When you are planning a road trip, you are worried about making sure that you have all the right clothes for the trip, your electronics are all fully charged, and you have the directions of where you're going. However, some don't plan for potential breakdowns. Just like you may go buy a new outfit or get your hair or nails done before heading out on vacation, you also need to give your car a full check-up and prepare it for the trip. Here are a few things to do:
1. Check Your Fluids--All of Them.
From your brake fluid and transmission fluid to your windshield washer fluid and antifreeze, it all needs to be checked. If your oil hasn't been changed recently, it's a good time to do it. If any of the fluids are low, top them off. You should also buy an extra bottle or two of each type of important fluid and store in the trunk in the event that you need them and can't get to a service station quickly.
2. Inspect the Tires--Tread and Tire Pressure.
Most people know to check the tread of the tires before heading out on a trip, but you want to pay a bit closer attention to your tires than just that. Look for any bald spots, bulges or knots and protruding wires. If you see any of these things, you need to buy a new tire before the trip. Otherwise, you are increasing your risk of a blowout. Also, don't forget to check the tire pressure, as under-inflated tires can reduce your per-gallon mileage rate.
3. Inspect Your Windshield Wipers.
While you may have checked the weather and there is no rain in the forecast, the weather can change at any time with barely a moment's notice. If your windshield wipers look worn out and don't provide a smear-free view, then you need to replace them. It only takes a few minutes, and it's an expensive maintenance task, but it will help improve your view of the road and other vehicles if it does start pouring.
4. Check the Brakes.
When it comes to your vehicle's braking system, you need to keep it in tip-top shape at all times. The more worn out your brakes are, the longer it is going to take for you to stop your vehicle in a hurry if necessary. Therefore, it is crucial that you inspect your brake pads before heading out on a trip. If the pads are less than 1/4-inch thick, they need to be replaced. This is particularly true if you will be traveling an extended distance or in the mountains where the brakes will be used much more frequently than on the typical highway.
The last thing you want is to end up on the side of the road broken down when you're supposed to be on the road, traveling to your destination. Follow the above tips and contact a repair shop to perform a full inspection on your vehicle because there is a lot more to preparing your car than the aforementioned. It's better to be safe than sorry, and an ounce of prevention now can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe (and off the side of the road!). Oh, and don't forget your GPS!
For professional auto repair services, contact a company such as Mid-Atlantic Muffler & Brake.