The interstate highway system in the United States is designed to make travel more efficient. In the 1950s, Chevrolet did a whole ad campaign around seeing the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet, so you might say traveling is as American as baseball. If you’re planning a trip, there are a few things that you should do before you leave. One of those things is to make sure your vehicle is in working condition. If you don’t have a car to travel in or are ready to upgrade to a newer car, then visit SCA and check out their large selection of vehicles up for auction online. You might find your next car or SUV there.
1. Check your tires
When tires are properly inflated for the season, you will get the best wear from them. If your tires are improperly inflated, you will see premature wear and tear. Underinflation allows for much of the tire’s surface to come into contact with the road, which can cause the tire to overheat. Overheating can cause tread separation that may lead to a flat tire. An over-inflated tire can cause your ride to become bumpy or it can increase the chance of your tire bursting.
If you notice your steering wheel shaking, or vibration coming from the front of the car while driving, check your tire pressure on all four tires.
Pay attention to the tread levels when you check them. The more worn your tread is, the more likely your tire will fail. If you do not have the tools to do this at home, take it by a repair shop and have them check your tires. You might want to rotate them before leaving for a long trip.
2. Check your fluids
Like your tires, the fluids in your car keep your vehicle operating smoothly. Depending on the weather, you may need to change your antifreeze to a mixture that suits the temperature or climate of your destination.
This is also a good time to check your windshield wiper fluid level and change any worn blades, so you get a clear view through your windshield.
Do not forget to check your transmission fluid as well.
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3. Change your oil
Keep track of your mileage and change your oil at the appropriate time recommended by your manufacturer. If you know you’re going to be driving thousands of miles, then change it before you leave home. The new oil will help your engine run smoothly, even when you are driving it for hundreds of miles at a time.
Any time that you change the oil, change the oil filter, too. You will get more miles from your fresh oil when you are not running it through a dirty filter.
4. Check your brakes
You should check your brakes regularly, but this is especially true before you take a long trip. Make sure that your pads have enough material on them and make sure that your calipers are not sticking.
If you notice your brakes sticking, you may have a problem with the calipers, and if you notice a squeal or a pull when you apply the brakes, your rotor may be out of shape. You should have all of these things taken care of before you take off on your trip.
This is also a good time to check your brake lights, headlights, turn lamps and emergency lamps.
5. Change your filters
In addition to the oil filter, you may want to check your transmission filter and your air filter. Your engine air filter may be dirty if you live in an area where there is a lot of dust, or if you drive a lot of highway miles. Small particles of rubber can get stuck in your air filter. A clean air filter will help your engine breathe better, and it will improve your fuel efficiency.
Another filter to make note of is the cabin air filter. This is a filter that most people forget about, but it does the same job as the air filter in your home HVAC system. It reduces the pollen in the cabin air and keeps the dust down, so you can breathe easily.
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If you are unable to do these things yourself, check with your local repair shop or dealership and have the trained technicians do it for you.
Not only does your car need to be prepared to travel, but so do you.
Here is a list of the things you might need for your trip:
- Make sure you have enough of your prescriptions or the ability to refill them on the road
- Make sure that you have an updated map or that your phone app is current
- Make sure that you secure your credit cards, driver’s license, passport, etc. in a safe place – maybe take a photo of these documents and upload them to your cloud storage
- Print out all of your tickets or reservations
- Make sure you have supplies for pets and children
- Secure your home and turn off the electrical appliances
- Clean out perishables from your refrigerator and pantry
- Make sure that someone has a key to your home in case of emergency
By getting yourself, your home, and your car ready to go ahead of time, you will have lots of time to enjoy your trip and less time worrying about everything else.