Planning a road trip take a lot of effort. It requires a fair amount of thought, research, and preparation. You must make all the necessary arrangements, map a driving course, pack, and more. But many drivers tend to forget another important safety aspect of road tripping, which is car care. Simply topping of the gas tank and re-filling windshield wiper fluid won’t suffice. And buying air fresheners won’t either. Not only must you prep yourself and your belongings for a road trip, you must also mechanically prepare your vehicle. Continue reading to learn how to prepare your car or truck for an extended drive.
Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection
Before planning a road trip with your personal vehicle, it is important to first determine just how “ready” your car is for long distance driving. A simple pre-road trip inspection should do the trick. You can choose to do it yourself, or hire a licensed mechanic to do it for you. By finding small problems and having them repaired before your trip, you can greatly reduce the chances of experiencing costly mechanical problems on the road. This avoids a long list of safety hazards, inconveniences, and unexpected expenses.
What to Inspect:
Check all vehicle filters and fluids. Fluids include motor oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and battery fluid. Replenish necessary fluids and replace old or dirty filters wit new ones. You may need a licensed mechanic for help with this part of the inspection.
Check all hoses and belts for signs of damage or deterioration. Look for brittle, cracked, kinked, frayed, or loose belts and hoses. These are critical to your vehicle’s electrical system and should be repaired before a long road trip.
Check the brake system. Be sure the battery connection is clean, well-fit, and free of corrosion. Check brake pads and replace worn or old ones.
Check the vehicle’s alignment, tires, and tire pressure. Get a tire rotation and balance, as well as an alignment if these areas are of in any way.
Check all exterior vehicle lights, including brake lights, hazards, parking lights, and more. Replace bulbs and fuses as necessary.
Check your gas cap. Be sure it is damage-free and secure.