Whether you’re planning an epic road trip, going off to college, or moving cross-country, preparing your car for the long road ahead can be a lifesaver. You don’t want to risk having a breakdown stranded in an unfamiliar place. Doing all the needed maintenance work beforehand can save you a lot of trouble. Here’s a no-stress guide to getting your car ready for your epic trip.
Step 1: Check all fluids under the hood.
Do a maintenance check for the following:
Automakers recommend an oil change every 7,500 to 10,000 miles.
– Radiator fluid
Do a system flush every 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Check the oil condition and if you notice it fall below the minimum, have it professionally serviced right away.
– brake fluid
Test the brake pedal and watch out for signs of a spongy response time. This means that your feet extend farther than usual when braking. Remember to do a flush every 24,000 miles.
– transmission fluid
Refer to your owner’s manual to know what’s recommended for your car’s specific service interval. Generally, replacing the fluid every 60,000 miles is a good rule of thumb.
– windshield fluid
Replace your shield washer fluid so that you won’t have any problems seeing what’s on the road.
Consider your mileage from the last trip. Plan and decide if you’ll need to schedule a service in the middle of your trip. It’s best to do it beforehand.
Step 2: Check your tire’s air pressure and rotate the tires. Replace tires when needed.
Tires need to be checked before the trip and then at every 1000 miles. You don’t want under or over-inflated tires. Note that tire pressure can be affected by any change in temperature, so you need to monitor your tire pressure when the weather changes.
Tire rotations will need to be done every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Regularly rotate your tires and change them in different locations. Swapping the location of all your tires helps them maintain similar wear levels.
It may be time to change your tires at one point. Do the penny test to see if it’s time. Replace your tires if you can see the top off the penny peeking out a groove.
Step 3: Look at other major car components like brake pads, light bulbs, and air filters.
If you hear a squealing noise when you brake, it’s time to replace your brake pads. Your air filter should be renewed every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Inspect your lights and see if any among them are busted. Your taillights, blinkers, and headlights should be in good working order.
Step 4: Plan ahead for any unforeseen emergency.
Get fluid supplies and tools ahead of time just in case you run out. Have a survival kit that includes a spare battery for a spare smartphone, flashlights, and a medical kit. Don’t forget to check your battery for any damaged cables. Finally, learn how to fix a flat tire.
Step 5: don’t Skip a tune-up.
Replace any damaged spark plugs so that you can improve fuel efficiency.
Polishing Off Your Car Maintenance Checklist
It’s always a good idea to clean your car’s interiors, along with its exterior. This can help you have more elbow room for the things you need to pack for the trip.
If you’re moving house, maximize your car space. For those who don’t have enough space, hire professional moving services so that all your possessions remain intact. Your car can only carry so much.