Having car troubles on your way to work or in your driveway is bad, but having to deal with a broken vehicle hundreds or thousands of miles away from home is far worse. When preparing for a road trip, most people remember to pack their personal belongings and snacks, and unfortunately only some of them make the effort to check their car. Unless you want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broken vehicle and very nervous passengers, take time to complete these basic maintenance tasks and get your car ready for your road trip.
Check your tires
If your tires are not in order you cannot expect to have a smooth ride, so get them checked before your road trip. Keep in mind that you should check the air pressure in your tires every 1,000 miles. If they are underinflated your car will use much more fuel than usual (and you will waste money), and if they are overinflated they will be less compliant. Keep in mind that you should replace your tires every 25,000 to 50,000 miles, so if they are nearing their expiration date, replace them for your peace of mind. If you need more information about tires, check out DrivrZone.
Check the fluids
Every car has six essential fluids it cannot function without, so be sure to check them all before you hit the road. First, make sure that you have enough oil in your vehicle, since its purpose is to lubricate the pistons, crankshaft, and camshaft and help them move smoothly without any friction. Yоu should change the oil in your car every 3, 000 to 5,000 miles. Use the dipstick to check the oil level in your car. If the fluid is gritty or below the minimum, don’t go on a trip before you change the oil. Second, you will need to check the antifreeze, since without it the engine can overheat and break, which is something you definitely want to avoid. Brake fluid is also something that requires your attention. Push the brake pedal and see if it feels spongy or has extra travel. If so, your brake fluid should be topped off or changed. You should also check the power steering fluid and transmission fluid. Unless you want to drive with smudgy windows make sure you fill up your windshield fluid reservoir before you hit the road. This is the simplest tasks, since you can do it at any gas station.
Apart from car fluids and tires, there are other components that require your attention. Before your trip make sure to check the brake pads, because they wear away in time, and once they become too thin they are not effective anymore. Since there is a lot of dust on the road, see whether your air filters are working properly. They need to be replaced every 12,000 miles but they are not expensive and you can easily change them. You should also check all your light bulbs to see whether any are burnt out. If so, replace them as soon as possible, since a broken light can put you in dangerous situations. Not only will you have a problem with seeing the road, but other drivers won’t be able to see you as well as they would if everything was working properly. The last thing you need the check are the belts and hoses. Cracked belts should be replaced immediately, as well as leaking hoses.
Maybe checking all those things is not exactly how you would like to spend your afternoon, but would you rather sacrifice a few hours or deal with car troubles in the middle of nowhere? Make sure that everything works properly before you go on the road, and you will have one less worry on your mind.