Road Trip Ready: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle

Posted on: August 22, 2016
Road Trip Ready: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle

Whether you’re planning a last minute vacation to end summer on the right note or you’re getting ready to pack up the car to head back to your college campus, you need to prepare your vehicle for the long drive ahead.

Even “minor” issues such as a tire slightly out of alignment can cause major issues once you have hundreds of miles behind you. In order to make the long trip as safe as possible, you’ll want to be sure to that everything is in good working condition. After all, nothing spoils a vacation or the start of a new school year like car trouble on the road.

Below are 5 ways to ensure that your vehicle is road trip ready.

Fill up on fluids. 

Fluids are essential to the proper function of your vehicle. Before embarking on a road trip, you should always make sure all fluids are topped off and clean. Here are the fluids that should be checked/changed/flushed before you leave:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield wiper fluid

Are tires under pressure? 

Your tires have constant contact with the pavement. That means, with long distances and high temperatures and an improperly packed car, they can seriously take a beating. Especially if they are already in bad shape.

So, before your big trip, make sure that the tread on each tire has sufficient traction. Check the tire pressure in each tire – the correct pressure for your vehicle’s tires is found in the owners manual – and ensure that your spare is inflated and in good condition.

Check your lights, wipers, and filters. 

In the excitement of the trip, it’s easy to forget to check the little things on your vehicle. However, for the utmost safety, it’s important you give these a good once over.

Make sure your windshield wipers are new so that you have the best vision possible if a summer storm should hit. Also, ensure that all windows and mirrors are clean and free from cracks.

While you’re at it, be sure to check your headlights and taillights. Broken or burned out bulbs will get a ticket, in most places. Also, broken or dimmed lights hinder your night vision and compromise your safety. Check that they are all functioning, along with blinkers and interior lights.

Your air filter is another easy aspect to forget. However, your engine needs air in order to stay cool and operate effectively. Usually, air filters need to be changed once a year, so, if it’s been a while, be sure to have it checked and replaced if need be.

Do a brake check. 

Fully functioning brakes are absolutely vital for a safe drive. If you hear any squealing or rumbling, or you notice applying the brakes is harder or easier, be sure to have your trusted mechanic look over it.

Even if you haven’t experienced noticeable trouble, if you are going for an oil change or tire replacement, ask to have your brakes looked at. This way any potential issues, such as low brake fluid, can be caught before your long haul.

Avoid a dead battery. 

The last thing you want, on a road trip, is a dead battery. Batteries generally last between three and five years. If you’re unsure where your battery is along its lifeline, or you know it’s several years old, it’s a good idea to get it checked.

Testing your car battery is simple, as any auto repair shop or auto parts store can give you a reading within a few seconds. Understanding where your battery is in its natural lifeline will prevent any potential no-starts during your trip.

If your battery happens to read a low charge, it’s a good idea to go ahead and replace it. You don’t want to run the risk of becoming stranded. If your battery is fully charged, just be sure to clean away any corrosion (white, ashy substance) and ensure that everything is tightly in place.

Before you hit the road, make sure you give your vehicle a decent check up. A car in good working condition is reliable on the road and keeps you safe. For a tune up, oil change, tire repair, or any other of your vehicle maintenance needs, be sure to stop by Action Gator Tire.

As a family owned and operated business for over 50 years, we strive to bring quality, integrity, and value to all our customers. With 26 convenient locations throughout Central and South Florida, as well as the Gulf Coast, you have no excuse not to get your car checked out before hitting the road!