Check These 6 Things in Your Car Before Any Trip
While your car may be in a decent state for an urban commute, there may be a couple of weak spots in the system. During a road trip, your car will be under more stress than usual and some of these flaws might start showing. For instance, you will drive for longer, travel greater mileage every day and develop greater speeds than usual. In other words, if ever there was time for the vehicle to malfunction, this might be it. To minimize this risk, there are six things you need to check. Here’s how and why.
1. Check your tires
Having a flat tire is something that can happen to anyone. Still, with new tires and tires in proper working order, such a thing is much easier to pull off. There are several ways to access the state of your tires. In terms of mileage, the consensus is that the majority of tires have between 25,000 and 50,000 miles in them. Then again, after 6 years, the natural decay of tire may start kicking in. In general, whichever of the two comes first. Also, it is advised to rotate your tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This way, you will prolong their useful life and stay safe for longer.
2. Level your fluids
Before heading out, you need to make sure that all the fluids in your car are in a satisfactory state. First, you need to pay attention to your engine oil. If it’s a colder part of the year, you should probably add coolant to the mix. Keep in mind that while transmission fluid and brake fluid don’t have to be changed as often, ignoring them completely is a dangerous strategy, one that you should never try. Lastly, you should refill your windshield wiper fluid. This part can determine your ability to see in some of the most difficult weather conditions.
3. Check your brakes
The next thing you need to figure out is whether your brakes are in decent condition for the journey. Keep in mind that during an urban commute, you usually have no way of developing full speed (because of the traffic). Second, you’re taking the same route every single day. On a trip, you will have an open road in front of you and a trail that you don’t necessarily know. According to experts behind One Stop Auto Care, going on a trip without checking your brakes and suspensions means putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
4. Lights and wipers
Even during the warmer part of the year, you have no idea what kind of weather you will encounter on the road. Although the forecast may not show fog or heavy rain, remember that the distance you travel may cross zones. Chances are that you haven’t checked all of them before embarking on this journey. It’s safer to check your lights and fog lights, as well as to replace your wipers. Wipers are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace on your own.
5. Car battery
Dead battery on a road trip is how you spell nightmare. So, before heading out, you need to do a quick inspection. The sign that is the easiest to notice is a slow engine crank. If the vehicle struggles to start, chances are that there’s a problem with the battery. You should also check the engine light and pop up the hood to see if there’s swelling or bloating of the battery case. The safest way is to use the diagnostics or take the vehicle to a professional. Lastly, just because your car battery is in order, this doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go on a road trip without jumper cables.
6. First aid kit
A lot of people tend to forget that their first aid kit has an expiry date. Chances are that you didn’t check for a while and now might be the time to do so. In general, the majority of first aid kits expire in 3-5 years. When you come to think of it, this isn’t that long and it shouldn’t surprise you if the kit that you have in the trunk has already expired. You never know when you’ll need it so try to replace it as soon as possible.
Going on a road trip with a malfunctioning vehicle is nothing else than putting yourself in danger unnecessarily. Keep in mind that just by checking these six categories, you will drastically reduce the likelihood of your vehicle malfunctioning. Sure, this doesn’t mean that you’re 100% safe but it does mean that you won’t suffer due to something that you could have easily prevented. It also means that you will be able to focus on the journey, without having to worry about something trivial (although important) like tires or oil level. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.