Memorial Day marked the official unofficial start of summer! And that means….ROAD TRIPS!
Vehicles aren’t what they used to be…we have navigation with turn by turn directions, tire pressure warnings, parking assist, sensors all over to warn us when not to change lanes…the list goes on. Even with all of these safety advancements, there is still some work we have to do, especially before a long road trip. Let’s break it down into some quick and easy steps to ensure your car is ready to hit the road this summer.
Do a simple walk-around of your vehicle. Grab another set of eyes and turn your car on. Check that all the lights work–headlights, fog lights, brake lights, turn signals and interior lights. Make sure your windshield wipers are working and are in good shape too!
Inspect your tires. This is an important step, for two reasons. Tires get pretty hot constantly driving on hot asphalt, and are more likely to blow, especially when worn down. Take a good look at the tread on all four tires, if it is shallow or uneven you should ask a professional to either rotate or if needed, replace your tires. You will also see better fuel efficiency with properly inflated tires, which is important on a road trip! (don’t forget to check the air pressure of the spare–in the event you need it you want it ready to go!)
The next few you can do yourself, or if you’re like me, ask a professional. Let your mechanic know you are going on a road trip and would like the following checked and topped off/replaced if necessary:
brake, oil and coolant fluids
Now is also the time while you are at the mechanics to get an oil change…you don’t want that little red oil can light to pop up in the middle of your vacation!
Make sure to create an emergency box if you haven’t already. Include an up to date map (yes, a real paper one. They still make those!), a flashlight with extra batteries, flares, a lighter or matches, a blanket, a medical kit with plenty of band aids and alcohol wipes, and some water. Personally, I also keep some snacks, sun block, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer and Benadryl in mine as well.
Last, but not least, get everyone in the family involved and have a car wash. You’ll be much more comfortable in a clean car with sparkling windows and a fresh interior for your long anticipated road trip!
Taking a couple of hours now to make sure your vehicle is road trip ready can save you a lot of time, money and frustration later on. Now go plan your next road trip!