Ask Claude

Ask Claude: The OCC Auto Guy

Hey, it's me, Claude, the OCC Auto Guy. If you're planning a road trip anytime soon, you'll want to make sure your car can go the distance. As the head of OCC’s Automobile Servicing program, people often ask me what they should get checked out on their cars before a long drive. Here’s what I recommend:

What should I do before my road trip?

Test Your Lights

If your blinker blinks fast or stays on solid, you may have a burned out bulb and you should have this replaced to avoid trouble on the road. If you’re pulling a trailer, however, and you notice your lights blinking faster, don’t worry - this is normal!

Inspect Your Tires

Take a walk around your car and inspect your tires for any holes or other wear and tear. You can also check your tread depth by taking a penny and inserting it into the tread. If you see Abe Lincoln’s head, it may be time for tire replacement. There's nothing worse than blowing a tire on the way to your vacation!

Top Off Fluids

Topping off your windshield washer fluid is easy to do yourself, and will help with visibility on those rainy summer days. Check your wiper blades and their operation while you’re at it. Also, check that sticker on your windshield - if your vehicle is close to needing its next oil change, get that done before you take your car on a long drive.

Check Your Brakes

If you hear squealing noises while braking, this may be a sign you have worn brake pads and they should be replaced. If you notice your brake fluid is low, it could be a leak or an indicator of worn brake components. Your future self will thank you for having this checked out before your trip.

Read Your Manual

Seriously… pull your manual out of storage and give it a read. These are filled with all kinds of knowledge, like the recommended service intervals for oil changes and changing your belts. If you’re close to any of these recommended services, do them before you leave for your trip.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about this and all things auto-related? Join me at OCC. Learn everything you need to know about cars and trucks by earning an automobile servicing associate degree or certificate. Whether you have years of experience working on cars and are looking to advance your career, or you’re a beginner with a passion for cars, OCC has a program for you