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Road Trip Reminders: How to Prepare Your Car for the Road

Whether you are planning on a leisure trip for your family or looking forward to going on a solo drive to get out of town this summer, it is vital to prepare your vehicle to make sure you can safely get there—and back.

The first thing to consider is getting the appropriate vehicle for the kind of trip and destination you have in mind. If you are planning on a relaxing trip or beach-hopping, a minivan should be perfect. But if you are looking forward to an off-road adventure, you might want to consider getting a truck. Go check out a local truck dealership near you.

Next is to ensure that your vehicle won’t fail you by checking the following things:

Tires

Checking the tire must be done daily, even more so when the car is bound for a long trip. Tires are the only parts of a car that come in direct contact with the road. That is why it is crucial to specially care for them and ensure they are inflated to the proper pressure, able to rotate well, and not punctured all the time.

Check the tire pressure. A cold tire gives a more accurate pressure reading than when it is heated—caused by the friction from driving—so do it first thing in the morning. Make sure it matches the suggested pressure. Checking the tire every month is a good rule of thumb, but when on a road trip, it is better to check it more often.

Examine the tire tread. Part of its job is to get a strong grip on the pavement during treacherous events. Make sure the treads have no visible damages like cuts and cracks, and its depth can last throughout the whole trip.

Have a look at your wheel alignment and its rotation. Misaligned tires cause imbalance weight, and it can become a major problem when your car goes on at high speeds. So before your trip, secure the car’s proper rotation and balance to keep the drive smooth.

Lastly, do not forget about the spare tire. It must be road-ready like the mounted ones, so you too can be prepared if you need it.

Fluids

Car fluids play a vital role in the operation and longevity of a vehicle. Vehicles require different types of fluids—especially the modern ones—for them to run smoothly. Inspect these fluids to ensure that your road trip will carry on without issues.

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power Steering fluid
  • Air conditioning coolant
  • Brake fluid
  • Washer fluid

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Standard Maintenance

The tires and the fluids are essential, but they are not the only ones a driver must consider. Here are more things you must be reminded of regularly, even more so when preparing for a long drive.

Lights and Signals. To make the light test easier, have someone else check the lights, front and back, while you switch them on and off from the driver’s seat. Make sure that all lights are working properly and not one is burnt out. If there is, replace them before the trip.

Air cabin filters. You and your company will be spending more time inside the vehicle than usual, so you need to make sure all of you can breathe freely with the windows closed. To ensure this, replace air and cabin filters accordingly. The same thing goes with the engine air filter. Your car engine needs some clean air, too.

Battery. The last thing you want to happen is for the battery to run out in the middle of nowhere. It is easier and practical to replace the battery in advance than to call in for a tow service to pick up your broken vehicle.

Emergency tool kit. The worst that could happen is to get stuck on a deserted road with no immediate help in sight. Consider purchasing a car tool kit. They usually come with a wheel wrench, tripod jack, jumper cables, and more.

For someone not so savvy with cars and how they work and all, save yourself from the hassle and bigger problems by taking it to the experts and ask for a tune-up.

Preparing for a road trip should not stop with an itinerary and a car; there are many things that still need to be done in case of unforeseen situations. Even the smallest detail of your car should be taken into consideration because they can make or break your long road trip.

You can still think of more things to add to this list, like cleaning the car, reviewing your car’s license plate sticker, and learning how to change flat tires, but the reminders listed here are all non-negotiable.

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