By: Nicole Stevens
The kids are home for summer break, and you've got some vacation days to use up, so why not drive a few hundred miles to visit a far-away relative, or maybe even attend a national monument? Taking a road trip with the whole gang is a staple in some families. Before you set off on this adventure, making a checklist is probably one of the smartest things to do. At the very top of your list shouldn't be to bring extra underwear or an extra toothbrush, nope, it should be to make sure your vehicle can handle the drive!
Is it necessary to go through an inspection before you take your vehicle on a long road trip?
Yes and no. No, you don't need to get a top of the line, nook and cranny type of inspection but it IS highly recommended to make sure everything is up to date maintenance wise. As mentioned earlier, a checklist is an essential part of road trip planning and can also be used for inspecting your vehicle to make sure everything is ready to go! Here you will find a short checklist of what to keep an eye on before hit the road:
- Check your fluids! This means your oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, etc. If it's been a few months since your last oil change and you're near due, don't wait until you're back home because it could be too late! Schedule an oil change and change out all filters before you leave.
- If you change your oil, try using synthetic oil. This is better for long distances and traveling in hotter climates.
- Check all belts and hoses. Rubber hoses have shelf lives of up to 10 years, but their life expectancy drastically drops when met with above 200+ degrees F temperature. As far as belts go, if it's a newer vehicle with less than 50,000 miles on it – you should be fine. If you don't fall under that category, you may want to have your local mechanic check if they need to be replaced.
- Need new shoes? Brake pads are incredibly important in day to day driving, but on a road trip, you'll be braking often during long drives. Check that your entire brake system is in proper working order and has the appropriate amount of brake fluid as well.
- Rotate or replace your tires. If you can't remember the last time you got a tire rotation, it's a must before a road trip. Same goes for checking the tread on the tires. You could hit some unexpected weather, and your tires won't be able to handle it with worn tread and improper alignment. Fixing these two issues will ensure you're saving on gas and getting to and from safely.
- Does the battery have juice? Sure your car has been running fine, but has it been awhile since you got a new battery installed? If you're not sure, or if your vehicle has been showing signs of being sluggish or slow to get up and go, take it to a local parts store to have them test the battery. Don't want to end up stranded in the middle of an open highway with a dead battery.
- And last but not least, test the car! After all, is said and done, fluids are filled, and tires are tight, take the vehicle for a test drive and see how it feels all around. If something feels off, take it to your local mechanic and get a diagnostic and see if there are any other issues.
If everything is looking good and feeling even better, then you're good to go! As long as you stay by this checklist to inspect your vehicle before a road trip, you'll get there and back with no problem! If you are planning on a road trip it is best to contact a certified mechanic, like Accurso Auto Repair.