You are ready to hit the road for your vacation, but not so fast! You first want to make sure that your car is road-ready. Whether you’re headed to the beach, city, or river on your road trip, you need to take the time to prepare your vehicle to help ensure you’ll arrive at your destination safely. Here are some tips to help you prepare your car for your vacation.
1. Check Fluids
Before taking off, make sure that your car has all of the fluids needed to run efficiently. Be sure to check these six essential fluids: engine oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power-steering fluid, and windshield fluid.
2. Check the Tires
Your tires have direct contact with the road, so this means that they handle a great deal of braking, safety, and handling. Before your trip, make sure that the tires are inflated, balanced, and show no signs of excessive tread use, as that could lead to a blowout or even an accident. In the event of a tire blowout, it is a good idea to have tire-changing tools such as a spare tire, tire jack, wedges, and a lug wrench.
3. Check the Brakes
Properly functioning brakes are essential for road safety. With extensive use, brake pads become thin over time and lose their effectiveness. One sign of failing brake pads is a screeching or squealing sound whenever you brake. Once replaced, new brake pads typically last for about 25,000 to 70,000 miles.
4. Do a Wheel Alignment
Over time, an improper wheel alignment can put unnecessary wear and tear on your tires and brakes. Rather than taking a chance on the road, it is best to go ahead have your mechanic check your wheel alignment when you get your tires serviced.
5. Check the Lighting
A functioning lighting system is vital for your safety and the safety of others on the road. For the safety of yourself and others, ensure that primary lights such as the headlights, brake lights, taillights, fog lights, and hazard lights are in good condition.
6. Check the Battery
The battery is like the heart of your car. It powers all of the electrical components such as the starter, lights, horn, and more. Check your battery for leaks, corrosion, and damage, as these are signs that you may need a new battery. To be on the safe side, you also want to have jumper cables on hand if your battery goes weak on the road.
7. Organize the Interior and Stock Up
Organizing the interior of your car makes it easy to find everything you need on your trip. Ensure that the interior is neat and that the storage areas, such as the trunk and glove compartments are functional. Include a bag to collect trash to help keep the interior neat and clean. You never know what emergencies life will throw at you, so be sure to pack essential items, such as power cords, adapters, flashlights, first-aid kits, and road flares.