Now that we’re in the midst of summer, everyone is gearing up to head outside and hit the road. The summer weather comes with a desire to get out and go somewhere, and there’s no better time for traveling than the summer. However, before you hit the road, you’ll want to make sure that your care can handle the journey. Here’s a quick checklist to go through before you actually hit the road…
Checking the outside of your vehicle
Potential breakdowns can easily be avoided by checking a handful of things on the outside of your vehicle. For example, check that your tires still have good tread and are wearing evenly. Check the pressure, and make any necessary adjustments. Be sure to include your spare in your tire inspection. Changing a flat in the middle of a desert in the middle of the night would not be the high point of your trip, so do what you can to avoid it. Make sure your headlights, taillights, and front and back blinkers are all working properly, so you can be safe and avoid a ticket. Your brakes and windshield wipers should also be inspected to make sure they have enough life left in them for your trip.
Checking the interior of your vehicle.
It’s also important to check the inside of your vehicle and make sure that everything is in working order, as that’s going to be where you’ll be during the traveling part of your road trip. The gauge cluster on your dash, and the electronic messaging center are your guide to how your car is handling a long road trip, so make sure all of these instruments are functioning properly before heading out. If you’re traveling to a climate that is either warmer or colder than what you’ve been experiencing in your neck of the woods lately, be sure your heater and/or air conditioner are working to keep you comfortable and safe. If your check engine light is on, find out the cause and get it fixed before you go.
Checking under the hood
That leaves the last and most complicated place to check on your car before you leave: under your hood. Your fluids, filters, and belts are all crucial pieces to making sure that your car can run sufficiently. Making sure that these components are functioning properly is basically like checking the vital signs of your car, and it will help you to root out and avoid any potential problems on your road trip. Here’s what you’re looking for:
- Transmission Fluid: Fixing a transmission can be one of the most expensive aspects of a vehicle. If your car is over 10 years old, it’s important to check the transmission fluid before a big road trip.
- Other Fluids: Make sure you’re topped off on power steering, brake, and windshield washer fluids. These all work together for a smooth driving experience, and a pleasant road trip.
- Coolant: Your engine coolant needs to be at the right level, and of the right grade for the season wherever you’re traveling to, otherwise your engine may overheat after a long day of driving (especially in the summer).
- Air Filter: The air filter affects your car’s fuel efficiency and the health of your engine. Make sure it’s clean and up for the trip.
- Belts and Hoses: Inspect the condition of your car under the hood, checking for any leaks or indications that any hoses may be leaking. Check any belts for obvious wear and tear.
- Battery: Make sure your battery is clean, that the cables are connected properly, and that the fluid levels are balanced if your battery requires that.
- Engine Oil: Oil enables your vehicle’s engine to function properly. Having enough fresh oil drastically reduces the chances of engine damage. Make sure you have enough and that it’s clean. Also, be sure to check the oil filter, as well! Check out some tips here for oil changes.