquid level is low, refill it with distilled water.
- A - for AIR.
- Check your tire air pressure using a tire gauge when your tires are cold.
- If you are unsure of the correct pressure for your tires, you may be able to find a tire chart inside the driver's door, glove box or owner's manual under car specification.
- Check your spare tire's air pressure.
- Check your tires carefully and make sure there is no visible damage such as a bulge or a hole.
- Check that the tire treads are not worn out.
- G - for GASOLINE.
- Of course check your gas gauge to ensure there is enough gas for the long road trip.
- Go to your favorite gas station and refill.
Always check the B-L-O-W-B-A-G of your car. Drive safely, and happy trip!