What is summer without a road trip? Whether it’s a few hours or a few days, it’s important to check your car before you depart to keep you safe while you drive. While it might make a good story later, breaking down on a freeway in the middle of nowhere can be stressful at best and seriously harmful at worst. While there is no way to predict what others will do or when something on your car will suddenly break, there are a few steps you can take to keep your car as safe as possible.
Check Your Oil
Before you leave, check the level of your oil. If it is low, add extra oil to bring it up to where it should be. If it’s close to when you need to change your oil, go have it done before you leave. Changing your oil is easy and relatively inexpensive and can help your car run more efficiently.
Check your Brakes
If you don’t know when your brakes were last changed, take it to a mechanic and have them look at them. If your break pads are worn down, it can prevent you from stopping as quickly as you might need to. Additionally, if your break pads are worn down too much, it can cause damage to other parts of your car, which will end up costing you more money down the road.
Check Your Tire Tread
If you take your car to the mechanic before your trip, have them check the wear on the tires. If they are getting too worn, it might be time to get new tires. Old tires will prohibit your car from handling as it should and won’t have as good of traction. Also, if you haven’t rotated your tires recently, now would be a good time to do it.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Your tires have a specific PSI that they need to be at, which should be stated directly on the tire itself. Be sure to make sure each one of your tires is filled up to that PSI. If they are flat, they can explode easier, which can create a dangerous situation. Additionally, if your tires are flat, even just a little bit, it can have an effect on your gas mileage.
Use Premium Gas
Although it’s more expensive, using premium gas can keep your engine running it’s best. If you are going to be driving several hours each day, your engine is going to be working extra hard. Using a premium gasoline is like giving your car better food, helping all it’s parts function better.
Clean Your Car
While cleaning your car might not have a direct effect on the performance of your vehicle, it can keep you safe. Cars get dirty when you take them on road trips, and when your windows get dirty, it can make it more difficult to see out of them than if they are clean. By cleaning your car before you leave, it gives you a better starting point. Whenever you get gas, you should clean your windows as well to keep them clear.
While these are some things you should check on your own, it never hurts to take your car to a mechanic to make sure there isn’t anything major that is breaking or could break soon.
Keeping your car well-maintained will ensure you have done everything you can to keep you and your family safe while you take a road trip. Happy travels!