Summertime is traditionally a time for the great American road trip. In fact, record-breaking nearly 47 million Americans traveled during the July 4th weekend.
There are still several weeks of summer left, and many of you will hit the road, whether for a Labor Day weekend getaway or a longer retreat. You won’t forget to pack your sunscreen, toothbrush, snacks or other road trip essentials, so don’t forget to make sure your car is as ready to travel as you are.
Here are a few tips to get your car ready for your next road trip, many of which can be knocked out by visiting your local mechanic or service center:
Pack Emergency Essentials: Pack an emergency roadside essentials kit which, at the very least, would include jumper cables, coolant, and a flashlight and extra batteries. Check your spare tire and make sure the lug wrench and jack are in good condition.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Roadside Assistance Options: Do you have Triple A? Make sure your membership is up to date. Also, check with your car insurance provider to see if roadside assistance is included. Many auto insurance companies, like Geico, offer policyholders roadside assistance as part of their coverage. Make sure you have these contact numbers and information readily available so you’re not scrambling should you have a breakdown or a flat tire.
Check Your Car Battery: Your road trip can quickly come to a halt if your battery dies. Check your battery life and ensure that it has a good charge. If your battery is corroded, use baking soda and water to clean around the posts.
Change the Oil and Check Fluids. Your oil should generally be changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles anyway, but it’s a great idea to have it checked out before a major road trip.
Check Lights: Are your brake lights in good working order? What about your headlights? Check your turn signals and flashers. Test them out before hitting the highway.
Air Conditioner Check Up: Summer road trips are no fun if your AC goes out. While your car is in the shop, be sure to have the AC checked out, especially for coolant levels. Replace coolant with refrigerant.
Change The Air Filter If Needed: A dirty air filter can affect your vehicle’s performance by allowing less air to get into the engine when needed.
Check Tires: Check your vehicle owner’s manual for the manufacturer recommended tire pressure for all your tires, including your spare. Remember that tire pressure should be checked when the tires are “cold” which means when your car hasn’t been driven for three hours. You’ll also want to check the tread.
Spare Tire: Speaking of tires, you should also have a spare tire. Check to be sure it’s fully inflated before heading out of town!
Check Brakes: Have your local service center check your rotors and brake pads. A worn brake system can be dangerous. If warranted, you’ll want to have new brakes installed if you’re about to go on a major road trip.
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