Whether it’s for business or pleasure, a long-distance trip is something that you have to prepare your car for to avoid any problems on the road. Sure, cars don’t need to rest and can run for at least 8eighthours on end, provided you top up your fuel every once in a while. But to ensure smooth sailing, you need to take care of a few things first before you hit the road.
1. Check Your Tires
The first thing you want to take into consideration are your tires. First, you want to check your tire pressure to ensure that it isn’t close to becoming flat. Then, you want to check if they’re balanced and aligned. Misaligned tires can lead to a bumpier trip, which can cause you and your passengers discomfort and potentially cause accidents.
After that, you want to check your tread depth. These are the grooves and lines that run along your tire. Their primary purpose is to expel water away from the tires and create friction for a vehicle to run as smoothly as possible. As time goes on, the treads can become shallow, creating less friction, thus creating the risk of your car slipping on wet roads. An easy way to check if your tread depth is good enough is through the quarter test. Simply take an upside-down quarter, push it in among one of the grooves, and then pull it out. If the coin sinks up to the top of the quarter’s head, then it’s fine. If the coin sinks below the quarter’s head, then you need to replace it.
2. Check Your Car’s Oil and Fluids
As any good car owner will know, checking and replacing your car’s oil every once in a while is essential to keep it running and improve fuel efficiency. Check your car’s oil before going on a long trip, and if you need to replace it, do it. Other than oil, you also need to check your car’s other fluids—namely, the five essential fluids, including your oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Make sure that you sufficiently top up any fluids for your trip.
3. Check Your Engine and Battery
You want to make sure that every part of your car is ready for the trip, and that includes your engine and battery. Engine or battery failure is something that you want to avoid no matter where you’re going. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no help in sight with the nearest town or gas station miles away. Before your trip, have your engine and your battery checked by your mechanic to avoid any problems on the road. If you notice any issues, however small, get them fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
4. Check Air Filters
Your air filters are not only responsible for filtering clean air to your engine but also inside your car. The last thing you and your passengers probably want is to be inhaling dirty and dusty air from the outside. Make sure that your air filters are clean and aren’t clogged up and that air is flowing smoothly through your car at all times.
5. Watch Your Luggage
If you’re moving or going on a long, extended trip, you might be carrying a lot of luggage with you that you must then be storing in your car’s trunk or on your roof. Be wary of the amount of luggage you’re making your car carry, especially when using your car to move to your new home. Too much can affect its performance and weigh it down too much. In the worst-case scenario, it can cause your tires to rupture or create a dent or permanent sag on the roof of your car. Plus, it just gives you and your passengers more space to sit, lie down and move around. Carry only as much as your car can handle and leave the heavy lifting to the moving professionals.
6. Keep Spares and a Tool Kit
While out on the road, one of the most basic rules is to always keep a spare tire and a tool kit on hand. You never know when you might need it while you’re out there. No matter how careful you might have been in maintaining your car’s condition, accidents can happen at any time and any place. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Ensure that your tool kit has everything you’ll ever need and store it somewhere cool and dry.
You can never be too careful when it comes to car maintenance. It’s always best to be prepared for anything, even when the probability of something happening is low. Keep these six things in mind, and you’ll be feeling much safer on the road, whether you’re only driving to work or to the next state over.