Essential Car Checks To Make Before Your Road Trip

July 10, 2021
Advice, Automotive

Your car has served you so well over the past few weeks. You have dropped the kids to school, taken it to work, or to an eatery. These short trips may not stretch the car to its limits. However, continuous use of the car will require you to visit the mechanic for some checks before you plan on going on your getaway road trip with the family. A thorough check of your automobile before any major trip is best to ensure you are safe and ready for your adventure. Here are a few tips to make your road trip a memorable one.

Check the owner’s manual for scheduled maintenance

During your car check ahead of the road trip, the first thing to do is find out when you last visited the maintenance shop. Most cars have an owner’s manual, indicating periodic times for checking the needed vital parts for lubrication and calibration. Once you have an owner’s manual on the periodic maintenance of your car, you will know when you last checked your car.

Scheduled car maintenance projects also protect you from accumulating repairs which may be costly on the go. You will also save some integral parts from damage beyond repair. A periodic maintenance schedule of visiting the mechanic every three months will enhance the performance of your car, reduce the incidence of wear and tear significantly and improve its efficiency.

Check the headlights, taillights, turn signals, and number plate

Taillights, turn signals, headlights, brake lights, and number plates give you a particular form of safety when you drive. To avoid being stopped by the police, ensure your lights and number plates are intact before you go on a road trip. It is not difficult to change the bulbs in the headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. You may get affordable bulbs from the store, fix them nicely, and you are ready to go. Number plates get old, and sometimes the screws come off, which may lead to them getting lost. If your number plate is old, you may need to replace it. If you just got a new car and need new plates, check out number plates for sale. Your mechanic may help you fix the new plate and lights to make your car ready for the road trip.

In some instances, the lights may be working but emitting a yellow or cloudy glow. That may be because the smashed insects found on your windscreen may also have damaged the beauty of the lights. All you need to do is gently wash the lights, clean and dry them appropriately, and their glow would be back. 

Change the air filter and cabin filter

Your car’s filters play an essential role in your car. You may want to check the air and cabin filter. The air filter primarily sieves the air going into your engine to make it clean and optimizing its performance. Your car’s cabin filter may prevent water, road grime, bugs, pollen, and anything that may blow through your car’s grill. The accumulated dirt in your car’s filters can increase your engine fuel consumption by at least 10%. That is a critical issue to consider on a long road adventure.

Check the radiator, heater, and bypass hoses

Your car’s radiator gives you the comfort of cooling when driving. However, you may not have the luxury of comfort should it break down on your trip. When the radiator breaks down, the resultant ripple effect is a gradually decreased performance of some engine parts. Radiators in your car are usually positioned before the engine to receive more air and aid in the overall cooling process of the vehicle. The air that passes through the radiators gives the other engine parts the needed cooling effect for optimum performance. The bypass hoses connect the air to and from the radiator. However, progressive corrosion, bad potholes, and wear and tear can cause the hoses to be leaky. 

Consequently, they may need periodic changes to ensure the cooling effect of the engine is at its maximum. An excellent engine means a high-performing car. If your car’s engine overheats, you may need to check the thermostat to see if it hasn’t developed any faults. A visit to the mechanic’s shop will be ideal for checking the radiator, heater, and bypass hoses.

Keep an eye on tire pressure

Your tire pressure should be a primary concern on your checklist before you take your car on a long journey. Your tire may have lowered pressure due to continuous use. An under-deflated tire causes a lot of rolling resistance which may cause your vehicle to consume more fuel than usual, and this is a critical issue to address when going on a long trip. Additionally, your driving experience may be subpar when driving with a faulty tire. A mechanic may be able to check your car’s tire pressure, inflate it and also check for leakages. Additionally, you can buy an automatic tire pump just in case the unfortunate happens on the way.

Check your spare tire and learn how to fix it

Your car’s tire can puncture or rip off anytime. Most car lovers always pack an additional tire in the trunk for any unfortunate incident on the way. However, even when there is a spare tire, fixing it is a challenge for most people. You may need to inspect the lug nuts as they end up rusting. When the lug nuts are rusty, it becomes a more significant challenge when changing the tires. There are simple ways to learn how to fix your flat tire. Your local mechanic may teach you practically how to change or replace your flat tire. You may also visit YouTube channels to learn more. 

Road trips are meant to be fun and ensure everything is in place to lower the chances of inconveniences. Since your car is a significant part of the adventure, it is good to start from there, and the tips discussed here should help.

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Featured Image by Pawel Grzegorz from Pixabay