Get Your Car Ready for a Roadtrip
June 16, 2010
Summer road trips can be a lot of fun, driving across country with friends or family is an experience you won’t likely soon forget. Getting your car ready for a road trip can help make it a more enjoyable experience by hopefully avoiding any car problems on the way.
One thing many people don’t think about when going on a roadtrip are the hidden costs of wear and tear on your vehicle. Many times the immediate cost of driving is cheaper than buying plane tickets for your whole family but you are putting miles on your car.
Below are 10 things you can do to get your car ready for a roadtrip and help prevent those extra miles from turning an expensive roadside emergency.
1) Check your Tire Pressure. The appropriate level should be listed in your manual and usually on a label inside yor driver’s door. Properly inflated tires won’t save you as much as driving a fuel efficient car but they can help. One other way to save some money on gas is to use a gas credit card.
2) Align your Tires. Having your tires aligned will reduce uneven wear and make your tires last longer. If you’re about to put hundreds or thousands of miles on your tires, an alignment will give them a longer life.
3) Rotate your Tires. Rotating your tires every 5000 miles also will distribute the wear on your tires and make them last longer. Even inflated and aligned tires can still have uneven tread usage, rotating your tires will prolong their life.
4) Brake Check. While the mechanic has your tires off, have them check your brakes. If your rotors or brake pads need replacing, now’s a better time to do it than the middle of your road trip.
5) Check Coolant Levels. Driving for long periods in the hot summer weather will really heat up your car and can do some major damage to your engine. Repairs for an overheating car can be expensive, when I was younger my car overheated and cracked the head gasket.
6) Change Engine Oil. Depending on the age of your car and the oil you use, oil changes are recommended every 3K – 5K miles. Even if you had your oil changed recently, it’s smart to check your oil level before you leave on a road trip. New engines are very expensive, if you don’t have enough oil in your car you could end up spending thousands of dollar on an engine.
7) Check Windshield Wipers & Fluid. Being able to see where you’re going is a pretty important detail when you’re driving. Replace old wiper blades and fill up the windshield wiper fluid so you can keep you windshield clear in summer rain storms.
8 ) Fill Power Steering Fluid. Have you ever tried to steer without power steering, not very safe. Power steering fluid is necessary to make the steering system operate, make sure it’s full.
9) Add Brake Fluid. If your brake fluid is low, you can add more in the resivoir under the hood. If you haven’t had your brake fluid flushed in the last 30,000 miles ask your mechanic about it.
10) Check Transmission Fluid. Keeping your automatic transmission fluid clean will help your transmission last longer. Car makers used to recommend changing it every 60K miles but now they’re suggesting you do it more often, more along the lines of 30K miles.
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid any unpleasant or costly emergency repairs in the middle of your travels. Have fun on your road trip!
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All posts by Ben Edwards