Traveling calm requires checking the “safety triangle”, which includes shock absorbers, tires and brakes, in addition to checking other components of the vehicle
Today we will provide you with some basic guidelines regarding the check-up you should do to your car before going on a trip. Remember that for a thorough inspection and correction of your car components you can visit us. Here at JB Euro Service we will help you keep your car ready for anything.
What components of the vehicle must be checked before traveling?
To ensure optimal operation, experts advise replacing the brake fluid every two years or even earlier.
Before going on long distance trips, such as those that occur in summer, it is advisable to check or send the car to inspect to ensure its good behaviour during the journey. Thus, to travel with peace of mind, the so-called “safety triangle”, which includes shock absorbers, tires and brakes, must be checked with special attention, together with the other basic elements of the vehicle:
The shock absorbers
One of the most important components of the suspension of a vehicle are the shock absorbers. As you roll with the car, both the oil inside the shock absorber and the elements that regulate the flow of this oil are degraded. The lack of maintenance of the shock absorbers and suspensions causes a decrease in the stability of the vehicle, which can cause a serious accident. In this sense, there are certain indications that the elements of the suspension of a car require a revision. You can check this by supporting all the weight on the bonnet body and releasing it at once. If the car only goes up, the shock absorber is almost certainly in good condition. On the contrary, if it rises and bounces down, it is most likely that the shock absorber has very little useful life left. If the car oscillates up and down in gear, in any of the axles or in both, every time there is a bump, or makes strangers when taking a curve, it must be taken to the workshop because, probably, the shock absorbers are in the last. The shock absorbers are checked, normally, at 30,000 or 50,000 kilometres, and usually require a change after about 50,000 or 60,000 kilometres. Shock absorbers in poor condition, in addition to being able to cause accidents by causing instability in the car (especially when braking and in curves), can cause irregular tire wear. Therefore, before traveling you have to check the status of the suspensions.
These are the only points of contact of the vehicle with the road and are essential to achieve an elevated level of grip, braking ability, performance and safety. Before the start of a trip you should check the tire wear, and check their flanks and sides, in case they have a blow. Tires should be changed when the height of the pattern is 1.6 mm or below. In addition, taking into account the maintenance manual, it is advisable to check the pressure, when it is cold, and taking into account whether it is going to carry more load than usual. In this case, you have to inflate them more. As for the placement of the load, you should place the heaviest suitcases in the lower part of the luggage rack, balancing the weights for each wheel. Also, check that the jack and the key are taken, and the pressure of the spare wheel must be checked.
To ensure optimum performance, it is vital to check the brakes, as well as checking the brake fluid, inspecting the tank that contains it. The level must be between the minimum and the maximum of the marks consigned in the container. In addition, it is advisable to use the product recommended by a specialist mechanic, depending on the make and model of the vehicle, the use that is given and the usual area of circulation. In any case, experts advise replacing the brake fluid every two years or even earlier. If, during the check of the brakes, a deficiency is perceived, it is not recommended to refill the tank, but it is advisable to empty it completely in the workshop and purge the system, to avoid mixing and contamination.
It is advisable to keep in mind the oil change dates, writing them down in the vehicle maintenance book. The level check is made with the dipstick. If oil must be added, it must be done with the engine cold. The level should not be below the minimum, but if you have to add oil, you should never reach the maximum.
Although there are batteries that do not need maintenance, in many others you have to check the levels of the glasses and add distilled water, if the liquid does not cover the plates completely. The battery contact terminals must be clean, well screwed and protected with petrolatum or grease.
The timing belt
It is a fundamental element of the engine, which suffers great wear when the vehicle is in operation, and its break involves the destruction of other parts of the engine. In the absence of any symptom that allows anticipating the need to change the belt, it must be done in a preventive way. Therefore, it must be replaced when the mileage or the time frame specified by the manufacturer is met, whichever occurs first. Depending on the manufacturer, the model and the age of the vehicle, the frequency of change can be between 60,000 and 240,000 kilometres for the most recent vehicles, or between five and 10 years of age of the car.
In order to increase the visibility of the vehicle in front of other road users, since 2011, newere models come with “daytime running lights” which start automatically at the same time as the engine. More and more people are driving for the day with lights on, for safety reasons. Therefore, even if there is no forecast to travel at night, it is important to check the alignment of the lights of the headlights and correct it if necessary. You must monitor the correct functioning of all lights and you have to make sure that you take a spare set.
Here at JB Euro Service you will find top experts ready to assist and check your car components, ensuring they will endure throughout their entire lifespan.