Looking to hit the road for a fun excursion? If so, you need to make sure you’re safe on your journey. Use the following tips to prepare your car for your big road trip, whether it’s a weekend getaway with the girls or a week-long family vacation with the kids.
Check Your Fluids
Your car has a lot of fluids that keep it running smoothly. It’s always a good idea to top these off before traveling extended distances. Some of the things you might want to check include:
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power-steering fluid
- Transmission fluid
Inspect Your Tires
Tires are what provide your car’s grip on the road, so you need to make sure they’re properly inflated and have the right amount of tread. Before leaving, use a tire pressure gage and make sure the tires are inflated to the proper levels. You can usually find the proper range for your car inside your car door or gas tank door.
Checking your tread is also a good idea. A good way to do this is to take a quarter and place it upside down into the tread line. If you can see all of George Washington’s head, the tread is too low, and you might want to replace your tires.
Test Your Battery
Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery would suck. A lot. That’s why you should always test out your battery before leaving. Do a quick inspection of the terminals to see if there’s any corrosion, and if there is, clean it off with a mixture of baking soda and water.
Replace Your Wipers
On average, windshield wipers only last for about six months before they require replacing. That means that if it’s been a while since you’ve changed them, doing so before your road trip is a great idea. With fresh wipers, you’ll have much better visibility in inclement weather, reducing your chances of getting into an accident.
Pack an Emergency Kit
While you might be focused on your car’s mechanics before heading on your road trip, don’t forget to load your car up with some important essentials in case of an emergency. Emergency kits are great if you break down or get stranded somewhere. Consider adding the following items in your kit:
- Phone charger
- Jumper cables
- Tire tools
- Road flares
- Reflective clothing
- Extra food and water
- First aid kit
While you can take many of these preparatory steps yourself, if you’re nervous, don’t hesitate to take your car to a mechanic. They can use their expertise to quickly make sure your vehicle can handle your upcoming trip. By taking these steps, you can feel more confident no matter the distance you’re traveling.
Bartlett, Jeff S. “Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip.” Consumer Reports, 2018 24 May, https://www.consumerreports.org/car-repair-maintenance/get-car-ready-for-a-road-trip/.
Cooley, Brian. “How to prep your car for a road trip.” Road|Show by CNET, 2018 April 30, https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/how-to-prep-your-car-for-a-road-trip/.