With the holiday season upon us, many people plan trips to visit family and friends. For the Thanksgiving holiday, there is typically over 50 million travelers in the United States and about 95% of those people travel by driving. If you are planning a road trip for the holiday season, or anytime throughout the year, you should prepare your vehicle for the trip. We are going to review how to prepare your vehicle for a road trip and provide some tips to make your travel less stressful. We know how crazy the holiday season can be already, and the last thing you should need to worry about is your vehicle not getting you to your destination.
Tips to Prepare your Vehicle for a Road Trip
While vehicle maintenance is always important, lots of people neglect their vehicles until they know they are going to be using them for extended periods of time, like for a holiday road trip.
To prepare your car, truck, or SUV for your upcoming trip, you should do the following:
- Maintain your Tires: Tires are the only part of a vehicle that are in direct contact with the road, so extra care is needed to ensure they are correctly inflated, display even treadwear, are free from any obvious defects and are of the size and type specified by the manufacturer (Forbes). If you are traveling to areas that are known to have snow and cooler temperatures, you may want to consider winter tires. We don’t need these in the Phoenix area, but they can help to keep you safe when driving in extreme conditions in other areas of the country.
- Check the Lights: Like the lights of the season, it is not great when one bulb is out, as it can cause other issues. Walk around your vehicle and make sure all of the lights are working properly. Test high and low beams, flashers, brake lights, headlights, directional/turning signals, and any other lights on your vehicle before hitting the road.
- Replace the Wiper Blades: If it has been a while since you have put a new set of wiper blades on your vehicle, it is a good idea to do so before your road trip. Consumer Reports tests have found that even the best-performing blades can be ready for retirement in as little as six months. Cracks, tears, streaking, and missed spots are all signs that it is time for new blades. This is also a good time to check your wiper fluid and top it off it needed.
- Test the Battery: Vehicle batteries loose strength over time and no one wants to end up stranded or having to jump start their vehicle over the holidays. Check your battery to ensure it is secure and visit a local automotive repair shop to test the strength of your battery.
- Top off Fluids and Oil: Every vehicle uses multiple types of fluid to not only keep the vehicle’s engine in good condition, but to also keep the car, truck, or SUV driving down the road safely. Check that engine oil, coolant and brake, transmission and power steering fluids are at the correct levels for safe vehicle operation. When adding fluids, use products that meet the specifications listed in the owner’s manual (AAA).
- Inspect Belts and Hoses: Like your vehicle’s fluids, belts and hoses are an essential part to the operation of your vehicle. Check all of the belts and hoses on your car, truck, or SUV to ensure they are not cracked, glazed, or frayed and in need of replacement.
- Pack a Travel Kit: You should keep a safety kit in your vehicle at all times and this is especially true when going on long trips. Things your kit should have, includes: cell phone charger, flashlight and extra batteries, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning light or flares, jumper cables, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for people and pets, gloves, and basic tools. If traveling to cold weather areas, add a hat, warm clothing, and blankets.
Before you hit the road this holiday season you should prepare your vehicle for the trip. At Advanced Transmissions & Emissions we can help to ensure your vehicle is ready for your travel plans.
Advanced Transmissions & Emissions specializes in transmission repair, rebuilding, and remanufacturing and all your Phoenix automotive repair needs from transmissions, clutches, engine repair, AC, steering, suspension and more. We are a full-service auto mechanic repair shop.
Visit us today or fill out our online form for service.