There are many reasons why a road trip is such a great idea. First of all, when it comes to the amount of control that you have over the commute, no other method can compare. Second, you have the privacy of spending time alone with your partners, friends, family or alone, which is something that you just wouldn’t be able to do on a plane, bus or train. Finally, if the car is full and you try to divide the fuel per the number of travelers and compare this number to the price of a ticket, you will see that this is also the most frugal means of commute. All of the above-listed is true only if your car is in great shape. So, here’s the ultimate road trip car maintenance checklist that you should abide by.
1. Prepare for every condition
The season that you decide to embark on a journey in may indicate the road conditions that you are going to encounter but it won’t provide you with a 100 percent guarantee. A thick fog, heavy rain, hail or even a sudden snowstorm can occur even when they are least expected. This is why your car needs to be ready to face whatever lies ahead. Your fog lights and windshield wiper blades, as well as your tyres need to be in prime condition. If they are old and worn out, replacing them before the trip should be a priority.
2. Check the fluids
One thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that fluids affect your car’s performance. The thing is that while the majority of people remember to replace motor oil, this is just one of many car-essential fluids worth keeping track of. There is also the transmission fluid, radiator fluid, brake fluid and windshield fluid to worry about. The biggest problem lies in the fact that brake fluid doesn’t need replacement as often as the motor fluid. This makes people forget about it entirely.
3. Check the tyres
One of the most important things you need to worry about is your car tyres. Why? Well, because A) they’re crucial for your on-road safety and B) if anything goes wrong, chances are that it will be the tyres. Make sure that the tread is intact and that there are no bald spots. Check the pressure and try inflating them several days before the trip in order to ensure that there’s no air leak anywhere. If you haven’t rotated them in a while, you should probably do that right now. Of course, if they have significant mileage on them, you should just buy a new set. Knowing the drive of your vehicle is important both for tyre rotation and replacement. If the vehicle is a four-wheel drive, you need to get yourself a set of adequate 4WD tyres and/or rotate them in the right pattern.
4. Take it to a mechanic
Some of your car parts may be worn out and while you can’t see or feel the difference, the damage is there. This is why it’s the safest to just take the car to a mechanic and tell them that you’re preparing to embark on a road trip. Ask them to do a thorough inspection and ask them if the vehicle is road-trip-ready afterward. There are some minor problems that you can fix after the trip, even though you want the vehicle to be in a pristine condition.
5. Quality of life inspections
On the open road boredom is a serious problem. This is why you need to ensure that your infotainment system is fully functional. If you plan to travel in extreme weather conditions, you should also make sure that the AC/heating system is fully functional. Skipping this step can seriously endanger your ability to enjoy the road to its fullest.
6. Self-made inspections
The next thing worth keeping in mind is the fact that there are some inspections that you can do on your own. Things like the state of your tires and windshield have visible signs of wear. Other than this, you can also run tests to see your lights and your signals. This is the easiest to do with one member of the family, but you can also do it on your own. You should also check your car belts since this will have a direct impact on the safety on the road.
Keep in mind that while there are some things you need to do based on mileage and state of a certain part, there are some things that you can feel are wrong while driving. When it comes to your own safety and maintenance of your car, you should have zero tolerance for these things. As soon as something is wrong, take the vehicle to a mechanic or inspect it on your own. Safety comes first.