As the holiday season is upon us many people take long road trips to meet with friends and family in other states. Experiencing a breakdown can ruin your holiday plans and cost you thousands of dollars in towing fees and having some random mechanic shop patch the issue to get you on your way. Here are a few things to check on your German automobile before taking your car on a long road trip.
Check Your Fluids
There are multiple fluids that allow your car to run properly. They lubricate, clean, and allow the transfer of force throughout your car. They are all essential except for windshield washer fluid, maybe? Check all your fluids and make sure they are full and at proper level. If the level is a little below then top them off. If they are really low then have your car checked out because you are probably leaking that fluid somewhere.
With the engine off locate your oil dip stick and check the oil level, there should be marks on the stick indicating how much oil is in your engine’s crank case. If your BMW is not equipped with an oil dip stick then you can check your oil level via the infotainment menus as newer BMW models don’t have dip sticks. As it is well known if you run low on oil, you risk serious engine damage and very expensive repairs.
The cooling system on a modern BMW models is a complex, high pressure cooling system with many points that can leak. Make sure that you check your coolant level when your engine is cold. Since the cooling system is a high pressure system opening the coolant cap when the engine is hot will cause coolant to shoot out potentially causing severe burns. With the engine cold check the level and make sure you are at proper coolant level on the measuring float. Having a proper coolant level will also help your car’s HVAC system keep your cabin warm on your long holiday drive.
Check Your Tires
As you plan to drive a long distance you want to avoid getting stuck due to a flat tire specially as newer cars are no longer equipped with emergency spare tires. You want to make sure your tires are at BMW’s recommended air pressure. That number can be found on your driver’s door jamb on a sticker along with other vehicle information.
If your tire pressures are close to specification then top them off, but if one tire is significantly lower than the others you probably have an air leak and you will want to have that tire and rim inspected. Finally, you will want to inspect your tires to make sure they have enough tread in case you experience rain or snow on the way to your destination.
Take your car on a shake down cruise
Take your car out for a quick jaunt on the highway. Make sure to turn off the radio and avoid other distractions. Listen for strange noises coming from the suspension as you go over bumps on the road. Pay attention to how your brakes feel. Are there squeals when you tap the brake? Does the brake pedal feel gritty as you gradually put pressure on the brake pedal? Any strange smells coming from vents in your car such as an oil smell. Anything that seems out of the ordinary for you is reason to have your car checked out by a reputable BMW specialist like Bimmer Motors. The cost of having your car inspected before a long drive is much cheaper than the cost of tow.