It’s road trip season! Despite the ongoing pandemic, plenty of Americans are still finding ways to get out of their homes and enjoy themselves in a safe and responsible way. However, being safe and responsible means many things these days. Among them: Making sure that your car is ready for the drive. If you are going on a road trip, there are some car maintenance actions you should take.
Take Your Car To The Mechanic
One of the easiest things you can do is take your car to the mechanic and ask for a quick inspection. These are usually cheap, quick, and a great way of discovering any potential problems before they become large issues. Make sure to let your mechanic know any potential areas of concern.
It goes without saying, but make sure you trust the mechanic that you are taking your car too, as it could be way too easy for them to tell you you have a problem in some area when no such issue exists.
Fill Up Everything
Before leaving, it is always best to top off all of the fluids that your car runs on. This includes engine coolant, your windshield fluid, radiator water, and more. In many cases, you may be able to do this yourself, but if you are uncomfortable doing so or have any questions, make sure to bring your car to a mechanic. They may also be able to help you find any potential issues that your car has.
Check Your Tires
Using your car’s built-in systems or a separate air pressure gauge, make sure to check the air pressure in your ties and confirm that they are inflated to the manufacturer-recommended specifications. Underinflated tires can be dangerous and lead to a blowout or tire-damage, but overinflated tires present similar risks. While you are checking your tires, make sure to give them a quick visual overview and check for any nicks, bubbles, or damage. Remember, even small damage can turn into a huge problem, so it is always best to get any issues immediately resolved, even if that means replacing the tire.
Prepare An Emergency Kit
Despite all of your precautions, your car may break down, and you want to make sure you are prepared to deal with any potential emergencies. An emergency kit will have things that can help you make short-term repairs to your car and get you on the move again. This includes jumper cables, tire-patching material, a spare tire, flares, and more. You should also always make sure that you have a cell phone charger in your car. If you are going to be traveling in rural areas, make sure that you have a small number of supplies and a blanket to keep warm.
Check The Battery
Perhaps nothing is more important to your car than your car battery. It is wise to check it before you leave. Thankfully, this is a relatively simple process and one that only requires a tool called a multimeter. Like other items listed here, it is also possible to bring your car to a mechanic ahead of time and ask them to check the battery and make sure it is in proper working order.
Check & Clean Your Headlights
Even if you aren’t planning on driving at night, you should check your headlights and make sure they are in proper working order. Check to make sure they are dimming properly, that the bulbs are all working and that they are as clean as possible. This ensures that the light will work the way it was designed to and gives you the vision you need.
Nothing ruins a road trip faster than a busted car. Yes, these tips can be annoying, time-consuming, or expensive, but just remember this: The small amount of money and time you spend making sure your car is ready to go is less expensive than the amount of time it would take to deal with a broken-down car!