Lubbock mechanic gives tips on preparing your car for travel


LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – Before loading gifts and suitcases in the car to leave for the holidays, a Lubbock mechanic is reminding you to make sure your vehicle is ready for the drive.

Don Bridge, Shop Foreman at Nick’s Automotive, says preparing for your trip before you leave can save you a lot of time on the road.

“Once you have a breakdown, a minimum breakdown is 45 minutes to hours,” Bridges said. “So, you know if you can get above that, get ahead of that, find problems before you leave, then that probably assures you you’re going to make a lot safer and easier trip.”

Bridges says the number one mistake drivers make is not checking their fluids. With the cold weather, he advises everyone to pay close attention to the coolant to make sure it will withstand the cold temperatures.

“You can have coolant in there but sometimes it only goes to zero degrees,” Bridges said. “If it’s going to zero degrees, you’re going to have problems, so you want to check your coolant, you want it to be at least minus 20.”

When you check your coolant, Bridges says if it is low, you should take it to a mechanic to be looked at further.

“If it’s below the minimum, you want to top it off, but if it’s also below the minimum you probably need to get it checked because usually, it doesn’t go anywhere – if it is going somewhere that’s a telltale that it’s going out,” Bridges said.

Bridges says the cold weather can also affect your car battery.

“Extreme heat and extreme cold knock out your batteries, so a battery could be good tomorrow and out today,” Bridges said.

He recommends testing the battery and alternator.

“Sometimes they’ll come in, ‘I think it’s my battery,’ and the battery is low and it ends up being the alternator,” Bridges said. “One of the phases burned out on it, so now it doesn’t put out maximum it’s putting out maybe 50% of what it should be putting out.”

To make sure your tires can get you to your destination safely, he says to check the tire pressure, make sure there are no cracks, and check the tread.

If you do breakdown, he says to get as far away from the highway as possible.

“Try to get off the road because a lot of people get hit on the curb because people that are coming are road weary, and they’re going across the line, and if you’re close to the highway they’re going to hit you,” Bridges said.

Bridges says taking these steps can save you thousands of dollars and hours of time down the road.


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