Due to restrictions on flying and other measures that make traditional vacations more difficult, many Americans are taking road trips this summer. If that’s part of your plan, we highly recommend you bring your vehicle in for an inspection before putting a few hundred (or thousand) miles on your car.
This is especially important if you’ve been staying at home and letting it sit idle for the past few months. As anybody with experience can attest to, spending a road trip with your car broken down on the side of the road is really no fun, and can be avoidable with a pre-trip car inspection. So below is a list of things you’ll want to have checked before you hit the road.
Recommended Vehicle Service For Road Trips
#1: Check All Fluids
An oil change is pretty obvious: if you’re almost due for an oil change, you don’t want your road trip to push your vehicle past its recommended oil change interval. But even if you don’t need a full oil change, it’s worth making sure your oil is filled to the appropriate level.
Similarly, other fluids should be checked, including the brake fluid and power steering fluid. Your braking and steering components are an important safety feature of your car, and they only work properly with clean fluids (and the right amount).
Coolant, of course, is also essential. Making sure your radiator is filled with clean coolant mixed to the proper ratio is a crucial way to help keep you from being that stranded motorist on the side of the highway with the hood popped and steam billowing out.
#2: Inspect the Tires
Tires not only help you stay on the road; they also help you stop when you need to. Bald tires are a huge safety issue, and it’s a terrible thing to find out you need new tires by getting a flat tire hundreds of miles away from home.
Before taking your road trip, find out if your tires have enough tread on them for the number of miles you have in your journey. Also, you should make sure you have the right tires for your destination: if you’re planning on going to a place where torrential downpours are common, it may be worth getting tires that are good in the rain, as long as you’re already going to replace them (if that’s the case).
#3: Check the Air Conditioner and Air Filters
Summer road trips are famous for being miserable for those unfortunate families who have miles and miles to drive through hot climates with a broken (or under-performing) air conditioner. Getting your air conditioner checked for leaks and the proper level of refrigerant is a good way to ensure you stay comfortable while zipping down the highway. If you have a leak, get that leak fixed, and then get the A/C recharged.
Similarly, your ability to stay cool can be affected by clogged air filters, including your cabin air filter, whether your air conditioner is up to full power or not.
#4: Inspect Windshield Wipers and Headlamps
These items, not surprisingly, can also cause major safety issues. If your car has been baking in a hot climate for months or years, and you drive outside your area and get caught up in a rainstorm, it’s vital to your safety that you can see the road. Having old, dried out, or cracked windshield wipers can be dangerous if you don’t realize they’re inadequate until it’s too late.
The same goes for headlamps: have someone inspect the light coming from your headlamps, both the high-beams and low-beams. If you’re normally a daytime driver but you’re going to be spending some time night driving on your trip, this is a quick and easy fix to make sure you can safely drive after the sun sets.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and your mechanic should inspect far more than just what’s listed above. But these four items are some of the most important things that should be inspected before you head out on your road trip. Stay safe on the road!
Going On A Road Trip?
If you’re in Northern Colorado and are planning a road trip but want to make sure your car is worthy of a drive across the country (or the state), contact DeMers Automotive for your road trip service.
Our work is backed by a 24 month/24,000-mile NATIONWIDE warranty, so if you experience any issues on the road, you can stop by any NAPA AutoCare location in the USA and your repairs will be covered.