How to Get Your Car Road Trip Ready

August 15th, 2022 by

Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip in Six Easy Steps

Summer is finally here, and you know what that means, road trips are in full swing! You can pack up the whole family, book the hotels, and plan the activities, but what if the only thing you forgot to prepare was your vehicle? Though vehicle maintenance should be a regularly scheduled occurrence, it’s especially important when you’re traveling off the beaten path to unfamiliar destinations. 

The last thing you and your family want while on the road is for your car to break down or have a malfunction. That’s why it’s vital that you prepare your vehicle to handle all of the miles to come. Continue reading to learn how to get your car road trip ready in six easy steps. 

6 Steps to Ensure Your Car is Road Trip Ready

The best way to make sure that your car is ready to handle the long road ahead is to have routine maintenance performed. However, before you hit the road you should always make sure these parts of your car are working properly: 

1. Check Your Car’s Battery

Checking your car’s battery is of utmost importance when it comes to preparing your car for a road trip. After all, the battery is an essential component, and in order for it to function properly in the summer heat, it must remain in good condition. The easiest way to check your car’s battery would be to have it inspected by a mechanic. However, there are a few tests you can perform at home to ensure that it is working properly: 

Load Test

  • Without starting your engine, turn on your headlights 
  • Leave them in the “on” position for 10 to 15 minutes 
  • After the time passes, start your engine
  • Watch the brightness of your headlights — if they dim your battery doesn’t pass the load test

Check for Corrosion and Listen for Clicks 

  • Inspect your battery for signs of corrosion (the heat of the summer provides the perfect environment for corrosion to spread)
  • Listen for a “click, click, click” sound when starting your engine — this could mean your battery needs to be replaced 

2. Top Off Fluids 

Fluids are essential to your car’s everyday operations, so you’ll definitely want to make sure they’re replenished when you’re planning a long commute. Most of the fluids your vehicle requires depend on mileage, so, if you’re going to hit a service milestone during your road trip, be sure to take care of the job early. There are six major fluids in your car that you should be aware of before taking a road trip: 

  • Engine oil: lubricates moving components like the pistons and crankshaft
  • Radiator Fluid: Keeps your engine cool
  • Brake fluid: Compresses the inside of your brake lines
  • Power steering fluid: Makes turning your wheel easy at any speed
  • Transmission fluid: Provides hydraulic pressure and friction for internal parts
  • Windshield fluid: Used to clean your front window

3. Inspect Belts and Hoses

They may not seem like a lot, but your vehicle’s belts and hoses have big, and very important jobs to do. The belts kickstart the alternator and help operate the water pump, while hoses carry gas, air, brake fluid, and antifreeze. You definitely don’t want to have these malfunction while on the road, so to get your car road trip ready, you should inspect and replace these parts if necessary. 

If you’re wondering if they need to be replaced, a good rule of thumb to remember is your V-belt should be replaced every 30,000 miles, while your serpentine and timing belts need replacing at 50,000 miles. As well as replacing your hoses about every four years. 

4. Check Your Headlight, Taillight, and Blinkers 

The last thing you want is to be hundreds of miles away from home and have one of your car bulbs burn out. Thankfully, inspecting your headlights, blinkers, taillights, hazard lights and reverse lights is fairly simple. All you’ll have to do is start your car’s engine and turn your lights on. You should make your way from the front to the back of your car to ensure all your bulbs are shining bright. 

Related: Decode Your Dash: What Your Car Emergency Warning Lights Mean

5. Test the Brakes

To ensure you have your car road trip ready, listen carefully to your brakes to hear any squeaking or scraping sounds. Additionally, if you smell burning or if your brake pedal doesn’t go all the way to the floor of your car, they will most likely need replacing before your big summer road trip. 

6. Inspect Your Tires 

Inspecting your tires is essential before you leave on any road trip. After all, if something goes wrong with your tires, it can be detrimental to you and your family. To avoid this, make sure you have a look at your tire pressure, as well as check for any bulges or cracks to the tire. Additionally, you should inspect your tires tread to make sure that it is intact — as it is what helps your tires grip to the road. 

If You Have a Road Trip Planned, Schedule Maintenance at Lexington M&L

Scheduled routine maintenance is the best way to know that your vehicle is in tip-top shape. And with all the adventure that summer brings, you definitely don’t want car troubles to slow you down. Thankfully, our certified technicians here at Lexington M&L can and will make sure that your vehicle is running smoothly. 

If you, or anyone you know is in need of routine maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact the experts (us)! Click the button below or visit our website to learn more! 

Posted in Car Maintenance