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How to Prep Your Car for a Road Trip

With summer just around the corner, you’re probably like me and are planning a relaxing getaway – one that requires a lengthy road trip. To avoid ending up like those stranded on the shoulder with their flashers on, be sure to take the time to provide your vehicle with some basic maintenance (note: some things will require the attention of a competent mechanic). Here are some of the basics to check prior to hitting the highway:

Fluids: Just as your body requires fluids to operate, your car needs certain fluids to function properly. Make sure you have proper levels of the following fluids to make for a smooth and safe ride (some of these have filters that should be assessed as well):

  • Gas
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Engine Oil
  • Brake Fluid
  • Antifreeze
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Windshield washer Fluid
  • Radiator Coolant

Tires: Always ensure you have enough air in your tires, amounts vary depending upon external temperatures (summertime requires more air than colder months). Also, make certain you have an adequate amount of tread on each tire and that you have your spare with you (also full of air and with adequate tread).

Batteries, brakes and air filters are among other necessary items to inspect before driving off into the sunset. Although your car battery charges while your vehicle is running, if it is near the end of its life, you may want to consider replacing before you’re forced to after learning the hard way!

Always have extra fuses and fluids on hand and keep an “emergency kit” handy containing the following items:

  • Flashlight & Batteries
  • Knife
  • Jumper Cables
  • Duct Tape (yes, duct tape – you’d be surprised)

Though running through a checklist such as this can be somewhat of a pain and is certainly time-consuming, you will be glad you did it, take it from someone who knows what happens when these things are not assessed before a road trip! Now that you and your car are prepped for the road ahead, it’s time to load up and head out! Start your engines and enjoy the ride folks!