Spring and summer are the perfect time for a road trip! The sun is shining, the roads are clear, and the wide open road is all yours to explore. Whether you go with a friend or alone, a road trip can be a great way to experience all the amazing things this country has to offer. But before you go, here are a few things you need to know about preparing your car to take the trip with you:
- Check all the fluids – Most of us check the engine oil, gasoline, and transmission fluid on a regular basis. But what about the brake fluid, antifreeze/coolant, radiator coolant, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid? Make sure to check these fluids as well!
- Test your tires – Your tires are literally the only thing keeping you on the road. If you lose friction (the result of bald or worn tires), you could end up spinning out of control. Check your tires to ensure they have plenty of tread and aren’t showing signs of wear. Check the pressure as well—properly inflated tires give you better control over the vehicle and reduce gas usage.
- Look at belts and hoses – The hoses and belts in your car keep the engine, radiator, transmission, brakes, and all the other internal components working well. Check for any loose hoses or worn belts before you head out road-tripping. Make sure everything is tight, secured, and in good condition, else you may end up stranded on the side of the road.
- Check the brakes – Don’t wait until you hear the brakes grinding or squealing to get them checked. If the brake shoes or discs have worn out, you may end up without brakes in the moment when you need them most. Before making any long trip, get your brakes checked out.
- Test the lights – Headlights keep you safe on the road after dark, and signal lights and tail lights let cars behind you know what you’re doing. Interior lights help you to see inside your car (your map, phone, etc.). Make sure all these lights are in good working condition.
- Replace the wipers – If you’re going to a place with heavy rain, make sure your wipers are in good condition. The wipers will keep your windshield clear of rain and enable you to see where you’re going.
- Make sure the heating and cooling works – The last thing you want to do is get stuck in a cold climate without car heating, or a very hot climate without A/C. Make sure to test the A/C and heater before you embark on your road trip.
It will take a few hours to check the car before the trip, but it can save you hours and hundreds of dollars in car repair!