Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip

Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip

Roadtripping is as American as apple pie. With the Coronavirus in the rearview mirror, Americans are back out on the roads, going on adventures to places they have never been and visiting cities across the country. While public transit is an option, most people opt to take their vehicles for travel, not just for the cost but also for the experience of being out on the open road. 

 

Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip

There are plenty of challenges that can come up when planning a road trip. Some are cheap, while others can be very expensive. One way to ensure that your road trip goes off without a snag is to make sure that your vehicle is ready to go before you head out for your adventure. 

Road Trip Checklist

Before you leave home, make sure to take these steps to protect your loved ones, your trip, and your vehicle.

1. Check Your Fluids

It is safe to say that the fluids and lubricants used in your car are essential. If you are going to hit the road on a long trip, it is very important to check on your vehicle's fluids and change them out if necessary. 

Several essential fluids are important to keep a check on throughout the life of your vehicle, especially when preparing for a road trip. These fluids are:

  • Engine Oil: After fuel, engine oil is your vehicle's most important fluid. It keeps your engine lubricated and cool so that everything moves smoothly. Most vehicles require oil changes from anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 miles. Check your owner's manual to ensure the interval, as it depends on the type of vehicle and oil used. Before you head out on your next road trip, use the dipstick and check the condition of the oil and fill level. If the oil is dirty or below the minimum required line, it’s time to check it out.
  • Radiator Fluid: Because of the high heat that engines produce, radiators are vital parts of your vehicle's system. Radiators use coolant, which extracts heat from the engine and dissipates it throughout the radiator. If your coolant is low, top it off to reduce the threat of overheating.
  • Brake Fluid: One of the lesser thought-about fluids in your vehicle's system, brake fluid is used to compress inside of your brake lines. This pushes the brake pads against the rotors, causing your vehicle to stop. If your brakes are spongy or fluid seems low, top it off or take it in for a brake bleed.
  • Power Steering Fluid: If your steering is tough or not as responsive as it should be, it may be time to change out or top off your power steering fluid. 
  • Transmission Fluid: Your transmission takes power from your engine and transfers it to your wheels. Much like your engine, there are a variety of parts going at high speeds that need to be lubricated. You can check your transmission fluid levels and cleanliness with a dipstick.

2. Check Your Tires

An old man once said to invest in things that keep you off the ground, shoes, mattresses, and tires. There has been a truer statement. Tires keep your vehicle rolling safely, which on a long road trip is very important. When you are preparing for your trip, check on:

  • Tire Air Pressure: The wrong air pressure can cause bad ride quality or poor gas mileage. Make sure to check your pressure every 1,000 miles and fill them with the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Replacement: Overworn tires can cause plenty of problems. You could lose traction in bad weather, or if there is serious damage such as exposed wire, punctures, or bulges, it's time to replace.

3. Repair Body Work

If your vehicle has any dents or dings, now is a good time to go ahead and take your vehicle to a body shop. There is nothing more frustrating than coming back from a grand adventure with rust spots or additional damage due to allowing damage to fester.

Contact First Aid Collision today, and we will get you fixed up before your road trip. 

4. Everything Else

In addition to the previous items to check on, we have put together a quick list of odds and ends to ensure that your car is ready to go.

  • Start your trip with a clean car.
  • Keep a small garbage bag handy.
  • Check your spare tire and tools.
  • Pack a fire extinguisher
  • Have your music and podcasts downloaded
  • Change out the air filter, and cabin air filter
  • “Protect Your Car From Extreme Heat”

With good preparation and a properly maintained vehicle, you can be ready for just about anything on your next road trip. While there are plenty of things that can happen, at the end of the day, “It’s about the journey, not just the destination.”