Road trips are fun until something goes wrong, and even then, the thrill of making repairs along the way can be exciting. Nevertheless, let’s just say your final destination is calling, and it is best to get there safe and sound. In this post, we go over ten different things to check when it comes to preparing your vehicle for a smooth road trip.
Cars have a lot of fluids. Here is a list of the most important ones that you should check:
- Windshield fluid
- Brake fluid
- Coolant or radiator fluid
The windshield fluid is easy to top off. You can get the concentrate and mix it with water. Check that your brake fluid is topped off and not contaminated. The brakes should not feel spongy or have extra travel.
Your coolant levels, also known as radiator fluid, is crucial to keeping the engine from overheating. This fluid should be flushed every 50,000 miles. Simply top it off with antifreeze. If, when you check the oil, you notice green and yellow streaks, this could be a coolant leak, which should be resolved before you leave for your road trip.
Oil is what keeps the engine lubricated. You should have your oil changed every 3000-5000 miles, but always check it before a road trip. Find the dipstick under the hood, grab a paper towel, and wipe the dipstick clean before checking it. The type of oil your vehicle needs should be written on the oil tank cap.
If your brakes are screeching, or producing a metal on metal sound, the brake pads should definitely be replaced. Nevertheless, the entire brake system should be examined before a road trip, especially one through the mountains. Never ride your brakes, always switch to a lower gear.
A busted light bulb could cost you a ticket. Check all your blinkers, headlights, and tail lights. If you are by yourself, put the vehicle in park and place something heavy on the brakes, then exit the car to look at the taillights.
Depending on the type of battery that you have, you might need to do different maintenance checkups. Regardless, always ensure the terminals are not corroded. You can always clean them with a little baking soda, water, and an old toothbrush. Seal with a terminal spray designed for batteries. Next, you can check the battery for its fluid level, if your battery allows you to remove the caps. Simply fill the holes with water if they are low. You can also run a voltage check. Just to be sure, put some jumper cables in your car. It is always best to be over prepared.
You should look for two things when checking your tyres. The first is air pressure. Find a pressure gauge either in your glove compartment or in a store. Look on your wheels for the PSI requirement, and then make sure your tyres are pressured accordingly. The second thing you should check is the tyre tread. If the tyres are too worn, you run the risk of getting a flat. Acknowledge replacing the tyres with the new ones before leaving, and check that you have a jack, a spare tyre and that you know how to use it. You can explore online tyre servicing and replacing opportunities that may come with great deals. Take the instance of new Bridgestone tyres while thinking for the replacements.
7. Belts and Hoses
Lift up the hood of your vehicle and take a good look at the visible belts and hoses. If you notice any slack, cracks, or loose fittings, be sure to get this checked out by a mechanic. Hoses can leak, especially near joints, and broken belts can make the engine inoperable. To check hoses, simply squeeze the hose near the bends and joints, which are typically the weakest spots. Try to notice any soft spots, which could be an indication of a worn area calling for a total replacement. In addition, glance underneath your car for anything that might be dangling down.
Clean wipers are vital for safe driving and should be replaced every six months, especially if cracked. In addition, you should clean both the inside and outside of the windshield to make visibility stronger and include the rear windshield as well.
9. Air Filters
Air filters are important to check for many reasons. They ensure you are breathing clean air, but clogged ones can also impact your visibility. This is because dirty filters can prevent air from flowing through the car to defog the windshield. In addition, they are important for reliable engine performance and good fuel economy. To check the filter, simply remove the air filter and hold it up against light to see how dirty it is. In a clean one, you should be able to see the light through the filter.
Your glove compartment should always have the vehicle’s manual, current registration, proof of insurance, some emergency contact information, and extra cash. Even once you have inspected your vehicle, you never know what could happen.
Road trips are fun, but they have the potential to be very dangerous. It is easy to do a quick run-through of your vehicle’s systems so that you feel confident and comfortable on the road ahead of you. This checklist should take no longer than two hours and will leave you feeling prepared and capable of performing any maintenance that might crop up along the way.