Car Checklist for Road Trip

Author: TG Contributor
Date: 2020-01-13

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Thinking of going on a road trip in the near future? Before you do so, you should have a look at your car to be certain that it is in good condition and running smooth. This will help you to drive safe and avoid any breakdowns or mechanical issues. Let's look at most of the auto maintenance related problems you could possibly encounter on a road trip and what you might do to prevent them.

Check the brake system. Brakes are one of the most important component regarding safety of your car. Make sure your brake pads are thick enough, so you don't have malfunction down the road.

Check the tires. If the tires are showing any tread wear, replace the tires. If the tires have uneven tread wear, check the alignment too. Make sure all four tires and the spare are inflated to proper tire pressure.

Check the spare tire. Make sure your spare tire is in good condition. The inevitable flat tire never happens at a good time, and no one wants to be trapped in the middle of nowhere with a spare that's just as bad as your flat. While you're at it, make sure you have a working jack and tire iron.

Check the cooling system. The cooling system inspection will reveal leaks and weakened hoses. Replacing worn parts, like the radiator cap or water pump may be indicated. Even though cooling system failure is fairly common, it's easy and relatively inexpensive to prevent with proper maintenance.

Check car fluids. This includes oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and brake fluid.

Check that the gas cap is not cracked or damaged. Make sure it is tight so no gas will vaporize.

Check to make sure all lights are working. This includes brakes, turn signals, headlights and taillights. If you are driving a truck with running lights or a motorhome, make sure all running lights are working.

Check air filters. Replacing dirty or clogged air filters on older vehicles can improve gas mileage. It will improve acceleration and performance on all vehicles.

Check the hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.

Make sure your car's battery and cables are firmly attached and free of corrosion. Car batteries typically last three to five years.

Check the windshield wiper blades. You don't want to be stuck in a downpour with wiper blades that are worn and tattered. Replace these before an upcoming road trip, just to be on the safe side.

Do a tune up. If it has been a while since your last maintenance update, do the recommended maintenance for your car. If you have a timing belt and you are within a few thousand miles of the replacement timeArticle Search, have the timing belt replaced.

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James Blanchard writes for VinAudit, a startup offering a low-cost alternative to Carfax. We believe the days are numbered for paying $35-$40 to see the basic VinAudit Car History data for a vehicle– in fact, it should really be free.

Written by James Blanchard

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