Going on a Road Trip this Summer? Here’s How to Prepare Your Car for It
Summer is when most families and barkadas plan their out-of-town getaway. Have you booked your destination yet? If you're going to use your personal vehicle to get there, you have to ensure it's in tiptop shape for the trip. You don't want that weird noise or some other problem you've been ignoring to come back and haunt you right in the most inopportune moment, so here's a list of basic car maintenance steps you must perform before you hit the road. Do them all to ensure you and your fellow travelers don’t end up inconvenienced (or worse, stranded) on your way to some fun under the sun.
Check all the fluids in your car
Your car has six essential fluids: engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Keeping them clean and at their proper levels will not only ensure problem-free trip, but will also help your car last longer and drive better.
Inspect the belts, hoses, and wipers
Belts, hoses, and other rubber materials in your car can get brittle with age and use. Tiny cracks in the rubber can eventually lead to breakage, and consequently, massive car failure. Check your timing belt, serpentine belt, coolant hoses, and heater hoses for wear and tear. Replace the wiper blades if needed.
Examine your tires
Even if the rest of your car is in okay condition, if your tires are worn out, you'll find yourself in deep trouble faster than you can imagine. Inspect all tires to make sure you have plenty of tread and no significant wear. Check the spare as well. Confirm that all tires have the ideal amount of pressure. Normally, tire pressure should stay between 32 and 34 psi.
Check the lights
Depending on how long you'll be on the road or what time of the day you plan to hit it, you may need to use your lights frequently. Nevertheless, whether you're going to use them or not, you need to see that all your lights are working. Inspecting the lights is pretty easy--all you have to do see that they're working is to turn them on. On neutral, step on the brakes and have someone confirm that the brake lights work.
Test the air conditioner
Temperatures can get extremely hot on the road in the summer, so the air conditioner needs to do its job if you want to travel comfortably. Turn on your AC and check the temperature. If it isn't as cold as it used to be, it may be time to have your AC serviced by a professional AC technician.
It helps to be a good little boy scout and be prepared for the worst when you’re traveling, because you never know when you'll find yourself in an emergency situation. Before leaving, your vehicle should at least have basic hand tools, flashlight, early warning emergency triangle, tire pump, tire wrench, and tarp for when you need to lie down on the road. When did you last have your vehicle checked by a mechanic? Best to stay on the safe side and have your car undergo periodic maintenance a few weeks before your travel schedule.
Road trips are supposed to be fun. Take these necessary precautions and your summer travel may proceed smoothly with as little hitches as possible.