Summer Road Trip Tips

It is Summer! Don’t we all love a good road trip?

Make sure you check your cars’ vitals before hitting the road, so you can reach your destination and have fun, and not be stranded along the roadside. Nothing like car trouble to ruin a vacation.

The top reasons for requiring a tow from AAA data are:

• battery and electrical systems issues (23 percent)

• engine cooling system failures (11 percent)

• tire damage that cannot be repaired or replaced at the roadside (10 percent)

So, let’s review some items to check before you hit the open road…

Essential Fluids

First check the oil, brake, power-steering and windshield-washer fluids regularly. These liquids never stop being used and consumed. Speaking of brake fluid, how do the brakes on your car feel in general? Do you feel like they are spongy or lacking bite? If so, new pads and a system bleed might be required. Before you road trip, Oxford Automotive can help take care of this kind of maintenance before you go.

Coolant System

It is summer, so for most of the USA that means it is hot! Keeping cool is imperative, and not just for ourselves, but also for our cars. So check the level of coolant fluid in your car, then go the extra mile and inspect the state of the hoses and the coolant reservoir. Check for leaks, especially at joints and connection points, such as where a hose connects to the engine block. Next, squeeze the hoses (when the engine is cool) every once in a while to make sure they feel firm but not rock hard. Replace any that need to be before you go. And, as a precaution, buy a hose-patch kit at the local auto parts store to take along on longer road trips.
One more note, for the coolant, be sure to use the same coolant type as is already in the engine, they don’t like to be mixed. You can tell the difference from the color. Green coolant is the most common, indicating an ethylene glycol-based coolant with a standard package of rust inhibitors. Orange is called Dex-Cool, originally developed by General Motors but manufactured by other coolant name brands under license. The jug should have a large “Dex-Cool” trademark on it. It is also ethylene glycol-based, but it has an enhanced package of corrosion inhibitors (and, hence, tends to be more expensive).

Battery

Check the battery and replace if necessary. Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging. Excessive heat and overcharging shortens the life of a battery.

Engine Belt

Check the engine belts by turning them sideways with your hand so you can see the friction surface. If they’re at all ragged, torn, cracked or showing the fiber cords, it’s time for fresh ones. Most newer cars have a serpentine belt that runs between the alternator, the fan and several other components (older cars have several belts). It can deteriorate, become loose, start to squeal, and sometimes just break for no apparent reason. Make sure this is in good condition and at the right amount of tension. If you see cracks in the belt or small pieces missing, it’s time to replace the belt.

Wipers and Lights

Summer brings heat and then of course the rain—at some point. So be ready see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lights are working properly. Next, check the wipers because worn wipers can impair your vision while driving as they don’t effectively remove the water on your windshield. Check your wipers and replace them if necessary before your road trip. It is a good habit to check them at the time of your oil changes, even ask your technician if they can check the wipers and replace them for you if needed.

Air-Conditioning System

Air-conditioning in many parts of the country is a summer essential. And, freon into the atmosphere is not good. There are plenty of leak-sealing products and refrigerant rechargers available, so check your system for leaks, or have us take a look at it. Remember, if there’s not enough refrigerant in the system for it effectively cool your car, you probably have a leak. We can check your system for leaks, repair and recharge your system.

Air Filter

Still haven’t checked your air filter yet this summer? Before a road trip is a good time to buy a new one or take the current one out and give it a cleaning. Many modern cars also have pollen filters or cabin filtration systems, so take a look at those, too. Sometimes these cabin filters are easy to change yourself. Like everything else mentioned here: When in doubt, consult a qualified technician.

Tires

Tires really need to be checked regularly all year round. Pressures must be correct (consult the manual because sometimes that information is on the inside of the fuel door or the door jamb for the driver’s door), treads should be free of stones, stray nails and the like, and all four should be in good condition. What is good condition? No cracks, no uneven wear, and plenty of tread depth (use a penny to test your treads—place a penny head first into several tread grooves across the tire. If you always see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn. If this is the case, your tires need to be replaced. if part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more that 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining. This means your probably don’t need new tires.) If you tires are in good shape, it still wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a can of Fix-A-Flat that could at least get you to a shady spot where you could change the wheel more comfortably. Make sure you also check your spare tire to make sure it is usable, too.

Dashboard Sunshade

Summer sun is hard on more than just your skin! So to help keep your interior cooler and the interior from fading in the harsh ultraviolet rays, consider a cover for the front windshield to help protect the dashboard. There are lots of options, some even have solar panels to keep the battery charged. If you have kids in the back, consider pull down shades for the rear side windows, too, and provide extra protection for the kids.

Driver and Passengers

I think we’ve mentioned the heat…yes it is hot out there. Make sure everyone stays hydrated on the trips. It’s better to make a few more bathroom breaks and stretch your legs than to endanger your health, or at the least be miserable and not feel well. Plan your road trips. Make a list of everything you’re going to need. For example: sunglasses, hats, travel mugs, games for the kids, snacks, chargers for the phones and tablets, route planner, weather forecasts, emergency triangle, flashlight, and a small tool kit. If you have a scheduled service is coming up on your car, consider bringing it into us to complete it before a long drive.

It’s also wise to review your insurance with your agent to make sure you have the coverage you need for the trip, and to confirm your driver’s license and tags are up to date

A pre-trip inspection can help ensure a stress-free journey! Have a great summer, enjoy the roads, and take care of yourself and your car.

Oxford is ready for Spring! Here are some tips so you are ready too!

