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Traveling for Christmas? Expert advice to make sure you get where you need to go

Posted at 4:53 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 17:53:54-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If you’re one of the millions of Americans traveling for the holiday season by car, we want to make sure you get where you’re going. That’s why we asked a professional mechanic to give us the top 5 tips to make sure your car is roadworthy.

Arnold Cadena of Cadena Auto Repair Service of Odem joined us to give us his expert advice.

“First out, we’re going to check out the bottom of the ground, When you pull out, make sure there’s no leaks. You're looking under the cab, the carriage of the vehicle. You're looking for just oil, water things built on the ground because that's the first indication your engine, your transmission, or something's leaking from your engine.”

So Cadena recommends that if you see leaks, get it to the repair shop.

His number two tips involves your tires. Right here on the tires, there’s a wear indicator. If this tire gets as low as that indicator, it’s time for new tires. You’re also looking for feathering like this. This tire is already going to need to be replaced pretty soon because it’s already falling apart.

Cadena’s next tip involves your lights.

"Wouldn’t you like to ruin your holiday just for s ticket just because you had a ball out? That'd be terrible. Just do a visual inspection. Have all your lights on. Check brake lights, look for cracks, anything the cops are going to look for to put you in jail and they’re going to be hot this season.”

From there, we went under the hood and asked Cadena, what should we look out for?

“Fluids, belts, filters,” Cadena says. “On this one there’s leaves. You want to get these out of here because they'll clog up the intake system for your air conditioning system.”

After that Cadena showed us some more fluids and parts we needed to be on the lookout for.

"This is really simple. This is just a reservoir. It has a minimum and a maximum mark. As you can see on this one, it's already low. Just top it off to the proper level. You have the brake fluid over here. This has a minimum and maximum mark.”

Then probably one of the most important items on the list? Checking the oil. “The right way is make sure the engine is off and it has to be sitting on level ground. You take the dipstick out and clean it and then you put it back in. You go sideways with it. So you're not actually having the fluid going down or going up. There’s a high indicator and the low indicator of where the oil should be as long. As long as it’s between these two marks, you’re good. I always start at the top on a long trip because you can actually burn one quart every 750 miles.”

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Arnold Cadena shows our Paul Mueller the top 5 tips to make sure you get to your Christmas destination

After that, Cadena pointed out some more fluids. “Just the washer reservoir. You got a bunch of bugs and you can't see. You can’t wash your windshield. Wiper blades, you want them fixed. You’re going to check the belt for cracks. Also, look at the battery terminals. Make sure they’re clean.”

Then we went to the back of the vehicle. Cadena says, “We're always looking for a spare. It would be terrible if you broke down and didn’t have a spare. Make sure you have a spare and make sure you have proper air pressure in it.