As the world awakens from a pandemic slumber, road trip season is here once again. With restrictions slowly being eased, hitting the road is more comfortable for my family than taking to the skies, so this summer we have some big ‘close to home’ road trips planned.
The first one will take Zacharie and I up to northern Alberta to trace our family’s French Canadian roots to the farming regions of the Peace Country, the other will be a visit to the wineries and lakes of the Okanagan before spending time with family on the coast. Those two trips alone will tally up nearly 5000km on the road.
Before heading out on big summer road trips like this, a handful of simple preventative maintenance steps will help improve the performance, lifespan and safety of your vehicle’s most important parts.
To help drivers keep their tires and vehicle performing at their best, Kal Tire is sharing some maintenance steps and ‘How to’ resources!
1. CHECK TIRE TREAD DEPTH
When you changeover your tires after the winter, checking their condition is important. You want to make sure the tires coming on are in good condition after storage. Something simple to do with just a quarter, is checking your tire depth. You want your tires to have at least xxx of tread to make it through the heat and storms of summer.
Here’s a quick lesson on how to check your tread depth!
Insert a quarter into a tire tread groove with the caribou nose down and facing you. If the tire tread covers the tip of the nose, it’s probably adequate. If you can see the tip of the nose, it’s time to bring your vehicle in.
Tires at or above the recommended tread depth level (6/32″) can give you better traction, reduced risk of punctures and the ability to dispel moisture so you won’t hydroplane on wet road.
2. CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE
Checking your tire pressure is an important step that leads to longer tire life and safety, and it only takes a few minutes – I keep a tire gauge in my glove box so I can check pressure before any big trip out of down.
Find the proper tire pressure for your vehicle, usually on the inside of the driver’s door, or in the Owner’s Manual. You should always check your tire pressure when they’re cold, so do it BEFORE you head out. Once you’ve got the reading done, top them up as needed (air is always free at any Kal Tire store!)
Here’s a video showing you how it’s done!
3. SIGNS YOU NEED NEW BRAKES
Brake problems are the vehicle nightmare many drivers hope they’ll never have to face. Because your brakes play such an integral role in safety and how your vehicle handles, when your brakes begin to fail, you’ll notice. One way or another, they’ll act differently.
If they’re squealing or making a noise, if you have to brake harder or longer for lights, if there’s vibration as you apply the brakes, or if your car is pulling to side when you brake, you should bring your vehicle in to any Kal Tire store for an inspection.
Before any of these things happen, getting your brakes serviced (say before a long summer road trip) is a preventative maintenance step that can go a long way in ensuring your brakes are working properly, especially in emergency situations.
4. MAKE YOUR BATTERY LAST LONGER
Most car batteries have an expected lifespan of about three to five years, so even if you feel like your vehicle is new and excellent condition, your battery might be nearing the end. In Canada we experience a wide extreme of cold and heat which has a significant negative effect on your vehicle’s battery life expectancy.
Batteries work by performing chemical reactions, and temperature greatly affects performance. Heat can accelerate chemical activity and internal cell corrosion decreasing the lifespan of your battery.
Batteries work harder in the summer as we blast the summer road trip tunes and the AC. So more is demanded while efficiency is being degraded. Parking in the shade not only can cool your cabin while you’re off exploring, it can also cool your battery.
If your vehicle is sluggish to start, or you’re having other electrical issues, it’s a good idea to get your battery tested at Kal Tire. In some cases, it might not be the battery that’s at fault. A trained automotive technician will help isolate the problem.
5. WHEN TO REPLACE WIPER BLADES
When a sudden squall hits your road trip, you want your wiper blades to be working smoothly. Over a rough, frozen winter, many blades get chipped up and worn down sweeping over ice.
As you get ready for summer road trip season, remember the 5 S’s of wiper blades:
Streaking is when there isn’t full contact with the windshield and horizontal lines appear on your window.
Splitting is when chunks of rubber are missing from your blades.
Skipping happens when the blade bumps along your window creating vertical lines.
Scraping can happen when big chunks are missing and the frame scrapes on your glass.
Squeaking shouldn’t happen with wiper blades that have smooth contact with the window. If you hear squeaks, you need new ones.
As soon as you see any kind of change in your visibility, it means your wiper blades aren’t contacting the windshield surface properly, and you need to have your wiper blades replaced.
So many of your driving decisions are based on what you can see. For about $20 and a few minutes of your time, you can help prevent a collision with effective wiper blades.
PREPARE YOUR VEHICLE BEFORE THE ROAD TRIP
“Now that drivers are likely going to be heading out on road trips again, we want to help ensure their vehicles are safe and highway ready,” says Mike Butcher, regional director for urban retail stores, Kal Tire. “When vehicles go long periods of not being driven or missing some of those seasonal inspection points especially after winter—there’s a risk that critical components haven’t had the attention they need.”
Proper tire tread depth will give you the best handling when you’re on the road. Making sure your tires are properly inflated will improve gas mileage and decrease the chance of a blowout in the middle of nowhere. Serviced brakes and batteries will keep you on the road longer, and new wiper blades will keep you headed in the right direction!
Getting these things done at your neighbourhood Kal Tire BEFORE you hit the road will give you peace of mind knowing you can escape for the summer with safety.
This post is sponsored by Kal Tire