Preparing for a road trip with your family can take a great amount of effort. Do the kids have enough activities to stay occupied? Are the snacks packed? Are there easily accessible rest stops along the way? These are just a few of the questions you may be asking yourself. But, have you thought about your vehicle? Tuning up your car for a cross-country excursion may not be at the top of your mind, but it’s one of the most important steps you can take to stay safe while on the road, and prevent your car from costly repairs.
Here are some helpful tips from 199ride.com on how to get your vehicle ready for the long road ahead.
Fill up on Fluids
Just as water keeps the body balanced and feeling good, engine oil and transmission fluid are essential in keeping your car on the road longer. Oil helps to lubricate the engine and absorbs much of the heat that’s given off when your car is powered, which helps the internal parts work together effectively without overheating. Similar to engine oil, transmission fluid helps coat the moving parts in your transmission and keeps your car from overheating.
You should also check the levels of coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid before hitting the road. Along with wiper fluid, be sure to inspect your wiper blades for cracks and make sure they’re in close contact with your windshield. This will provide good visibility if unexpected weather hits.
If you suspect your vehicle has a fluid leak, make an appointment with a mechanic for an inspection. While very small leaks typically aren’t cause for concern, it’s best to be prepared before traveling many miles from home.
Inspect Your Tires and Wires
When it comes to safe driving and fast braking, good tires make a world of a difference. The traction of your tires is what causes your vehicle to halt at a moment’s notice. Before hitting the road, inflate your tires to your car’s recommended pressure. Make sure you have plenty of tread and no unusual or uneven wear on the tire.
If your car has had the same tires for years, or you’re noticing your car doesn’t seem to grip the road like it used to, it’s likely time to have your tires replaced or in the least, inspected. The life of your tires depends on the average amount of miles you put on your vehicle. Tire manufacturers advise having your tires inspected every five years to check for uneven treads or tire baldness caused by continual braking.
Another important component that contributes to the safety and overall performance of your vehicle is the electrical system, also known as the wiring system. Your car is made up of a series of wires that helps the parts of your vehicle communicate with each other. This intricate wiring system powers the lights, motor, sensors, heating components, locks, and sound system in your vehicle.
To make sure the wiring system in your car is functioning properly, test the switches and controls throughout your vehicle. This includes your interior lights, daytime and bright headlights, brake lights, hazard lights, horn, and turning signals. For a complete inspection of your vehicle’s electrical system, make an appointment with an auto technician to ensure there is no open or short circuit in your car’s wiring.
Check Your Brakes
On an interstate far from home is the last place you want to be if your brakes go out. Eliminate this from happening and take a look at the condition of your brakes before you head out the door. While many of your car’s parts, like your oil and tires, are easy to replace in a short period of time, fixing brake pads or replacing rotors isn’t a simple job. That’s why it’s important to take a good look at your brakes long before you pack up the car.
Replacing the brake pads on a vehicle is a fairly inexpensive process, but the key is to be proactive and have your vehicle tuned up long before major damage occurs.
Keep Your Car from Overheating
No matter what time of year, it’s wise to check your vehicle’s cooling system before loading up the car for a cross-country trek. Coolant runs through your engine to help regulate the operating temperature. If the level of coolant is below the minimum marker, or your vehicle’s cooling system isn’t performing correctly, your engine is at risk of overheating, which can cause permanent damage to your car. You don’t want that happening anywhere, but especially while you’re far from home.
Lower levels of coolant may also indicate a leak in your cooling system. To eliminate a problem from happening, have a technician inspect your car’s cooling system before you gear up for your trip.
Plan for an Emergency
When it comes to traveling, you can never be too prepared. That’s why it’s important to have a spare tire and emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. Make sure the spare tire is full of air and the emergency kit has all the tools you might need for roadside repairs, especially jumper cables and a jack. Other items to pack in an emergency kit include flashlights, blankets, roadmaps, a first-aid kit, water, non-perishable snacks, and some basic tools.
Depending on the climate in which you’ll be traveling, it’s also smart to carry a small shovel and ice scraper in case an unexpected storm makes its way into the forecast.
Hit The Road with a Car You Can Trust from 199ride.com
No matter how short or long your road trip may be, ensuring a safe experience for your whole family starts with a reliable car. Prepare for your next road trip with a Nicer, Newer™, worry-free vehicle from 199ride.com.