Summer road trips are meant to be an adventure, exploring unknown territory to get to your destination. It can be cheaper to drive than fly, but driving requires more planning. What’s the best route, how will you fit all the luggage and is the car in tip-top shape to endure the trip? Maintenance should begin on the vehicle you’re taking weeks before the trip, whether it’s an old or new model. Keep the following checklist in mind.
Check the Oil and Fluids
Your engine oil should be changed according to the manufacturer of your vehicle. If you’re close to the recommended mileage, definitely have it changed before your big trip. Fresh oil lubricates the engine, allowing for a better performance, which you will need for a long distance. Other fluids to check include transmission and coolant, to prevent overheating.
Inspect the Belts and Hoses
If your car is old, it will have multiple belts to run air conditioning, power steering and other devices. Newer models have one large belt that you should check for cracks and signs of detachment. Your radiator and heater hoses should not be leaking any water or appear as though they’re about to burst. You can keep a patch kit on hand for emergencies.
Examine the Tires
Properly inflated tires are extremely important for the safety of your ride. If the tire pressure is too high, it could lead to a blowout, but if it’s too low, you could be wasting fuel at a much quicker rate than normal. Tread is also a consideration – do your tires have good traction? In all weather conditions, you want your tires to grip the road securely, so check for bald areas.
Test the Brakes
Brakes are essentially your lifeline when you’re behind the wheel. Stop time and efficiency can be the difference between avoiding and getting into an accident. Have the brake pads inspected for wear and the system flushed. A brake system flush will remove any contaminants that are restricting the flow of fluid, resulting in smoother braking.
Assess the Battery
Check your car’s battery for corrosion and make sure that the cables are secure. If the battery is more than three years old, it’s recommended that you replace it before a long trip.
Ensure that the windshield wipers, exterior lights and car horn are all working properly. Don’t leave without your registration, proof of insurance and owner’s manual in the glove compartment, as well as your driver’s license. When loading the car, remove any items that you don’t need, as extra weight uses more fuel. Pack everything evenly so that all weight is properly distributed throughout the vehicle.
If you’re heading off on a summer road trip, the professionals at DaSilva’s Auto Body can perform a full diagnostic check on your vehicle and make sure that all maintenance is up-to-date. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.