You've got the routes laid out, the gas tank full, and you're ready for your next big adventure. But before you embark on the road trip of a lifetime, it's essential to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the long drive ahead. Cross a few things off of your road trip car maintenance checklist with these tips.
1. Check Your Engine Oil and Other Fluids
Even though you can't prevent every car issue, checking the fluids in your vehicle is a great place to start. Your car's many fluids, including motor oil, coolant, transmission and power steering fluids, all play critical roles in your vehicle's ability to function. It's important to have your vehicle fluids exchanged if necessary before a long drive.
For instance, poorly serviced brake fluid can lead to less reactive brakes, while low motor oil can wreak havoc on your vehicle's engine. Give your car's fluids more attention this spring, and help keep your ride driving smoothly no matter how far the destination.
2. Ensure Your Tires are in Great Condition
Poorly functioning tires can affect steering control, lead to an eventual blowout, and can also reduce your vehicle's fuel efficiency — something you don't want on a lengthy road trip.
Before hitting the road, visually inspect your tire tread — which you can do by using the penny method. Check your tire pressure to ensure it meets the recommended inflation levels set by your vehicle manufacturer, and consider getting an alignment and rotation if needed.
Your tires are critical to making your road trip a success. Replace old or worn out tires with all-terrain, fuel-conscious tires from Tires Plus.
3. Check the Brakes
When you check your car before road trips, one of the most critical components to have your brakes inspected. From squealing noises which may indicate worn pads to spongy pedals and low brake fluid, all of these issues can mean it's time for an inspection. Before starting your adventure, have your brakes serviced by an expert technician at Tires Plus, and put a stop to possible brake issues on your long drive.
4. Inspect Your Belts and Hoses
If your belts or hoses haven't been serviced at the recommended intervals expressed by your vehicle's owner's manual, it's time to give these a good once over. These critical components are responsible for your vehicle's essential functions (i.e. power steering control, cooling system operation, and electrical performance). Bring your vehicle into a Tires Plus near you for a professional inspection of the belts and hoses for damage by making sure they aren't slack, leaking, or cracked.
5. Check Your Car Battery
If your car battery hasn't been serviced in a while or you notice corrosion, a swollen battery case, or difficulty starting your vehicle, have this checked before beginning your journey. Driving with a bad battery can cause your engine to stop running, lead to alternator issues, and eventually leave you stranded on the side of the road. Stay powered up during your drive by visiting Tires Plus for a free battery inspection.
Additional Items to Put on Your Road Trip Car Maintenance Checklist
- Ensure that all of your car's filters have been serviced and are in good, working condition.
- Replace burnt-out bulbs to avoid traffic violations and dangerous driving conditions.
- Make sure that your air conditioner is functioning properly.
- Have your windshield wipers serviced if they aren't effectively removing water or are leaving streaks on your windshield.
Stay Ahead of Car Trouble with Tires Plus
Ensuring that you have the right tires, fresh oil, and functioning brakes can make all the difference before taking a lengthy road trip, especially if your car’s been sitting in the garage for a while. Visit your local Tires Plus, and we'll give you our honest assessment of your vehicle’s preparedness for cross-country travel.