When you’re excited about traveling to a destination and all of the exciting things you’re going to do on a trip, car maintenance may not be at the front of your mind. But a flat tire or an overheated engine can ruin a road trip before you even get to your destination. Follow these tips to avoid an automotive disaster on your road trip.
Step one: Check your tires. Tire pressure is key to making sure that your car performs well in terms of gas mileage, but it’s also important for safety. When driving on long trips, tires can heat up. This can cause a blowout if you’re driving on worn-out tires. Use a tire gauge to check your pressure and add air if necessary, and use a penny in your tire treads to see if it’s time for new tires. If you can see Lincoln’s face, your tires are probably too worn to survive a long trip. Don’t forget your spare tire! Make sure it’s got adequate pressure and tread, and make sure you have the tools to replace it if needed.
Step two: Check and refill all fluids. Check and refill your brake fluid, coolant, engine oil, and window wash fluid. If you’re driving a car with a manual transmission, also check clutch fluid. Do any scheduled maintenance or tune-ups – if you’re close to needing an oil change, make sure that you have it done before you leave.
Step three: Make sure all of your lights are fully functional. Enlist a friend or family member and have them stand outside the car and tell you whether your headlights, high beams, tail lights, brake lights, reverse lights, and turn signals/emergency lights work. If they don’t, replace the bulbs. You could also possibly need a new fuse if a new bulb doesn’t do the trick.
Step four: Check the engine air filter. Having an old, clogged air filter can have a significant impact on your engine’s performance over the course of a long trip.
Step five: Test your heating/air conditioning. If you’re traveling somewhere with higher or lower temperatures than your hometown, you’ll probably need some temperature controls. You don’t want to drive to Phoenix in the summer with no air conditioning… or to Niagara Falls in the winter with no heat.
Step six: Fill up your gas tank. It’s common sense, but you won’t get far without gas!
If your car needs a check-up before heading on a long trip, call (757) 519-9200 now to schedule an appointment!