Thanksgiving 2015 has recently passed but the season of being thankful never really ends.
Over this holiday – I thought about all of the things that I am thankful for and if you’re like me, perhaps the biggest one on your list is in the safety of family and friends. Before passing the gravy or scooping the stuffing, approximately 47 Million Americans will take to the roads and drive over 50 miles to or from home this year for holiday travel, according to estimates from AAA*.
In fact, highway travel this season will see a seventh consecutive year for commuter growth. With this information, it’s no secret that it’s vitally important to ensure our vehicle is up-to-date on all servicing needs and recommended maintenance intervals.
Here are some key areas that are especially important to keeping safe while travelling:
- Brakes: Whether you are in stop-and-go traffic, are rapidly decelerating due to wildlife in the road or not used to ice patches on the roads, you need to have good brakes to slow and stop the vehicle at a moment’s notice. That’s why having your brakes inspected before your trip is high on the list when it comes to ensuring your safety. Brake pads and shoes are designed to provide the same stopping power throughout their life cycle, but when they are worn out, they just don’t get the job done. NAPA AutoCare techs also look at the condition of your rotors, drums, and other mechanical brake components. We check the hydraulics, making sure the fluid, brake lines, and associated components are within specifications. We also ensure that electronic brake components like the sensors and ABS controller are in good working order.
- Tires: Think about it – everything boils down to that little contact patch where your tire meets the road. Starting, stopping, and turning are all based on traction. We inspect your tires to see that they have adequate tread depth and to look for signs of uneven wear, which indicate other problems.
- Shock and Struts: Most people think of shocks and struts as a ride comfort item rather than a safety system. But remember what we said about that tire contact patch? Well it’s the job of your shocks and struts to keep pushing your tires down to the road over bumps and dips to maintain traction between your tires and the road. Shocks and struts also control body motion. Imagine having to swerve in an emergency: Good shocks and struts keep your vehicle’s body from rolling around too much, being tossed back and forth. That heavy vehicle body wants to pull everything else (like the tires and you) along with it. Worn shocks keep body movement in check.
- And more: There are a whole bunch of other things that affect your safety like your steering, wiper blades, various light bulbs, etc.
Although the holidays do see an increased frequency of travelers on the road – being prepared is the best way to ensure safety, year-round.
If you have any safety concerns about your vehicle, don’t hesitate to contact your local NAPA Service Advisor today. They’ll be sure to get you back on the road safely so that you can get back to sharing the season with those you are thankful for the most!