Spring Break and Your Car Maintenence

Your trusted neighborhood body shop hopes that every local student enjoys a fun, relaxed spring break. Though we’re like any other auto repair facility in the sense that we feed our families fixing cars up when something goes wrong, we’d rather every student in the Phoenix area return from vacation safely without a scratch.

Few know auto safety quite like a body shop technician. Take our advice and thoroughly run down this checklist before hitting the road to your fun-in-the-sun destination.

Good news: almost any car owner can double-check many items seen here, without a mechanic’s guidance or a visit to a body shop such as ours.

·         CHECK ALL FLUIDS: Any car-care professional, from a shade-tree mechanic to a virtuoso in pulling out dings at a body shop, could tell you the ways a car resembles a living thing. If the outside is like a skin, then be mindful too of the precious fluids that need to course through its parts. Top off oil, transmission fluid, coolant and windshield-wiper fluid as need, while noting any leaks you might find. If something leaks, contact us for a more expert once-over.

·         LIGHTS: Check every light and signal before departing. Safety concerns aside, this also makes sure that you won’t be unexpectedly pulled over because you missed a dud bulb. If your turn signal, headlights or brake lights don’t function as they should, remedying the trouble could be as simple as dropping by a mechanic, body shop or auto parts retailer to get the correct bulb, and maybe even a little installation assistance. If neither your old bulb nor your new one lights up, seek out your local shop. It might be something a bit more complex that a trained mechanic or body shop technician can diagnose and remedy more quickly than a DIY fix.

·         TIRE INFLATION/TREAD: In the unlikely event your car’s owner’s manual doesn’t indicate your vehicle’s ideal tire PSI, the tires themselves should indicate somewhere right on the rubber how much pressure it needs. As with the previous items, you don’t need a body shop to tell you when you’ve exhausted your tread, either. The penny test will do fine: the tread should cover at least part of Honest Abe’s head. If it doesn’t, then talk with your body shop about some replacements before you embark. This isn’t just a safety issue, either; Properly inflated tires with plenty tread remaining can keep your gas mileage more efficient over time.

·         PLAN FOR THE WORST: How does the old saying go? “Life is what happens when you’re making plans.” As said before, as thoroughly as anybody could plan, there’s still that possibility Murphy’s Law will sentence you to an unexpected body shop or service center stay for your vehicle’s emergency care. Have a plan. Keep AAA and other roadside-assistance contact numbers where you’ll find them easily in a pinch. Know exactly what emergency-assistance services your insurance policy provides, too. In particular, ascertain whether your insurance policy provides free or reimbursed towing. Along the way, have a good idea not just where you can find your nearest mechanic at Airpark Collision Center but parts retailers such as O’Reilly Auto Parts or a NAPA Auto Care Center.

Drive safely out there. Remember, a body shop may stay afloat because every vehicle needs a little occasional TLC, but we’ll take a slow business day if it means you always reach your destination safely.

Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.

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