The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected international air travel. It has caused entry restrictions and border closures all over the world. As a result, many travelers in the United States are unable to fly to their preferred destinations.
Given that a majority of the tourists in the country can’t travel overseas, they go on road trips as a way to temporarily escape the pandemic isolation.
Although hitting the road can serve as a perfect escape for travelers and car lovers, you want to make sure that your vehicle is ready for your next adventure. After all, a car breakdown will prevent you from making the most of your awesome vacation.
Do the following seven car care tasks before you take your next holiday:
- Spruce up Your Vehicle Exterior
Give your car a fresh shower before you get on the road. Cleaning your car, especially the windows, is vital for excellent visibility while driving. What’s more, it enables you to inspect the conditions of your wiper blades.
Also, take your vehicle to an auto body repair shop and have the service crew fix the dents on your car exterior. A dent, even if it looks harmless, can make your vehicle susceptible to rusting and corrosion. You’ll want to get this problem fixed before it gets worse.
- Get Your Car Fluids Checked
Fluids serve as the lifeblood of your vehicle. Checking these fluids will make your car more reliable in your journey and give you a better experience on the road.
Some fluids you should look at are the following:
- Windshield Fluid – Long drives can make your car window filthy, so you need to keep your windshield free from dirt. Adding windshield washer fluid is simple: get a jug at your nearest gas station and fill up the reservoir when it gets low.
- Transmission Fluid – This fluid helps the components in your transmission to mesh smoothly. The general rule is to replace this liquid at 60,000 miles.
- Oil – This one’s a no-brainer – you need this to keep the moving components of your engine lubricated. Consumer Reports reveals that many auto manufacturers suggest changing your oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. Besides the fluid levels, check the condition of the liquid. Have your vehicle inspected if the oil inside your engine looks gritty or black.
- Inspect the Condition of Your Tires
When checking your tires, look at the tread and the air pressure. Get new tires for your next journey if the tread measures less than 1.6mm. Hitting the road with bald tires is dangerous, as they compromise the brakes’ ability to stop. Driving with worn-out tires also raises the likelihood of hydroplaning or skidding.
Also, don’t forget to check the tire pressure. It must fall under the accepted range for your vehicle. A tire without enough air can cause you to waste gas. On the other hand, too much pressure could result in a blowout. Your tires will continuously be in contact with the ground, so take good care of them before embarking on your next road journey.
- See If Your Car Lights Are Working Properly
You’ll need the help of another person for this task. Ask a friend, family member or a mobile mechanic to go to the front of your vehicle and find out if the headlights are working normally. Remember to test out the turning signals and hazard lights, as well. Fully functioning lights and signals will prevent accidents (and traffic tickets). So, don’t leave your home unless they’re operating properly.
- Pack Emergency Equipment
Road mishaps happen when you least expect them, so you need the right equipment that would be helpful in an emergency. A few of the items you should bring include:
- First Aid Kit
- Jumper Cables
- A Flashlight
- A Spare Tire
- Reflective Triangles
You need to be ready for the worst, even if you think that things will go smoothly on your road trip.
- Check Your Car’s Battery
Double check the battery of your vehicle to determine if the connections are tight and free from corrosion. When you come across any form of corrosion, disconnect the battery and use a wire brush to clean the connectors.
Safety tip: Leave the car battery cleaning task to a professional if you’re not familiar with this process. Forcing off or yanking out the battery connectors may cause the corrosive acid to leak.
- Fill Up Your Vehicle with Gas
If you’re going on a road trip that spans hundreds of miles, you’ll want to put enough gas in your car. This way, you won’t get stranded in the middle of nowhere and be forced to call for roadside assistance.
You’ll be ready to hit the road once you’ve completed these car care tasks. Keeping your vehicle in good condition before your road trip will help you avoid spending your vacation in an auto service center or repair shop.