The kids are almost out of school (officially, let’s not touch on the ins and outs of school all year), the weather warming up, and the potential of a summer of eased Covid-19 restrictions ahead, many families including my own are planning road trips for Summer 2021, to make up for a lack of, well, anything in the past year or more. We’re also one of those families that got a “Covid pet” – a pet adopted into our family that we weren’t entirely planning on but the time spent at home by the family allowed us to make it happen. Now I have 2 dogs and thanks to not traveling anywhere far for a year, they’re both not fans of car-rides at all. So, ahead of our road trips this summer, I’ve got to work on getting them both adjusted to traveling in the car again which means frequent car rides for the dogs around the city, and outside the city so we can practice potty-breaks on the side of the road (for them, not me!)
Beyond getting the dogs ready to travel again, we have to of course ensure that our vehicles are maintained and ready to go as well. This goes beyond, of course, removing those winter tires and giving the car a good deep cleaning to remove a winter mud, dirt, and who-knows-what-else the dogs and kids bring in (side note, how many masks have you found under your seats?)
To help ensure drivers enjoy safe travels this spring, Kal Tire is sharing simple but important maintenance tips not be missed. “Now that drivers are likely going to be heading out on road trips again, we want to help ensure their vehicles are safe and highway ready,” says Mike Butcher, regional director for urban retail stores, Kal Tire. “When vehicles go long periods of not being driven or missing some of those seasonal inspection points—especially after winter—there’s a risk that critical components haven’t had the attention they need.”
A handful of simple preventative maintenance steps help improve the performance, lifespan and safety of a vehicle’s most important parts. To help drivers keep their tires and vehicle performing at their best, Kal Tire is sharing some spring maintenance steps and ‘How to’ resources on their website.
Tire Wear and Tire Pressure
At spring changeover, winter tires coming off or all-weather tires staying on, should be inspected for tread depth, inflation, cracking, sidewall bruising and unusual wear, which can be an indication of suspension problems caused by potholes (if you live in Saskatchewan, you know how irritating potholes can be year-round!) Check out this resource on How To Check Tire Pressure – A 5 Step Guide.
A maintenance inspection can help uncover worn brake components so they can be replaced before costly damage occurs. Some signs for worn brakes include a soft brake pedal, vibrations, a squealing metal-on-metal sound, feeling a pull to the left or right, or hydraulic failure. Kal Tire has a resource on their site 6 Signs You May Need New Brakes that’s worth taking a look at. Better to know well ahead of time on maintenance issues like this one!
Alignment problems caused by potholes can lead to unpleasant and potentially unsafe complications
such as vibrations, poor steering and premature or irregular tread wear. If you notice that your vehicle is ‘pulling’ to one side while driving, it’s usually an indication that your vehicle is misaligned. This can increase the cost of operating your vehicle because you will have to replace your tires more frequently and can also affect safety. Do you need a wheel alignment? Check out the link for more info!
Yes, more issues from potholes! When a vehicle drives over a pothole, the initial force on the tire is transferred to the components of the suspension system (springs, shock absorbers, linkages, etc.). Repeated jolts caused by potholes accelerate wear and tear of your suspension, while decreasing its performance. Here’s a good resource from Kal Tire on how potholes can damage your vehicle – maybe you can bookmark it and pass along to a local city counselor!
Who knew this would be a thing, but in 2021 it’s true! For a vehicle battery to retain a sufficient charge, it needs to operate regularly. If a vehicle sits unused for extended periods, it may not be able to retain a sufficient charge to dependably power vehicle systems. It’s a good idea to get a vehicle’s battery tested if it seems sluggish when starting, or if other electrical issues are evident. A new battery is one more expense we can all do without before traveling this summer – check out these 6 tips to help your car battery last longer!
Even seemingly small things like wiper blades can cause big issues if you haven’t checked them to ensure they’re working properly, so do check those out as well (my son had one fly off his car in the last downpour!) Other things to ensure you’ve got ahead of summer road trips – a roadside emergency kit, a case of water, extra phone cords and an extra phone battery are all good ideas to add to a kit in the truck. Sunscreen and big repellent are also good to have on hand because it seems like those are the things you need the most when you absolutely don’t have them.
Wherever you go this summer, I know that you – along with me – won’t take a moment for granted. I suppose that’s one of the few silver linings we’re learning to find after this past year. Be safe and create an amazing Summer 2021 friends!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Kal Tire. All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.