Summer is here, and it’s time for a road trip with the people you love. But before you hit the open highway, you want to be confident that your car can get you there and back safely. Taking time to get routine maintenance on your vehicle before heading out on a road trip will give you peace of mind and save you money on repair bills. Here are nine car maintenance tips to check before going on a summer road trip.
1. Test The Car Battery
This might sound like a given, but it’s easy to take our car battery for granted until it dies when we least expect it. The summer heat is the number one cause of battery failure and reduced battery life. The warm weather accelerates the rate of fluid loss and results in oxidation of battery components, which can leave you stranded without warning.
Take the time to get the car battery tested before you hit the open road this summer. When you know that your car battery is amped up and adequately powered, you can travel safely and without worry this summer.
2. Check Your Tires
Checking your tires before a road trip includes many things. First, ensure the tires are all-seasons, not winter tires. Checking tires also includes inspecting their tread. If the tread is getting low, you may want to invest in new tires before traveling this summer. And before you start your drive, check the tire pressure and know how much air is in the tires.
All these checks will help to ensure that you are traveling on safe and reliable tires this summer. A tire blow-out can be one of the most dangerous things to happen in a car. Taking time to check your tires is one of the easiest ways to ensure your safety before going on a road trip.
3. Change The Oil
Your car’s oil is another small thing that can be important when traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles.
When the oil in our vehicle gets old and dirty, our car does not function properly. And if the oil burns off and the level gets too low, the vehicle will not run at all.
But before you dump oil to your vehicle, consider changing the oil entirely. Changing the oil ensures that you have the right amount, it’s clean and has a fresh oil filter. An oil change will help your car perform well as it logs all those highway miles.
4. Fill Up Other Fluids
While engine oil is an essential fluid in your vehicle, it isn’t the only fluid needed. Your car’s engine coolant, windshield washer fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and water for the radiator are critically important to your safety during your road trip.
Take your car to have the fluids inspected and topped up before you leave home this summer. Having the fluids at the correct levels will keep your car running smoothly, and you and your family safe.
5. Pack An Emergency Kit
You should have an emergency kit in your car at all times. And the further away from home, the more important your emergency kit becomes. If your car breaks down, or if you get into an accident, the pre-packed bag will come in handy.
According to the Red Cross, your emergency kit should include a flashlight, antiseptic wipes, waterproof matches, a whistle, Band-Aids, tweezers, duct tape, and a multi-function knife. You should also include blankets, bottled water, and safety pins. Ultimately, you want to have everything you’ll need to take care of yourself and your loved ones on the road trip if the unexpected happens.
6. Test The Air Conditioning
There’s nothing worse than sitting in a scorching hot car during a road trip only to discover the air conditioning system doesn’t work. Keeping things cool inside the car while summer temperatures rise is a must – especially if you’re traveling with kids or seniors.
Test your vehicle’s air conditioner before leaving on your trip. If you notice anything unusual, the A/C system may need to be cleaned or recharged.
7. Organize Entertainment
Whether you choose music, videos, gaming systems, or books, the people in your car will need something to entertain and distract them while driving hours and hours on your summer road trip. And while beautiful scenery is always nice, it only amuses people for so long (especially kids).
So stock your car with all the entertainment needed to keep everyone who is not driving amused. You can entertain yourself during the drive with some music, an audiobook, podcast, or custom playlist.
8. Clean Your Headlights
Headlights are essential for both day and night time driving. Check your lights so that all bulbs are working, replacing any bulbs that are burned out or dimming. And when you clean your headlights by wiping off the plastic covers, you ensure they’ll shine bright and guide you on your road trip.
Being able to see clearly at night is crucial and can help you drive in an unfamiliar place after the sun has set. If nothing else, bright and clean headlights will help you better read road signs and get to your destination.
9. Check Your Brakes
Is there anything more important when driving than feeling confident about your brakes? When you go on an extended road trip this summer, make sure that your car’s brakes are in the best shape possible. Stop-and-go traffic, long trips, and inclement conditions may have worn out your brakes. And if your brakes are making eerie noises or demanding extra pressure, they could use some fine-tuning.
Checking and servicing your car’s brakes is the most important thing you can do before starting a cross-country road trip this summer. After reviewing your brakes, you can be confident they won’t fail when you need them most.
We can’t guarantee that life or summer road trips will run smoothly, but we can do our best to make sure that our vehicles do. Completing this simple maintenance checklist is the perfect place to start.
At Murray’s Tires, our services are designed to make car maintenance easy, smooth, and safe. Completing your summer car care couldn’t be more convenient!