As you prepare to head out for your summer vacation this year, you want to make sure that your car is ready to make the trip. In the midst of all your other preparations, your car should be checked to ensure that it can handle an extra one or two thousand miles on the odometer this summer. Avoid getting stuck or even having your vacation plans ruined by taking care of car matters before you hit the road.
Take it to a mechanic.
Unless you service your own car, your mechanic will do the work for you. Make an appointment with your mechanic to have all outstanding maintenance issues handled. This can include an outstanding recall that must still be accomplished.
Explain to your mechanic how far you plan to travel. That information can have a bearing on the type of work that he will get done. For instance, if you are about 2,000 miles from transmission service, he may recommend having that task done before you hit the road.
Change your oil.
Oil change intervals are now up to 7,500 miles. The exact interval is listed in your owner’s manual. Nevertheless, you may benefit from an earlier oil change especially if you will be doing some hard driving while on the road, such as towing something.
When you have your oil change, change the oil filter too. You should also have all fluids topped including the radiator, the windshield washer reservoir, brake fluid and transmission fluid.
Inspect your tires.
Your tires may look good, but if you have had them more than six years, then age is a factor that can effect blow outs. Inspect your tires closely for signs of wear and tear. If damaged or old, replace them. If only replacing two tires, the new tires always get placed on the rear axle.
If your tires are in good condition, then have them rotated. You might also have your wheels aligned. Some shops will also provide a brake inspection and will also look at your suspension and exhaust systems.
Don’t forget the battery.
All it takes is one dead battery to leave you stranded. Your car’s battery should be in good shape, clean and the connections free of gunk. Examine your battery before hitting the road.
You can also take your battery to a shop to have it tested. Even if your battery looks great, it may not have sufficient juice remaining to make it through your trip. If your battery is on its last legs, then replace it before you go.
You also want to do a visual inspection of your car to ensure that head lights, tail lights, fog lights, daytime running lights and turn signal indicators are working. These lights are not only a safety concern, but if burnt out can result in a police officer citation.
Replace worn out wiper blades, swap out the air filter and bring with you an emergency kit. Update your travel club information to verify that roadside assistance coverage is current.
Lastly, make sure that you follow both your vehicles payload and towing instructions. Do not overload your car and only tow equipment if your vehicle is certified to do so. That information can be found in your owner’s manual.
See Also — Long Distance Travel Safety Advice