With summer comes summer road trips and there is no bigger bummer than your car breaking down when you are supposed to be enjoying a vacation. So make sure your car is ready for your adventure with these 12 steps:
- Check your coolant.
During your road trip your car will be constantly trying to keep itself cool from the summer heat by using the coolant. You will want to make sure that your coolant is working properly so that your engine doesn’t overheat and cause an unplanned and inconvenient breakdown during your trip.
- Check your oil.
The heat of the summer can be tough on your engine. Making sure your oil and oil filter are changed so it can continue to cool the engine as it filters out impurities. This cooling is especially important on long summer road trips as it will keep your engine from overheating when you don’t want your trip to be interrupted by unscheduled delays.
- Check belt, hoses and timing belt.
An overheated engine or loss of power steering will outright prevent you from finishing your planned road trip. So make sure belts, hoses and, if you have one, timing belt are all prepared for your trip.
- Check your battery.
Make sure you stay safe on your road trip and get your battery checked out. A dead battery can not only stop you from continuing on your trip, it can leave you stranded and waiting for a tow truck in a possibly unsafe situation.
- Check your windshield wipers.
After months of winter, your wipers are probably not in great shape. First, try do a simple wiper cleaning, but if that doesn’t get them in working condition, than its probably time to replace them. You’ll be thankful if you get caught in a summer rainstorm on your trip!
Don’t forget about the wiper fluid, you’ll want it refilled to make sure you are prepared to be able to see the entire trip.
- Check your breaks.
One of the most important things for your summer road trip is having working and safe breaks. Before a long road trip you should always get your brakes checked but especially if they are making noise or requiring you to put extra pressure on them in order for your car to stop.
- Check your air pressure.
Make sure your tires are ready for your road trip, this is something you can even do yourself. There should be a guide for you in your owner’s manual or a sticker on the body where the driver’s door shuts. The pressure measurement on your tire is the max it should be, make sure you don’t exceed that amount.
- Check your tire wear.
The heat on tires during long trips can cause them to wear down quickly and can cause a blowout. This is also something you can do yourself with a penny or tread gauge.
You need to make sure you have at least 1/16th” or 1.6mm tread left. If the tread is less than 1/12th” or 2.5mm you should consider replacing your tires for long trips. If you would like to try to check your wear with a penny insert it into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head than your tread is less than 1/16th”.
- Check your air filter.
Looking to get better gas mileage on your road trip this summer? Changing your air filter if its clogged can increase the efficiency of your engine so change it before you head off and you’ll get better gas mileage on your entire trip.
- Wash your car.
This will not only make sure your car is clean and comfortable for you on your trip, it will also make sure your windows are clean for good visibility keeping you and your road trip companions safe.
- Check lights and signals.
Recruit a friend and make sure all of your turn signals, headlights, tail lights and reverse lights are working. If a light is out, make sure you replace it. Changing bulbs can take time in newer cars so make sure not to leave this to the last minute.
- Make sure all your emergency equipment is inside your car and that it all works properly.
Make sure you have an emergency kit put together, this includes: an up-to-date map, cell phone, spare tire, flashlight, screwdrivers, pliers and an adjustable spanner. For longer road trips make sure you also include worse case scenario equipment such as flares, medical kits and fire extinguishers.