Going on a road trip with your family can be a lot of fun. But before you hit the open road, there are a few things you need to do to make sure your car is up for the journey. That way you can maximize the fun you’re having and decrease the likelihood of unfortunate breaks on the trip for mechanical issues. Here are seven tips to prepare your car for a road trip.
Get an oil change
This is one of the most important things you can do to prepare your car for a road trip. Old or dirty oil can cause your engine to overheat, which can lead to serious problems down the road. Most mechanics recommend getting an oil change every 5,000 miles or so. If you’re due for an oil change or would hit the mark for an oil change while you’re on your road trip, it’s ideal to get it done beforehand. That way you don’t have to stop your trip for an oil change or risk issues because you drove too much before getting an oil change. The older your vehicle gets, the more important it is to get these done on time, if not early. Additionally, your car will last longer, so schedule one before you hit the road.
Check your tire pressure and tread depth
Flat tires and bald tires are two of the most common problems that lead to breakdowns on the side of the road. Before you embark on your road trip, check your tire pressure and tread depth. You can do this yourself with a tire pressure gauge and a tread depth gauge (available at most auto parts stores). If your tires are looking worn, consider replacing them before you go.
Not only do worn and flat tiers increase your chance of a flat tire, but it can also increase your chance of an auto accident if the roads are a bit slippery. Plus, flat tires can cause your car to feel bumpier and can create a lot of noise that’ll make your road trip less enjoyable.
Inspect your brakes, belts, and hoses
Another important thing to do before a road trip is to have your brakes checked by a professional mechanic. This is especially important if you’re going to be doing a lot of driving on winding mountain roads. Additionally, check all of your belts and hoses for signs of wear or damage. If any of them look like they might not make it to the end of the trip, replace them before you go. That way, if a belt breaks or something is damaged, it doesn’t completely ruin your vehicle if it breaks while on the road.
One of the worst things that could happen while driving is having a timing belt break while you are driving and completely ruin your transmission. Replacing a transmission can cost a lot, not to mention a significant amount of time without the vehicle you need to get around.
Luckily, many mechanical shops that provide oil or tire rotating services have a package that goes through everything you may need to be checked for a road trip at a discounted price. The peace of mind and extra security for your car’s function will make the cost of this check-up worth it.
Make sure all of your lights are in working order
Nothing is more frustrating than being pulled over for having a burned-out headlight or taillight. Before you go on your trip, walk around your car and check all of the lights – headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights – to make sure they’re in working order. Replace any bulbs that are burned out and clean any that are dirty. Most bulbs are relatively easy to replace, but if you don’t know how to do it, you can enlist the help of someone at an auto-parts shop. Many auto parts stores have free services for customers such as replacing old lights. If ou wants to learn how to do it yourself, you could also watch a video on YouTube for how to access the bulb and how to replace it safely.
Pack an emergency kit
No matter how well-prepared you are, there’s always a chance something could go wrong on a road trip – which is why it’s crucial to pack an emergency kit just in case. Your emergency kit should include items like jumper cables, flares, first-aid supplies, tools, and extra clothes/blankets in case you get stranded overnight somewhere. Plus, don’t forget to pack snacks and drinks in case you get hungry or thirsty while you’re on the road!
Enlist a Pro
If you have any issues with your car repairs like poor suspension that you have been putting off, it’s time to get them taken care of before the trip. Even if you aren’t sure what is wrong with your car, if you have a feeling that something isn’t working the way it should, then a pro can help. It’s always a good idea to have a professional mechanic such as Elite Automotive check out your car before you embark on a long road trip. They can help ensure that everything is in good working order and catch any potential problems before they become serious. This peace of mind is worth the investment, especially if you’re going to be driving for hours on end.
By following these seven tips, you can make sure your car is in good shape before setting off on your next road trip adventure!