Road trips are the stuff of dreams — it’s just you, the open road, and endless possibilities. We’re particularly blessed in the United States to live in a place that was truly made for epic adventures. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you drive, or what inspires you, the call of the road stirs something inside us and compels us to answer.
Don't Ignore Car Maintenance Signs Before the Trip
Your route is planned and the destination is set — it’s almost time to go! The excitement of planning is almost as fun as hitting the road.
But before you throw all your gear in the car and jump behind the wheel, it’s essential to verify that it is truly ready for the road. Just like how your toothbrush, clothes, snacks, and road trip music are perfectly packed, there are certain car maintenance signs that should be approached the same way. Not only will that help you avoid the inconvenience and expense of mechanical breakdowns, it will also extend the life of your car, improve safety, and increase fuel economy.
Hitting the Highway: 10 Things to Do First
Many of the items on this list are easy to overlook. However, it’s important to check them before a long road trip so your car can go the distance in tip-top shape:
- Engine oil - This should be the very first item on your list. The lifeblood of your vehicle, clean engine oil has significant benefits, whether you’re driving cross country or across town. Fresh oil keeps your engine running smoothly, helps prevent breakdowns, and improves fuel mileage
- Tire pressure - No one wants to be stuck on the side of the highway with a flat tire; so check the tire pressure before any long trip. You have your physical safety to consider along with improved ride quality and fuel economy.
- Engine coolant - This is a commonly overlooked element. Coolant regulates engine temperature and keeps it operating efficiently. If your coolant is low or dirty, it can cause severe engine damage and quickly bring your road trip to a screeching halt.
- Engine belts - Like coolant, the health of your engine’s belts is usually an afterthought. Belts power your car’s auxiliary systems in addition to being integral components of a properly functioning engine. Verify they’re not cracked or worn to keep your car running like a champ.
- Lights - Check all your vehicle’s lights to ensure they’re functioning properly. Clean, correctly operating lights are critical for safety and will help you avoid getting pulled over.
- Tuneup - Proactive regular maintenance helps prevent engine wear, positively impacts mileage, guards against breakdowns, and provides peace of mind out on the road. If you know you’ll be going past a recommended service mileage marker on your trip, have a tuneup done before you leave.
- Windshield wipers - Fresh windshield wipers also deliver some reassurance. We all know how important it is to see clearly when it rains, especially at night. Make sure you swap out your worn wipers for new ones to avoid any trouble.
- Spare tire - Not all cars have a spare tire, but if yours has one, see that it’s properly inflated and in good working order. If you don’t have one, double check any tire repair/inflation tools that came with your vehicle. Don’t have those either? Make sure to get them before you go on your trip.
- Brakes - If your brakes are making loud squeaking, squealing, or grinding sounds, these are signs that something’s amiss. During your tuneup, have the technician inspect your brakes and replace anything that’s needed.
- Battery - Almost worse than a flat tire is a dead battery. Fortunately, testing the health of your battery is simple; swapping it out with a new one is easy too. Most auto supply stores will test your battery for free.
Don't Forget the Repair Coverage!
Even proactively checking and repairing all these elements doesn't guarantee you'll avoid a breakdown. This is why Protect My Car's extended warranties are so valuable to cars no longer covered by a factory warranty.
With 24/7 roadside assistance, impressive savings on repair costs, and free tire rotation and oil changes, Protect My Car's Ambassador Policy can get most of your pre-trip services taken care of for next to nothing.
The Open Road Awaits
A road trip can be life-changing. A well maintained and properly protected vehicle is the key to making your road trip as exciting and fulfilling as possible. Make sure yours is as ready for the journey as you are and get in touch with PMC today!