Don’t let car troubles ruin your travels

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Motorists should make certain their vehicle is up to the rigors of travel. Whether you do your own maintenance or depend on the pros, Regular service let’s you undo the wear and tear of summer and winters tough conditions while getting ready for travels ahead.
• First things first – Read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.
• Engine Performance – Get engine drive-ability problems -including hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power- corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters air, fuel, PCV, etc.
• Fuel – Put a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note, too, that a gas tank that’s kept filled helps prevent moisture from forming.
• Oil – Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often, every 3,000 miles or so, if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
• Cooling System – The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. For DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro at EXCEL AUTO SERVICE.
• Heater/Defroster – The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.
• Windshield Wipers – Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber clad (winter) blades to fight ice buildup. Stock up on windshield washer solvent you’ll be surprised how much you use.
• Battery – The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment which EXCEL AUTO SERVICE has on location. Routine care:  Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. A word of caution: The removal of cables can cause damage or loss of data/codes on some newer vehicles. Check your manual. Be sure to avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
• Lights – Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
• Exhaust System – Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
• Tires – Worn tires will be of little use in extreme weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month. Let the tires cool down before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.
• Emergencies – Carry gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, a flashlight, and a cell phone. Put a few high-energy snacks in your glove box.
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This column is shared monthly by Ged Gallego, owner of Excel Auto Service, to help educate readers on how to care for their vehicles. If you have any questions or concerns about your car, please email Ged Gallego at, visit at or call 702-221-7272.

Ged Gallego

This column is shared monthly by Ged Gallego, owner of Excel Auto Service, to help educate readers on how to care for their vehicles.

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