Early spring is ideal for getting your car prepared for road trips, more frequent driving, or even that epic summer vacation that’s only a few months away. In Ohio, our spring seems to be struggling to bloom, but we know it will be here soon.
Wash and wax. After winter’s assault on your car with road salt, sand, slush, ice and snow, give your car a clean sweep, especially on the underside.
Fluid checks. After winter, we are all looking forward to the easier breezier warmer spring days, but wait…bring in spring season with fluid checks. Make sure your coolant, brake fluid, oil and transmission fluid are all at optimal capacity. Keeping fluids at the correct levels can save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary repair bills. And save your road trips, no one wants to be calling a tow truck when you are supposed to be having fun.
Change windshield wipers. Your wiper blades take a beating from the winter as well, and you’ll also need those wipers to be in top shape for the springtime showers…or deluges!  Spring is the perfect tie for new wiper blades.
Battery voltage check. After surfing the winter, it is to check the battery again before your road trips. Many retailers with auto supplies offer a quick, free battery test. Or we can check your battery when you are in for an oil change or service.
Inspect air filter. A clogged air filter will impact your engine’s performance. Changing your air filter is simple (takes about 5 minutes) and inexpensive (costs around $10 – $25). A dirty air filter can reduce gas mileage up to 10%. A general rule for changing this filter is roughly every three months, in areas where you encounter more dirt, pollution or road construction, you might have to change it more often.
Tire maintenance. Keep your tires in their recommended pressure range, typically 30-32 psi. But, be sure to check your tires for specifics. All tires lose air and leak naturally, ASE reports most tires loose one to two pounds of air per month, so their inflation needs to be frequently checked. They also suggest you check air pressure when the tires are cool for a more reliable reading. Next, do a monthly visual inspection of your tires checking for wear, cracks, slipped belts, bulges or other abnormalities. This can be done while you are pumping gas, and could save you from a blow-out on the interstate. Under inflated tires can reduce your fuel mileage by as much as 15%, and significantly reduce the life of your tires. Under inflation can lead to handling and maneuverability problems that could cause an accident.
Oil Changes Protect the lifeblood of your engines. Through the last few decades, engines have changed and so has the required timing of oil changes. What used to be a standard 3,000 mile oil change may be a 5,000 miles change today, depending on the make, model and engine in your vehicle. So we recommend you consult your owner’s manual for details. Also, there are different grades, viscosity or weight of oil and in some diesel engines they require more oil than gas engines. There is research that shows using synthetic oil can reduce fuel consumption, extend engine life and reduce carbon emissions. Consider using it at your next oil change or ask us if it could be used in your vehicle.
Don’t forget the interior. Winter road salt is corrosive and can erode your car from the inside out, not just from the outside in. Make sure to vacuum, and possible even steam clean your carpets.
Oxford Automotive has 2 locations to help you keep your car running well to save you time &money….Delaware and Powell
5339 Maloney Road, Delaware, OH 43015
Call: 740-747-2841
449 W. Olentangy St. Powell OH 43065
Call: 614-718-9471

Hours:
Monday: 8am-5pm
Tuesday: 8am-5pm
Wednesday: 8am-5pm
Thursday:  8am-5pm
Friday: 8am-5pm
Saturday: Closed
SundayClosed

Oxford Automotive is Growing

We have exciting news that we are expanding and now have a second location in Powell, Ohio
at 449 W. Olentangy Street. Oxford Automotive has been providing quality service since 1979.
We believe auto care should be less stressful and we do this by providing communication
throughout the process. Your mechanic will let you know what services your vehicle needs to
be reliable and in good running order. We always give you the estimated cost of the work
before it is performed, along with a report on the potential variables for the repair. This allows
you to make informed decisions about investing in your vehicle service.

Now we are expanding this same philosophy to our new location. Utopia AutoCare has been
providing quality service for Honda/Acura & Toyota/Lexus for about 20 years and has earned
the trust of many. We will continue to bring honesty and integrity for the auto care that the
customers of Utopia has come to expect. Oxford Automotive will now be servicing a full range
of vehicle makes and models to be your complete auto care resource.

We are easy to work with. Call us at 614-718-9471 or go online and schedule your
appointment. Do you still need a vehicle while we service yours? While scheduling just click to
try out Delivery & Loaner Program. It is simple to use, no daily or mileage fees — just a flat fee
for the entire time you need the car. All we ask is that you fill the fuel tank before returning it the
car, or before we deliver your car and pick it up.

Best wishes to John Overly on his next adventure.

Utopia Auto Care

We have exciting news that we are expanding and now have a second location in Powell, Ohio
at 449 W. Olentangy Street. Oxford Automotive has been providing quality service since 1979.
We believe auto care should be less stressful and we do this by providing communication
throughout the process. Your mechanic will let you know what services your vehicle needs to
be reliable and in good running order. We always give you the estimated cost of the work
before it is performed, along with a report on the potential variables for the repair. This allows
you to make informed decisions about investing in your vehicle service.

Now we are expanding this same philosophy to our new location. Utopia AutoCare has been
providing quality service for Honda/Acura & Toyota/Lexus for about 20 years and has earned
the trust of many. We will continue to bring honesty and integrity for the auto care that the
customers of Utopia has come to expect. Oxford Automotive will now be servicing a full range
of vehicle makes and models to be your complete auto care resource.

We are easy to work with. Call us at 614-718-9471 or go online and schedule your
appointment. Do you still need a vehicle while we service yours? While scheduling just click to
try out Delivery & Loaner Program. It is simple to use, no daily or mileage fees — just a flat fee
for the entire time you need the car. All we ask is that you fill the fuel tank before returning it the
car, or before we deliver your car and pick it up.

Best wishes to John Overly on his next adventure.