Is Your Car Ready For A Road Trip?
With just a few weeks left of summer, many people are planning their final trip before the start of the school year. Although flying is the most preferred and convenient way to travel, inflation and staffing shortages have resulted in high ticket prices, increased delays, and frequent cancellations, prompting some people to take a road trip instead. Road trips create a unique experience that enables travelers to explore multiple destinations, engage in various activities, and spend much-needed time outdoors.
Preparing your vehicle should be at the top of your to-do list as you plan a late-summer road trip. As your primary means of transportation, your car must be in tip-top shape to ensure the experience is affordable and safe. Overlooking this significant step could put you, other passengers, your vehicle, and your trip at risk.
How do you prepare your car for a road trip? Continue reading for advice.
Check The Battery
If your vehicle doesn’t have enough juice to get you to and from your travel destination, you could end up sitting on the side of the road. Pop the hood and inspect your vehicle’s battery. Check the connection to ensure it’s secure. If you notice corrosion, you’ll need to visit a mechanic to have your connectors cleaned before your trip.
Ask the mechanic to check the voltage to ensure the battery is powerful enough to withstand the trip. If not, you may want to consider a replacement. Even if your vehicle’s battery is relatively new and intact, keeping an auto battery charger in your trunk is essential. That way, if your battery dies or runs low, you can give yourself a charge and carry on with your vacation.
Hoses And Belts
Next, evaluate the condition of the engine belts and hoses. These parts are responsible for working your vehicle’s electrical, steering, and cooling systems. Damaged or loose belts and hoses could make your road trip a scary and uncomfortable experience. If you notice an issue, replace the belts and hoses or visit a mechanic.
Fluids And Filters
Engine oil, transmission, brake, and power steering fluid keep car parts lubricated, while filters help prevent dirt, debris, and sludge from getting into the engine. Use a dipstick to check the level and color of your car fluids. If they are low, adding more before your trip is advised. However, if the fluids are dirty, you’ll need to drain them, flush the working parts, and replace them with new fluids.
The same is true for filters. If they’re dirty, you can easily purchase and replace them yourself. Lastly, keep a container of oil, antifreeze, power steering fluid, and windshield wiper fluid in your trunk if you need it during your travels.
Inspect The Brakes
As you might imagine, a vehicle’s braking system is essential to your safety. If the brakes aren’t well-kept, it could prevent you from stopping when necessary. Take a ride around your neighborhood and pay attention to the brakes. If you hear grinding or squeaking, notice resistance when you step on the pedal, or find your car takes longer to stop; you need to have your brakes serviced. A mechanic can inspect further to determine whether you need to replace the fluids, pads, or rotors.
Tires And Electrical System
Last but not least, check the tires, lights, and electrical system before your road trip. How is the tread on your tires? Place a dime between the tread. If there is a lot of space, your tires could be too worn for your road trip. Next, check the air to see if the tires are at an appropriate level. A tire pressure gauge can make this an easy task to accomplish. If necessary, fill your tires to ensure a safe road trip.
Turn on the lights on the interior and exterior of your vehicle to ensure they’re all working. Use electrical components like windows, wipers, and air conditioning. If lights are out, replace them immediately. If you notice issues with the electricity, visit a mechanic directly for service.
Airport complications have encouraged more travelers to plan road trips. While you may be excited about your upcoming venture, you must prioritize your safety. Before you load the car and hit the road, use the checklist above to ensure that you’re vehicle is in tip-top shape to handle your trip.