The world is opening up; geek creators are booking their tables, fans are ordering their tickets, and the whole lot of them are hitting the road for comic cons both near and far. Local fans often commute back and forth to save on hotel and food costs. Even the long-distance travelers need to make sure that everything is packed for the road trip. But, as vendors pack their long-boxes, table skirts, and promo material; cosplayers make sure their costumes, repair kits, and makeup is bundled, and fans stuff their overnight bags with snacks and changes of clothes, spring car care should be at the top of the priority checklist.
3 Car Maintenance Tips to Arrive at the Cons Safely
Replace Wiper Blades
When it comes to prepping for a season on the road, one of the first things you need to do is check the condition of, and possibly replace, your windshield wiper blades. This is a quick automotive task that most people can do without assistance. It is highly recommended to replace the wiper blades once a year but, dependent upon extreme climate, especially in very hot or very cold climates, checking the condition more often is a good idea.
- How effective are your windshield wipers when you need them?
- Do they leave a smear or grime when you use them?
- Do they screech, clatter, or jump across the windshield?
- Are they hard, dry, cracked, or broken?
A quick visual inspection of your wiper blades is imperative to driving safely to your convention destination, especially when there is inclement weather. If you want to get to the comic con safely then remember that old, worn out, damaged wiper blades is a safety hazard to yourself and to others.
Check Your Tires
The car is packed and it’s time for the rubber to meet the road… But wait! Exactly what’s the condition of those tires? Do your tires have good treads on them, or are they bald? If you are seeing the radials (wire mesh) on your tires, definitely get them replaced because it risks a blowout.
Once again, extreme weather can play a part in the condition of your tires. Icy conditions, below-freezing temperatures, and road treatment can put wear and tear on your tires, affecting its performance. Hot weather can also have an adverse affect on tires because extremely hot tires have a higher risk of failure. Combining heat and friction, driving, braking, and maneuvering, your tires can heat up and blow out as conditions force them out of their designed range.
Not only that, but incorrect tire pressure can throw your car off balance, cause unnecessary and lopsided wear and tear on the tire, and decrease your car’s fuel efficiency.
Curious to learn more about maintaining your tires? Visit the geeks who know everything you need to know about tires!
Inspect Belts and Hoses
Just like your tires, changing temperature and normal use is hard on rubber components like hoses and serpentine and drive belts. The last thing you want happening is an overheated engine as you commute to your book signing or event.
The main one you want to inspect is attached to the radiator. That’s the part of the car that holds the coolant. When the hose is dry and cracked, it leaks fluid. You know what that means? No fluid + no cooling mechanism = overheated engine. That’s bad.
Checking your hoses is really easy. For the most part, a visual inspection will do because you will notice discoloration and cracks, but you might have to get your hands dirty too. Squeeze the rubber components like the hoses and lightly pull or twist the belts. They should be firm but pliant. Oil or dirt residue might be normal because of the engine but if you’re feeling granules and chunks of rubber then it’s time to take a closer look.
This one simple step can save your car and your wallet from unnecessary damage. One other thing to keep an eye out for is fluid leakage. Indications of that will be found on your driveway after you’ve parked the car. If you see new stains, it’s time to give the car an quick inspection. It might be something you can DIY. If you’re not confident in doing that, take it to the local car shop or call services like Repair Smith.
Bonus Tip: Clean Your Car!
When it comes time to pack your car with inventory, luggage, and display racks, it’s a lot easier when you’re not wrestling with yesterday (or last year’s) garbage. It’s very difficult to maintain that new car smell but you don’t need to be driving around with con crud on wheels.
Take some time to treat the dashboard, dust and vacuum, get rid of the fries and empty soda bottles that fell under your seat. Simply cleaning the car and throwing in an air freshener prevents nasty odors and makes for a much more pleasant trip.