With the family out of school for summer break that means everyone is itching to go do something. How about a family road trip? Just make sure your car is ready for the journey before hitting the road.
The easiest way to insure smooth driving on your road trip is to let a mechanic perform a full safety inspection on your vehicle. Schedule your inspection about a week before your road trip. Here is a list of things to check off your list to make sure you safely make it from point A to point B.
- Tire pressure
- Tire wear (check for uneven wear, tread wear)
- Brake inspection (brake pads and brake fluid)
Have a technician check for worn or damaged parts. They will be able to tell you if new shocks or struts are needed.
One of the most common vehicle failures during a road trip (besides tires) is cooling system failure. Have a technician evaluate the fluid and parts.
Transmission services are very important before a road trip because any transmission problems faced during your road trip will take a lot of time and money to fix.
Heating and Air Conditioning
If your heater or AC isn’t working like it used to, have a service consultant check that as well. There is nothing worse than no AC in hot weather.
Replacements and Adjustments
If some of these items passed your safety check, then replacement or adjustment isn’t needed. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if something is recommended, you should do it as a precaution.
- New tires
- Rotate and balance tires (by a professional)
- Alignment service
- Coolant replacement
- Oil change
- Engine air filter
- Fuel system cleaning
- Routine tune up
- Power steering service
- Differential service
- Timing belt replacement
- Windshield wiper blade replacement
Emergency Roadside Kit
You never know what may happen on the trip, so it is good to be prepared for setbacks. Include these items in your emergency kit:
- Water (a gallon per person is recommended, but would take up a lot of room)
- Food (protein bars and quick snacks)
- Change of clothes
- Road flares
- First Aid kit
- Flashlight and batteries
- Spare set of keys in case you lose or misplace your main set
- Walking shoes (for each member of the family in case you have to walk for help)
- Disposable camera
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Trash bags
- Baby wipes
- Disinfecting wipes
- Water filter
- Rain ponchos
- Emergency radio
- Duct tape
Make sure to have your car warranty, insurance, and contact information on hand in your glove box. Also, pack smart and check your vehicle’s load capacity. This is usually printed on the door placard inside the driver’s door.
By taking these steps, you will reduce the probability of encountering any problems and delays on your road trip. Problems can’t always be avoided, but you can definitely reduce the risk of car problems putting a damper on your summer road trip.
– By Stephen Reynolds, Editor