Planning on hitting the road for a summer getaway soon? blue skies and soothing views are reason enough to load up your car and hit the highway.
However, your best planning will be undone if you can't depend on your car. Car care is necessary year-round, but especially before a road trip, so make sure all its functions are fine-tuned and operating at maximum performance levels.
Getting Your Car Ready For The Road:
Fluids are the lifeblood of any car. Service intervals on your car's six essential fluids usually depend on mileage, so consider how far you've driven since your last one, and how far you plan on driving on your trip, to decide what needs attention.
Check the pressure on all tires, including the spare, before starting the trip. As you'd expect, tires are paramount to safety, comfort, and fuel efficiency, so it's important to check their condition. The incorrect air pressure also causes tires to wear unevenly and need replacement sooner. Be checking tire pressure every 1,000 miles, so depending on the length of your trip, that could be a few times.
You might need a comprehensive checkup if you apply the brakes. Brake pads provide the friction needed to slow and stop your car. They wear away with use, becoming too thin to work effectively. Replacing the brake pads should fix the noise and, more importantly, make your road trip safer.
Check exterior lights, including taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and fog lamps. Make sure lenses are clean, so the lights are as bright as possible. To check, turn on your car, switch on the headlights, make sure it's in Park, and take a walk around to see if any are burnt out.
With dust, debris, and bugs everywhere, a road is a dirty place. Cars use air filters to prevent gunk from entering the engine or interior.
Your Truly Complete Car Emergency Kit:
Basic tools: Have standard and Phillips screwdrivers, pliers, and a compact socket set.
Tire tools: Check if your car has a spare tire, jack, and lug wrench.
Yep, it's not secret that car care can be a pain. But it's not nearly as bad as having an adventure ruined by a preventable problem. Your car works hard on a road trip, so give it what it needs to keep running.