When you go on vacation, you don’t want to worry about having car problems.
You want to get there and enjoy your destination. Whether you are taking a long trip for several days or a short day trip, you want to ensure your car is going to get you there and back. There are car maintenance basics that you can take care of yourself, or easily ask a professional, that’ll keep your car in good condition for travel.
Here are the essential items you will want to check out to get your car in great shape before heading out on a road trip.
Do These 9 Things Before Hitting The Road
1. Get an Oil change – Make sure your next oil change will not be needed while on your trip. If you’re not ready for an oil change, make sure your oil is at the correct level and check the color. Darker is dirty and may indicate you are ready for an oil change a bit early.
2. Check the wipers – do they look worn? When you clean the windshield, do they clean properly or leave streaks? They may need to be replaced or cleaned with a little rubbing alcohol to help extend their life.
3. Tire pressure & condition – Check the tire pressure to make sure they are at the right pressure. A look at the sticker on the side of the driver’s door will tell you the proper PSI for your tires. The wrong air pressure affects the ride and your gas mileage, and also, the life of the tires. Check the tires for good tire tread and damage to the side walls as well.
4. Clean the interior – Vacuum the interior of the car and remove any trash and unnecessary items during your trip. This may sound obvious but often, we can be conscientious about the front seats and forget that there’s dirt from soccer cleats in the cargo area or spilled snacks that have crept under the floor mats in the back seat.
5. Wash the interior windows – This is especially important for the windshield. Wash the windshield twice. It seems to have a film after the first time and needs extra attention for those times you drive into the sun and get glare.
6. Check fluids -Make sure all the fluids (oil, power steering, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid & antifreeze) are full. Ask that this is checked when you get your oil changed.
7. Hoses & belts & cables – Check the hoses and belts. Do they have cracks? Are the cables secured to the battery? It can be hard to see or locate all the belts and hoses, but you can always ask your local garage to take a look.
8. Check the lights – Did you know that dim headlights are top safety hazard? Check to see that your headlights, both low and high beams, are working properly and you can see people or objects at a distance of 150 feet or more. Test the brake lights to make sure they light up when the brake pedal is pressed. If you are hauling a trailer, make sure the trailer lights are connected and working.
9. Check A/C – Is the air conditioning blowing cold air? You may need to have the A/C serviced. In the cooler months, you’ll want the heat to be working, so this is a good time to check them both.
Once everything is checked off the list you are ready to hit the road. Go, explore, and enjoy the ride.