Getting ready for your summer road trip is fun and exciting, but it can also require a bit of work on your end to get your car in road trip-ready-condition and to make sure you have a safe trip. Spending a little extra time to ensure your car is in good working condition can save you in the long run.
Regular maintenance is something you should keep up on anyway, but it’s extremely important when you’re traveling hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. There are a few maintenance tasks to do prior to hitting the road, so that you can focus on having fun.
1. Get an Oil Change
The most obvious thing you should do before a long road trip is get your oil changed. If it’s been a while or you haven’t done it since the winter months, it’s recommended that you also get the oil filter changed. You could change the oil yourself, but it is often easier to leave it to the professionals.
There are quick service centers that specialize in changing oil and oil filters in less than 10 minutes, so it won’t interfere with getting ready for your trip. Typically an oil change costs anywhere from $30 to $60, depending on the type of oil and filter your car requires.
2. Check Your Tires
There are a couple things you should check on before you start on a road trip when it comes to your tires, correct pressure and wear and tear. If your tires are newer, you’ll want to make sure they’re inflated to the proper PSI, which can be found in your owner’s manual or inside the door jamb.
If your tires’ tread is unevenly worn, bulging, or missing, you should have them replaced. Driving on worn out tires is dangerous and could cause a blowout or car accident, then you will end up needing help from an auto accident lawyer Bay Area, which will cost you in the long run.
3. Get Your Brakes Checked
Driving for extended periods of time can wreak havoc on your brakes. Most quick service stations can inspect your brakes when you get your oil changed. You should also ask them to check your brake fluid and make any adjustments if it’s too low or needs replacing.
4. Check the Belts, Hoses, Filters, and Fluids
Your car’s engine consists of numerous working parts such as belts and hoses that need proper lubrication from fluids to keep them running properly. Over time, these parts can wear out and fluids need replacing.
Filters get dirty and clogged. Belts loosen or become worn and brittle. Malfunctioning or deteriorating parts can cause your engine to overheat or completely break down. Replacing dirty filters can save you money on fuel economy and repairing worn parts can ensure your vehicle is safe to drive.
5. Check Windshield Wipers
Imagine getting in a patch of rain on a long stretch of highway and discovering your windshield wipers are useless. It would be impossible to drive and you would end up having to pull off the road until the rain stops. Most car parts stores will replace them free of charge when you purchase a new set.
Overall, the small car maintenance tasks you should do before going on your summer road trip are the basics. It will cost you a little extra, but the peace of mind of knowing your car is safe for you and others on the road is priceless.