When headed out on a long road trip, making sure all parts of your vehicle are in working order is very important.
Imagine you’re on a road trip, on a rural back road in the middle of nowhere – miles from the nearest gas station or town – when your vehicle suddenly starts losing acceleration or you get a flat. The sun is going down and the temperature is dropping quickly. With no other cars in sight, you wonder how long you’ll have to wait to get help…
Getting stranded on the side of the road is everyone’s worst nightmare, especially if you have a family in tow. Fortunately, by taking a few simple preventative steps, you can reduce the likelihood of this nightmare turning into a reality.
Extended road trips can significantly impact a car’s performance and efficiency if certain maintenance steps aren’t taken in advance. The process of preparing a vehicle for a long or short trip is typically easy and (in most cases) a relatively small investment.
Schedule a Professional Regular Maintenance Tune-up
Preventative maintenance such as a fluid inspection and an oil change is the best way to avoid mechanical problems on the road during a typical trip. In some situations, paying extra for bonus maintenance perks can be beneficial as well. Many shops offer upgraded services that give consumers:
- Air filter replacements
- Coolant flushes
- Replacement windshield blades
If you’d like to ensure your car is in great shape for your next road trip, Platte City Airport Chrysler can help. Our full service parts and repair department welcomes all makes and models. Schedule an appointment or give us a call today.
Get an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit contains items that can treat injuries and a few basic tools for mechanical tasks. When buying or making a kit, ensure that a bright flashlight is included because proper illumination will help you pinpoint problems underneath the car easier at night.
Check the Battery
If the sound your car makes upon starting is more like a sputter than a roar, you may want to consider buying a replacement battery or at least testing your current one. Another step you can take to prevent battery failure is inspect the terminals thoroughly and clear it of any debris that may negatively affect how efficiently electrical currents travel to vital automotive components.
Inspect the Tires
When checking your tires, ensure the tread is in good condition. If you can see any damage along the tire wall, the entire tire will likely need to be replaced. It is also important to check the air pressure in your tire and fill it up if needed. The appropriate PSI (pounds per square inch) level should be written somewhere on the outside of the tire. Many gas stations offer free or low-cost tire pumps.
Examine the Brakes
Brakes that squeak should be serviced before a road trip because squeaking usually occurs when the pads are getting low or are defective. If the brakes do not make any noises, an inspection may still be a good idea to ensure complete safety throughout the duration of your road trip.
While checking the brake pads, measure the thickness of the material. If a brake pad is very thin, constant stopping has worn away the substance that decreases tire rotation. Since thin brake pads are risky, they must be replaced or repaired.
Check Car Air Conditioning Components
Driving during hot months or through warm locations can be miserable if important air conditioning components don’t function properly. A thorough inspection under the hood and in the cabin can help you pinpoint potential problems that may impact the A/C equipment’s performance and reliability in the warmest environments.
Test the Electronics
It is vital that the electronics in your vehicle operate properly because faulty components can decrease safety on the road, especially at night. Be sure to inspect your brake lights and blinkers. If you’re going to make frequent stops, the locking mechanisms should be inspected as well.
Prepare for a Possible Flat Tire
Although a spare tire can be a lifesaver in the unfortunate scenario of a flat tire, it’s not always a reliable option. Air can escape over time, which is why the spare’s inflated level should be checked before each road trip. Problems can also occur when a jack malfunctions, so you should test the mechanisms to ensure that the tool is functional.
The Open Road Awaits…
If you’ve followed this pre-road trip checklist, then you (and your vehicle) are ready to go! Of course, unexpected issues can always arise, but at least you can rest easy knowing you’ve taken the appropriate precautions to prevent an unplanned pitstop. Safe travels!