Car Maintenance Guide and Checklist for Summer Road Trips
April is National Car Care Month, and with summer nearly here, both college and high school students will be out of school. This makes it prime time for summer road trips with your friends and family. But before you hit the road, you’ll want to make sure you check out our car maintenance guide and checklist for summer road trips down below. After all, the last thing you want is to have car trouble when you are hours away from home.
First of all, before you hit the road, make sure you plan your route ahead of time. Though GPS can be helpful, you’ll want to make sure you do the research to avoid any construction or expected traffic. Also be sure to bring along an emergency car care kit with things like tools, tire psi gauge, jumper cables, some extra vehicle fluids, a first aid kit, and some water and snacks for yourself.
What Car Maintenance Should You Take Care Of Before a Road Trip?
- Oil change: Oil changes are important, and if your vehicle doesn’t need one, you don’t necessarily have to get one before you start your road trip. But consider the number of miles you’ll be putting on your car, as you may surpass the mileage recommendation for your next oil change while on your trip, meaning it could be best to have your oil changed ahead of time.
- Check tire tread depth and PSI: Your tires are the only thing keeping you and your vehicle from making contact with the road, so they’re clearly important. You can check your tread depth by placing a penny with Lincoln’s head down, indicating the need to get new tires if you can see all of his head. Tire tread depth should be no less than 2/32 of an inch, though 4/32 is often better if you will encounter rain. In addition, check your tires psi and fill it if necessary. You can usually find the recommended psi in your owner’s manual or on the inner edge of the car’s door frame.
- Test your car battery: Have a technician check the health of your car’s battery. Vehicle batteries often die unexpectedly, but you can make sure your car’s battery is in good condition and is supplying enough power before hitting the road.
- Have hoses and belts checked: The hoses and belts in your vehicle are always hard at work and endure some rough conditions. Sometimes, they can get cracked or worn, causing some vehicle troubles. If you’re unfamiliar with your vehicle, have an automotive technician take a look to make sure they’re in optimal condition.
- Fluid fill ups: Make sure all the necessary fluids in your vehicle are filled up, such as oil, windshield washer fluid and coolant.
- Test the brakes: A simple test can probably tell you if your car’s brakes are working properly, but if you’re bringing your vehicle in, it might not be a bad idea to have an automotive technician check them out for any rust or wear.
So, before you hit the road, use this car maintenance guide and checklist for summer road trips to make sure your vehicle is healthy enough to handle the long drive. Even if you don’t have a trip planned, why not honor National Car Care Month by ensuring these vehicle systems are in tip-top shape? For any other suggestions or questions, contact us at Mazda of Midland.