Road Trip Car Maintenance Before and After
So you want to go on a road trip, eh? Is your vehicle up to the task? Sure it may look alright, but there could be a couple of things going on under the hood that may bring that great trip you have planned to a quick and expensive end. Whenever planning to travel far, it’s good practice to get your vehicle checked out. Proper car maintenance is a sure way to keep one’s car running well and for a long time. Before going on that road trip, here’s a few things to check, most of which you can do yourself.
Oil and Other Fluids
Getting an oil change is possibly the most important one in our list. A car running without the proper amount of engine oil or old oil is a quick way to turn it into a ball of fire (not really, but you get what we mean). It’s not pretty, and it will cost a lot of moola to fix it. Do the smart thing and get an oil change, or do it yourself if you feel up to the challenge. It’s cheap, can get done in an afternoon, and will give you peace of mind. While we’re at it, also check the engine coolant and brake fluid, or have a professional check them out so we have our main fluids taken care of.
Are the tires in good shape or are they going bald? If planning a road trip, that could mean driving far, and a balding tire won’t last very long, especially if driving through unpredictable terrain. Plus, worn tires can create traction and stability issues in inclimate weather. Check your tires, and if they’re damaged or worn out, it’s best to get them replaced. If they’re doing fine and don’t need any patchwork, then at least make sure they have plenty of air. A drop in tire pressure on a dirt road miles away from civilization is a bit of a buzz kill.
We didn’t think we’d have to put this one on here, but you’d be surprised. They say “common sense isn’t very common”, and we’re sure there’s a few of us out there who thought we had just enough to cruise around town only to end up stalling out. Make sure your car has gas in the tank for the road ahead- fill it up for sure if taking a long drive.
Battery and Diagnostics Check
Last on the list is checking things that may be less obvious. Most of us aren’t mechanics, and car batteries are unpredictable. To make sure your car won’t break down due to a dead battery, stop by an auto store. Most retailers will offer a battery test for free, but there are also devices one can buy to test their car battery themselves. Another device to check out is CarMD; this easy to use gadget can run diagnostics on any car with a computer, and will provide information about car health and the likelihood of future problems before they happen.
All of these maintenance checks should be performed before and after a long trip. Plus, a good wash couldn’t hurt in case you found yourself on a dirt road, or took a Jeep through the mud.