Preparing your car for the holidays

Ah yes, the cool breeze that accompanies the later few months of the year is finally here, and we all know that it’s about that time when we all celebrate the Christmas and New Year cheer. Countless Filipino families have planned out their holidays, with adventures such as travels abroad and long drives to exotic or new destinations, all with the hopes to cherish treasured memories and experiences. As we get closer to Christmas and New Year, the amount of vehicles we suddenly see on the road increases dramatically, similar to the usual Holy Week and yearly All Soul’s Day exodus. School is out and schedules are more open than ever, and that means a higher volume of road users, commuters, and pedestrians.

Our cars will be our best buddies on these excursions, and the stress and expectations that we put on our noble four-wheeled steeds can sometimes take its toll, resulting in unfavorable circumstances. The number of errands and last-minute shopping can also aggravate the situation, and we all want to keep our cars clean, running well, and prepared at all times. We’ve come up with some handy tips to help you prepare your loyal vehicle for the holiday season, and overcome the unique demands that the end of the year brings.

The best way to prevent bigger problems with your vehicle is through regular maintenance. A last minute checkup at your service center or dealer can mean the difference between enjoying that trip at the beach, or spending hours on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive. Bigger jobs require you to bring the car to a mechanic, and it’s always best to replace and fix whatever is needed before that long road trip. Smaller jobs, such as replacing wiper blades and topping off your coolant, can be done in the garage in less than an hour. Check tires, lights, and all fluids before any trip. Make this a habit.

Choose to leave at odd hours or devise alternate routes to avoid the rush of vehicles and spend less time idling in traffic; your car and passengers will thank you. If you do hit some gridlock and spend hours barely moving, you’ll be glad that you checked and topped off your coolant and made sure your air conditioning is working perfect, right? Bring some snacks and drinks in the car with you, and they’ll be handy in keeping you and your passengers sane despite the holdup.

Clean the car before any trip, especially if you’ve been delivering food baskets and that delicious ham to friends and family for the past few days. Keep some wipes and plastic bags handy in case anyone needs to dispose of trash or use the bathroom. Making frequent stops or breaks also allows the vehicle to cool down and gives you an opportunity to make sure everything is in working order since you left your home.

A bag containing first aid items, such as bandages, gauze, tape, medical scissors, antiseptic wash, and a few common medicines is a good thing to have on you at all times, especially on a long trip. A flashlight with fresh batteries is a good addition, too. Also keep a list of emergency numbers on hand at all times in case you need assistance from police or medical responders. A jumper cable is also a good thing to throw in. You want to be able to cover as much bases as possible, and have the tools required to deal with anything on the road.

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