Road trips are a fun adventure, particularly when you’re with close friends and family. But being on the road can be long and exhausting, especially if your car isn’t in the best shape. It might cause you unnecessary trouble, such as breaking down while driving, or worse unfortunate road accidents. More so, if you’re traveling long-distance, it may also mean that you might not have easy access to mechanical shops. This can put you in a challenging situation, especially if your car suddenly broke down in the middle of nowhere.
As such, performing maintenance before your scheduled trip can help spare the inconvenience of breakdowns, allowing you to have a smooth road trip. And although you can’t control everything that happens to your car while you’re on the road, it’d still be best to take the necessary precautions to help ensure your safety.
With that said, this article will outline insights to help you get your car ready for a long trip.
Check Your Car Fluids
To start, fluids are essential in ensuring the smooth running of your car. If you’ve been using your car for a while now, then the chances of replacing them are high. This means you need to check your car’s fluid levels before going on your trip.
Here are some of the essential car fluids you need to check before going on the road:
Having sufficient engine oils for your car can help it run efficiently without experiencing friction from parts due to a lack of lubrication. And if you have gotten your oil changed before, use a dipstick to check the oil level and condition. More so, if you find that your oil is black and has a grainy fill, you may need to have it checked by a mechanic before beginning your journey.
This fluid is responsible for the smooth running of its transmission, including gears, clutches, and valves. So, if your car has low transmission fluid, it may impede the shifting gears. And in some cases, a low fluid may result in overheating and transmission failure. As such, it’s essential to maintain it, whether you’re just going on for a quick drive, and even so, if you’ll be on the road for a long period.
But, if your car starts to show symptoms of transmission problems, such as leakage, or perhaps, difficulty in shifting gears, consider bringing it to a mechanic and have it checked. To learn more about this, you can check out this guide.
The coolant or a radiator fluid is also important as it ensures that the radiator is working well enough to cool down the engine and helps prevent it from freezing during cold seasons.
Inspect Your Car’s Tires
Tires are another part of the car that’s very important and need thorough checking, especially when traveling long distances. To begin, check the pressure of the tires to ensure it has the proper inflation pressure that won’t cause tire damage and fuel economy.
One way to inspect your tires is by ensuring that the tread depth is sufficient and not worn out by looking for flat spots on the used tires and the spare. Remember to look for cracks, splits, bumps, bulges, and in case of any, take your tires to your nearest tire professional.
Check The Condition Of Your Car’s Wiper Blades
The weather can easily change, especially if you are on the road long and may need your windshield wipers to avoid the rain. Ideally, if you haven’t replaced your blades in six months, then this might be the best time to do it.
If you proceed with terrible blades, you may experience reduced visibility due to the streaks and smears formed. Check your blades for any wear, cracks, or tears, and pull them on to ensure they’re well secured.
Additionally, ensure that you’ve replaced the windshield washer fluid to guarantee a clean windscreen when traveling in dusty areas.
Assess Your Car’s Brakes
Brake pads are essential components in providing the friction needed to slow down and stop your car. By checking your brake pads, you can make your trip safer as you can be assured that they aren’t worn out and can function properly, should the need to use them arise.
You’ll also need to check the brake fluid and top up if they are low or replace it with a new one. These fluids will be instrumental in ensuring that the breaks are working, making it very important as you never know when you’ll need your breaks.
Examine Your Car’s Battery
Your car battery needs maintenance once in a while to ensure it’s running efficiently. You can check your state of charge on top of the battery itself. Also, ensure that the battery top is clean and free of dirt and grime.
Look at the cables, clamps, and screws for any breakage and ensure that it’s in good shape by applying a coat of temperature grease. Look at the state of charge regularly and ensure that its connection is well done.
Check Your Emergency Supplies
Encountering an emergency on the road during a trip can happen to anyone, and as such, you need to be prepared and equipped with essential car supplies.
For instance, you need to prepare and bring with you a spare tire in case one of your current tires gets busted while you’re on the road. A jack can come in handy, too, especially when changing a flat tire. You can also carry a small toolbox with all the essential items you may need. Additional items may include jumper cables, oil, a car repair guide, a gas can, and a funnel.
The Bottom Line
Preparing for a long trip includes getting your car in tip-top shape to ensure not just a smooth and trouble-free trip you’ll enjoy and remember, but more so, to ensure that you and your companions, as well as other pedestrians on the road, are safe.
You can do the maintenance checks mentioned in this article yourself, but to be on the safe side, consider getting your car checked by a professional as well.