7 ways to prepare your vehicle for a smooth journey
The arrival of Memorial Day marks the (unofficial) start of summer and with it, road trip season. A time to load up the trunk, set off for a well-earned vacation and have some fun along the way. Memorable sights, stops and finds courtesy of your car can add something special to any summer holiday – but an unreliable vehicle can easily take the shine off things. Here are seven easy steps to prepare your car for a trouble-free trip.
1. Get an oil change
If you’re embarking on a long journey and about to clock hundreds, perhaps over a thousand miles, check whether your car’s due for an oil change before you go. With a new supply of oil, the engine will purr as you coast along the highway.
2. Check the tires
Inspect tire tread for wear and have the tires rotated or replaced if necessary. Check the tire pressure, too, against the recommended levels (often found on the door pillar), and add some air if they’re falling short. Properly inflated tires will improve your vehicle’s traction and fuel economy.
3. Have a number to call
If you’re not covered for roadside assistance by a company such as AAA, think about who you’ll call in the event you break down, and make sure you have the number with you. You may have coverage through your auto insurance provider, for example.
4. Top off washer fluid
Those flies plastered across your windshield could be with you for the long haul unless you have a good supply of washer fluid in the reservoir. Top it up with summer-season washer to clean away the grime that can build up over a lengthy trip.
5. Replace wiper blades
Heavy showers and rain storms can crop up in the heat of summer so an effective set of windshield wipers is also important. Wiper blades can deteriorate from a range of environmental factors, including strong sunlight, so take a look at their condition and change them as needed.
6. Check the air filter
A clean engine air filter will optimize your car’s performance and gas mileage, and it won’t take long to see whether it needs cleaning or replacing. The air filter is typically rectangular in shape and located at the top of the engine, to one side. If it looks dirty, you could follow a few easy steps to clean it yourself, or you may want to take it into the garage for replacement. It’s generally recommended that the air filter is replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.
7. Don’t forget your charging cable
If your car doesn’t have a navigation system, you’ll likely need your phone – and a full charge – to guide your way. Remember to bring your charging cable for the USB port so you can stay connected. You’ll also be able to tune into RoadLoans’ top summer road trip songs on Spotify to keep your journey feeling, and sounding, great.