Ensuring your vehicle is in its prime condition is essential when planning a road trip, as long drives come with unique challenges. Before hitting the road, here are a few preparatory maintenance measures you need to perform on your car to guarantee it operates at its highest level.
Clean your vehicle
Cleaning your car before a long drive not only ensures your passengers’ comfort but can also help enhance fuel economy and improve your driving. Check your vehicle’s car manual for instructions to ensure you use proper cleaning tools and products. Remove clutter that can add unnecessary weight to your car and vacuum the interiors.
Check the seats for trash and clean the floor mats, as they tend to accumulate dirt and other debris. Disinfect the dashboard and wipe the windows using a microfiber cloth. If you have children, sanitize the car seats and clean them accordingly. You can also install backseat fans for the baby to help keep them comfortable inside the car.
Inspect your tires
Your tires’ condition is vital to your vehicle’s overall performance. Before your trip, check your tires’ air pressure, including your spare one. Make sure it matches the recommended vehicle pressure indicated in the owner’s manual or on the sticker inside the front side door. Examine all tires for signs of damage and check the tread depth to determine if you need to replace your tires.
Another essential maintenance task you need to perform is to check your car’s engine oil and see if it needs changing. Regularly changing your engine’s oil helps protect your vehicle and increases its lifespan. Remember that your engine’s oil acts as your vehicle’s lifeblood, so ensuring its quality and condition should be a priority.
Check your brakes
While brake failure is rarely the cause of vehicular accidents, a defective brake can still lead to life-threatening injuries. Before your road trip, make sure to check your brakes for any signs of malfunctions. Some red flags you need to watch out for include leaking fluid, squeaking or grinding noises, brake light on, scraping or vibration when braking, burning smell while driving, vehicle bounces with abrupt braking and unbalanced stopping.
Refill the fluids
Aside from the engine’s oil, you should also inspect all fluid levels, including the power steering fluid, transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid, coolant, and brake fluid. Top them off as needed to ensure your vehicle performs optimally. You can accomplish this task independently, as it is relatively easy to do.
Test your vehicle’s battery
Your driving habits and location’s climate conditions can significantly affect your car battery’s lifespan. Look for warning signs of a bad battery, including clicking sounds, dimming headlights, slow engine crank and turnover, and electrical accessories malfunction. Bring your vehicle to a trusted service center to have the battery tested and replace it if necessary.
Preparing your vehicle is crucial for a safe and successful road trip. If you’re hesitant to do these maintenance tasks on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for professional help.