Road trips are a great way to see the country, make memories, and escape your everyday life for a moment. They can be a highlight of your summer or a major headache if your car isn’t ready for long-distance travel. Whether you already have a road trip planned or are in the process of mapping one out, proper maintenance is essential when preparing your car for a road trip. Before setting out on your upcoming road trip, consider having your vehicle serviced to reduce your chance of breaking down on the side of the highway.
Here are some tips for how to prepare your car for an upcoming road trip.
Before Hitting the Road
Check or change your oil: Take out your dipstick and check your oil. It should look smooth, glossy, and almost transparent.
Check or replace your filters: This includes air filter, cabin filter, engine air filter, oil filter, and fuel filter. Replace them if dirty.
Top off your fluids: Transmission, brake, power steering, radiator, and windshield fluids should be filled up before leaving.
Check All Four Tires: Use the penny trick to check tire tread depth and an air pump to check your air pressure. Tires should be properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Check and clean your battery: Clean off any corrosion on your battery connections. You can bring your car into our shop, and we can test the strength of your battery for you.
Check all your lights: Brake lights, tail lights, headlights, turn signals, high and low beams. Make sure they are bright enough in the dark.
Check the brakes: If you’ve noticed your brakes squealing or grinding, you’ll want to replace your brake pads before your road trip, especially if you’ll be driving through the mountains.
Check shocks and suspension: Push down on the hood of your car and see if it bounces after you let go. If so, bring your vehicle in for new shocks or struts.
Test your horn: Just one toot. Make sure it’s good to go.
While On The Road
Check for leaks while fueling up: This is a great time to walk the perimeter of your car and look for any leaks dripping from your car.
- Water under the front is likely from the air conditioner.
- Black liquid is likely an oil leak
- Green, pink, or orange liquid is likely a coolant leak.
- Red, brown, or other color liquid is likely a transmission, brake, or power steering fluid leak.
Give your body enough fuel: Road trips are synonymous with snacks but make sure you eat enough quality food to remain energized and alert while driving.
Be on the lookout for potholes: You may be driving unfamiliar and rough roads on your trip. Potholes are more likely to appear after the winter, so be mindful of them when driving through areas where it snows in the winter.
When You Return Home
Home sweet home. Unpack your vehicle and take stock of how many miles you traveled. Give your car a well-deserved wash and check your tire pressure, adding or removing air as needed. Take care of any maintenance issues that may have come up while on the road by contacting McCullough NAPA Auto Care for service. Whether getting your car ready for a road trip or servicing it after the fact, McCullough NAPA Auto Care in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is a full-service auto shop that offers routine maintenance and repairs for all makes and models.