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Is your vehicle road trip ready? Here are a few important Road Trip Maintenance Tips to know before your trip starts.
I love me a road trip. If I can drive instead of fly, nine times out of ten, that’s what I’ll do.
But that doesn’t mean that I’ve not been without my fair share of trials on the road.
I’ve run out of gas, had a tire blowout, even managed to lose my entire driveshaft once. Just let me tell you after that, you’re not going anywhere. Thankfully I was driving 25 miles an hour on a deserted road when it happened and not in five lanes of traffic on a busy interstate like happened to my husband.
Which brings me to my topic today. You may be road trip ready, but is your vehicle? You may not be as prepared as you think.
There is a lot of preparation and maintenance involved with your car before you can hit the road safely and worry-free.
The real question is, where do you start?
The many components to getting your vehicle roadworthy can be intimidating. Car maintenance is important year-round, but especially before a road trip.
I have a few tips to make sure you properly prepare your vehicle for that fascinating time on the road and not because your car has broken down.
Checking under the hood
Unless you’re a mechanic, when you raise the hood of your car you’ll see lots of unfamiliar components and parts.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what everything is.
The essentials under the hood that you must focus on are:
When you open the hood of your car, you first want to take a visual glance to see if there is anything broken, frayed, or leaking.
Belts and pulleys help your engine function properly. You want to make sure you don’t see anything that has corrosion, is torn, or broken. This potentially means something needs to be fixed.
You want to make sure all of the fluids are filled within the capacity of your specific automobile.
You will want to remove caps and check the fluids in your engine, including oil, coolant, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, and other possible fluids your car requires. I go a step further and if my vehicle needs it, I’ll make sure to get an oil change. You can take it to your mechanic or follow my easy steps for the DIY Oil Change my husband taught me how to do.
You will also want to examine your battery. A battery does not last for the entire life of your vehicle. You will want to check to make sure it holds a full charge (most auto parts stores will check this for free), there is no corrosion around the battery cables, and make sure the cables are properly attached to the battery.
Now you want to examine other important parts of your car
Your engine is not the only thing you want to worry about when inspecting your car.
You want to check other imperative things including:
- Look underneath your car
When you are visually inspecting underneath your car, make sure you observe the ground for any liquids that may be leaking from your engine, brake lines, or radiator. The fluid that you may see on the ground can be indicative of what is wrong with your car if anything at all. Check for broken cables or belts too.
When looking at your tires, you want to make sure that the tire pressure is adequate for the type of tire you have. Every type of tire is manufactured with appropriate pressure specific for that tire. You will also want to check the tire tread and make sure there are no visual discrepancies in your tire, such as low tread, baring wires, or punctures.
You should also check your brakes and routers. Brakes and routers make it possible for your car to stop at lights, signs, and quickly in an emergency. You want to make sure that your front and back brakes have full brake pads, aren’t rusted, and move freely when you push the brake pedal.
While I don’t remove the tire to look at the brakes, I do listen for any abnormal noises such as squeaking or grinding when I’m driving which could indicate a problem.
After reading this and you still aren’t sure if your car is ready for a long road trip, see a mechanic. Mechanics can verify all aspects of your vehicle are working properly for your time on the road.
What steps do you take to ensure your vehicle is road trip worthy?