Repairing Your Car

3 Tips To Prepare Your Vehicle For An Upcoming Road Trip

Whether you are driving to a beach in the same state or heading to a theme park across the country, road trips are a popular type of vacation. As a matter of fact, an estimated 69 percent of Americans consider a road trip the most popular type of travel. While excellent for spending time with the family and seeing all the different sites, road trips can also place a great deal of stress on your vehicle. Without proper maintenance and repairs on your vehicle, you may be left stranded or in danger while driving to your vacation destination. Here are a few tips to ensure your vehicle is ready to handle your upcoming road trip.

Change your Oil

Every manufacturer has their own recommendations for when to change the oil, so contact your dealership or read the owner's manual for this information. If your oil appears dirty and discolored or you approaching the recommended mileage for an oil change, make sure to schedule this service before your road trip.

Old oil will be worn and full of sediment, causing your engine to work harder to run your vehicle. Without the correct amount of oil, the engine will lack the healthy lubrication it needs to run the vehicle in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Check your Coolant

The oil in your engine is not the only fluid in your vehicle you should be focusing on. As you drive your vehicle, the engine heats up and burns fluids. Over time, this can cause the total volume of the fluids to decrease, reducing the operation and efficiency of your vehicle.

This occurs most commonly in your radiator, since the engine causes the coolant to burn off. Driving at high speeds in the warmer temperatures of the summer months will also increase how quickly coolant burns off, so checking the levels before you embark on your road trip is imperative.

To reduce the risk of  your car overheating, leaving your stranded and in need of repairs, check the coolant levels using the following steps:

  1. Make sure your vehicle is turned off so the engine and radiator are cool.
  2. Check the radiator and hoses. If you see any cracks or leaks, contact a mechanic.
  3. If the coolant level is at or below the midway mark on the reservoir, add more. A prediluted blend that contains water and antifreeze is best.

Check your Tires

Driving with worn tires can be incredibly dangerous to you, your family, your vehicle, and others on the road. Without sufficient tread, your tires will not be able to grasp the road during your trip.

Also, insufficient tread will not allow you to gain traction when driving on slippery roads if it rains while you are on your road trip.

Before you head out, make sure to test the tread of your tires using a quarter.

Place a quarter in between the tread on a few areas of your tire. Make sure Washington's head is pointed down into the tread. If part of Washington's head is covered, your tires have sufficient tread and are safe to drive. If your tires lack enough tread, consider replacing them before you leave for your road trip.

Pressure from the road and heat can deflate your tires. On a long road trip, this lack of air pressure increases your risk of flats and blowouts, which is dangerous when driving at faster speeds on highways. To keep yourself safe, check the air pressure of your tires before your road trip, as well.

Road trips are meant to be fun and memorable, but they should also be safe. This guide will help you prepare your vehicle for a safe, efficient road trip. Contact an auto repair shop for additional advice.