Are you planning to go on a long road trip? A holiday trip with family and friends is an exciting time: you’ll spend time with special people, get your mind off work, and, more importantly, create memories. Don’t let a vehicle breakdown ruin those happy memories for you.
Before the trip, invest some time in making sure your car is safe to drive and will not give up on you on the road, especially if you’re driving an older car. In this guide, we’ll share with you the important things to check and do before embarking on a journey.
How To Prepare Car For Road Trip
No matter your destination, this checklist will help you prepare your car for a travel adventure and ensure that you have everything before you set foot on the road.
- Check the oil. Check the oil level and when necessary, refill using the type of oil suitable for your car. Consider an oil change to ensure that your engine will keep working as it should.
- Check your car’s battery. If you see any corrosion or if your battery is more than five years old, have it checked by a professional.
- Check your brake. Your car’s brake system is the most important part to check to be safe wherever you go. When your brake is not functioning correctly, you are at greater risk for road accidents. To prepare for a trip, check that your brake pedal is working as it should. It should not be making any noise and should not be difficult to push down. If you notice anything off about your brake system, it’s best to contact a professional for proper diagnosis and repair.
- Check your car’s fluid levels and refill before you hit the road. It is also best to bring at least one container of pre-mix coolant, spare oil, and wiper fluids in case you’ll need them.
- Check tires. Inspect tires for any wear and tear. If you haven’t replaced your car tire in a while, it’s best to replace them before a long trip to avoid the need to replace them while on the road.
- Spare tire and tire jack. Ensure your spare tire is in good condition and your tire jack is working properly.
- Check the engine air filter. Check if your air filter is clean and clean if required. A clean air filter will improve your engine’s performance and fuel efficiency.
- Inspect and replace your wiper blades if needed. Wiper blades that are squealing, shuddering, or smearing are telltale signs that they need to be replaced. Replacing worn-out wiper blades is particularly important to ensure maximum visibility when the weather turns sour.
- Check the lights. Check all headlights and signal lights by turning them on and having someone else confirm that each light is working. Tighten lights that are dim, and replace bulbs that won’t light.
- Clean your car. Cleaning your car’s exterior, particularly the windshield, ensures maximum visibility. You’ll also need to clean your car’s interior to help you easily find the essentials when you need them instead of rummaging through a pile of stuff.
- Roadside emergency supply kit. Keep an emergency kit of supplies such as a rechargeable battery pack and emergency tools, including screwdrivers, pliers, jumper cables, and a reflective triangle
How To Know If Your Car Can Make A Long Trip
After performing the maintenance tasks listed above, make a final check of the following:
- Engine oil is new, and the oil filter is clean
- The tires are in optimal condition
- The tire tread has no bulge or damage.
- Adequate air pressure, not too much and not too low.
- Proper alignment
- Your car’s fluids are in good supply
- The brake system is performing well
- The air filter is clean
- All lights and signals are working properly
- Your car’s battery life is less than five years
- Your wiper blades are in good condition.
If your car passed all these checks, your car is finally ready to take you anywhere you need to go. If it fails one or more items on the list, bringing your vehicle to an auto shop will set you up for a safe trip.