One of the biggest activities during the summer months is road tripping. Whether you are moving, visiting friends and family, or just exploring the country, it is crucial to be sure that your car is up for the job! Because if you take care of your car before the trip, it will take care of you while your out on the road! A simple pre-trip vehicle checkup could make all the difference during your journey. For those of you that don’t know the proper steps to preparing your car, here is a list of some nifty tips and tricks to getting your car ready for the big voyage!
One of the easiest ways to assure yourself that your car is ready is to bring it in to a mechanic so that they can preform a FULL safety inspection to your vehicle. Now, I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO GET YOUR CAR INSPECTED!! If the mechanic finds an issue with your car during the inspection then you will be very grateful that you did not wait until the last minute to bring it in. Because if you did wait until last minute, and their were issues with the vehicle, it could take days for the vehicle to get fixed. This could be because the mechanic is busy and there are other cars that came before yours, or the mechanic had to order parts and get them shipped to the shop, which could take a couple days.
In short: have you mechanic inspect your car a week or two before your trip in case there are issues that need addressed.
When getting your vehicle inspected, here is a list of everything your mechanic should cover:
- The mechanic should always check the fluids of your vehicle. The fluids that should be examined include the oil, transmission, antifreeze, power steering, brake, and windshield washer. And if any fluids are low, be sure that your mechanic tops them off, and remember to bring extra with you in case you need to top it off on your trip.
- Verify the efficiency level of your windshield wipers, brakes and tires to be positive that they will not bring you complications on your trip. Do the wipers clear the windshield well enough while you are driving through rough weather? Are the brakes worn down, squeaky when you drive, or not a strong as they once were? Do the tires have enough tread on them? Are they the correct kind of tires for the type of driving you will be doing? If any of your answers to these questions are negative, be sure to get the problems fixed before it is too late and you are stranded on the road with a blown tire.
- Inspect your vehicle to see if all of the lights are working on your vehicle. This includes headlights, taillights, break lights, turn signals, and brights. If any lights are out or dim, change them before your trip.
- Confirm that your vehicle is not due for a tune up. How old is the battery? How long has the timing belt been on? Be certain that these aspects of your car are up to date for your trip. Typically the battery will last 3-5 years and the timing belt will usually last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.
As long as you follow the guidelines and check list above, you should have no problem on the road, which will make your journey that much more enjoyable! My last tip for you is to always prepare for the worst during a road trip. Your car could be in perfect condition before you leave, but that doesn’t always guarantee that you won’t experience problems on the road. A great item to have on hand during your voyage is an emergency roadside survival kit. These kits, much like a first aid kit for your car, can come in handy if an issue occurs on the road!