Whether it’s for business or for pleasure, traveling by car to a distant location is a common activity for most people. Those trips typically involve a lot of planning for hotels, meals, activities, and what to pack. What sometimes gets overlooked is getting the vehicle ready to go. These four tips will have your transportation in shape for the drive.
Check the Tires
Bad tires can lead to hydroplaning incidents or even blowouts, either of which could prove very dangerous to your family. Make sure your tires have adequate tread and no signs of bulges, uneven wear, or cracks. Check pressure the night before you leave and again just before departure to make sure no air has been lost. If the vehicle pulls to one side as you drive, have the alignment checked and corrected.
Top Off Fluids
There are a number of fluids that are essential for safe, reliable operation of your vehicle. This includes much more than gasoline. Check the oil level. Make sure that it’s full and that the oil is clean. While the engine is cool, check the radiator to make sure it’s full of antifreeze. After it’s been driven a few miles, check the transmission fluid. If you see any leaks of any of these materials, get them checked before you head out.
Protect Your Windshield
Visibility is essential to safe driving. Give your windshield a good cleaning before you leave and check the condition of your wiper blades. If they’re cracked or warped, replace them. Make sure you have enough windshield washer fluid in the tank. If your trip takes place during cold weather, be sure to take an ice scraper and brush–and to store them where they won’t be covered by luggage. Take a quick trip to an auto glass repair shop if you need any window replacements before your trip.
Check All Lights
Blown lights can cause all sorts of problems. Lack of turn signals or brake lights can cause an accident, get you a ticket, or both. Poor headlight performance can make it tough to see at night, as can bad backup lights. Take a few minutes to try all these lights–low beams, high beams, turn signals at all four corners, both backup lights, all three brake lights, and both tail lights. It’s also a good idea to check interior lights like the map lights and those in the trunk or cargo area. Get any blown bulbs replaced before you start your trip.
There’s always a chance of a breakdown with any vehicle on any trip, but when you’ve prepared ahead of time, the chances of staying on the road are much better.