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May 14, 2015

Getting Your Car Ready For A Long Road Trip

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Summer is a time when families across the country embark on long road trips to get away from it all. However, some have concerns about the ability of their vehicles to make it through long trips, especially if they are getting on in mileage or years.

Car Maintenance Tips

The fact of the matter is, long trips are better for your car than short day-to-day trips, but car problems when far from home can ruin your fan.

Here are a few tips to help you avert common problems when traveling.

  • Check the fluids: Fluids such as oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer, and antifreeze should be checked and topped off or changed, if need be.
  • Do a tune up: If you have not done any maintenance update in the last 3 years, or the mileage is likely to reach 3,000 during the trip, you should consider doing the recommended maintenance for your car. Change the oil and air filter, and check if you need to replace the timing belt (if your car has one).
  • Check to see whether your wipers give a smear-free view when used. If not, consider replacing them before the trip.
  • Car batteries usually last 3-5 years. So, check yours to ensure that it is functioning okay, and the cables are securely attached and free of corrosion.
  • Check the brakes: If you’re planning on driving more than 1,000 miles round trip, or driving in hilly terrain and your brake pads are lower than 50 percent, you should consider changing them.
  • Check your shocks, springs, and struts to ensure they are in good working order, and replace them if necessary.
  • Check to ensure that all lights are working. This includes headlights, taillights, brakes, and turn signals. If you’re driving a motor-home or truck with running lights, ensure that they are also working.
  • Check the tires: tires that are showing any tread wear should be replaced. If the wear is uneven, you should check the alignment, as well. Also, ensure that all tires, including the spare, are inflated to proper tire pressure.
  • Ensure that the check engine light and any other lights in the dashboard are not lit. If they are lit, get the problem fixed before the trip, even if the car seems to be OK.

As with all good measures, it is best that you start preparing your car early: two to four weeks before the road trip. But even with good maintenance, there is no guarantee that you will not experience any auto troubles on the road. So, get a roadside survival kit that includes a flashlight, blanket, and some extra food and water, and keep copies of your car’s insurance, warranty, and contact information for your emergency auto care service in the glove compartment.


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