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Your Automotive Checklist For Safe Summer Driving

Gretchen's Automotive

Whether you’re boating or going on a road trip, here are some things to consider before heading onto the open road this summer.

Summer is the time to escape with loved ones and cruise the open road, or the open waters. Whether you’re boating or going on a long road trip this summer, it is a good idea to take your method of transportation to a certified technician for a checkup. Here are a few things to consider….

Plan Ahead

It is important to check the way your vehicle is operating before you go on that long road trip this summer. Plan ahead so something unexpected doesn’t ruin your plans.

“The number one thing people don’t do is check their tires and fluids,” said Todd Kelm, owner of Gretchen’s Automotive in Long Beach. Kelm has 30 years experience in the automotive repair industry and is an ASE certified Master Automobile Technician. He also is Gretchen’s dad.

“It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many cars come in for major, expensive repairs — all because you didn’t do the basic check. ‘I’ve been out of coolant for how long?’ they’ll say. The other popular one is people will come in on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and say, ‘We’re driving to Utah and the car is making noise, there’s this problem and that problem, and we need the car by 5 p.m. tonight.’”

Know What to Look for

It is recommended that you check engine oil once a month. Engine oil cools and lubricates the engine, keeping internal parts clean. Low oil can result in serious engine damage. The engine coolant, meanwhile, will keep your car from boiling over in the summer. Check your brake fluid, because you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the “deer in the headlights” situation when heading up to the mountains. Other important checks that are essential are transmission fluid, power steering fluid, air filters, belts, hoses, battery and of course, tires. Your tires must have proper inflation pressures, requisite tread depth and show no signs of physical damage. If you don’t know how to check these parts, it is important to enlist the help of a certified technician.

Conduct an Annual Boat Survey Before Heading Out to the Water

Boating season is coming up, so get your boats and trailers serviced at Gretchen’s; they handle that too. It’s one thing to say, “We’re stuck on the side of the road.” It is quite another to say, “We’re drifting into the rocks, we’re out in the middle of nowhere,” while out on the water with a shark fin in sight. Make sure your boat is ready to go. Conduct a standard annual boat service check. Depending on the boat, service checks vary but in general, it is important to regularly check and change the oil, the fuel filter, look over the belts, hoses, the bilge pump, the bilge blower, the trailer tires, and trailer bearings.


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