Summer weather has arrived and we’re all itching to hit the open roads. Even with the soaring gas prices we’re seeing these days, the urge (and need) to drive still exists! Here are 10 tips to help get you and your vehicle ready for your inaugural summer road trip.
#1 How are the tires?
Check the tread depths. Look for uneven wear. Is the tire pressure okay and are all the lug nuts in place? Don’t forget to check that your spare tire is there and it has the proper tire pressure.
#2 Do all the lights work?
Test all your car lights in the dark. This includes the headlights (high and low beams), turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights, emergency flashers and fog lights. Your signal lights are used to communicate with other drivers. Make sure they are all working.
#3 Are the fluids all topped up?
Check all fluid levels. This includes motor oil, radiator coolant, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, power steering, and transmission fluids. Check if your car is due for its regular service and maintenance and make the appointment. Keep an eye for fluid leaks under the car and don’t be fooled or worried by condensation water dripping from your air conditioner.
#4 Does your battery look okay?
Check the battery cables for wear. Tighten the connectors and check for corrosion on the terminals and acid leaks around the battery. Ensure the battery is holding the charge. Use a voltmeter to see how much life is left in your battery. Keep an eye on the dashboard warning lights to ensure your alternator is charging the battery while you drive. Battery life is typically 3-5 years. It can be lessened depending on the climate you live in.
#5 How are the engine filter and windshield wipers?
Don’t forget about these. Both of these items are easy to replace if they are dirty or worn. Check your owner’s manual for the correct replacement parts.
#6 Where’s your car jack located?
The worst time to learn how to change a flat tire is next to a busy highway. Take a few calm minutes at home to learn where your car jack is located. Figure out how to remove it, where to position it under the car, and how to safely raise and lower your car.
#7 Keep plenty of gas in your tank
When travelling, its recommended to keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. You might not come across gas station for a very long time or possibly get caught in a slow moving traffic jam. Be prepared. Having the air conditioner running to keep cool is a nice thing to have too without the worry of running out of gas.
#8 Listen to your car
Don’t ignore your car if its talking to you. Listen for warning signs like a new rattling or grinding noise. They can be omens of something that needs to be fixed asap.
#9 Always be alert!
Summer is the time for motorcyclists and cyclists to hit the open roads in full force. Be aware of motorcycles in your blind spots. They can come upon you quickly. The same applies to emergency services vehicles that can suddenly appear out of nowhere in your rear view mirror.
#10 Who can you contact for roadside assistance?
Before heading out on a long road trip, know what roadside services are available to you in the places you are travelling and who you can call. CAA, AAA, or your car manufacturer roadside assistance packages might be available. In some jurisdictions, government operated roadside services are also available on major roads or highways.
Oh yes, and we forgot to mention that we really had an 11th tip …
#11 Did you register your license plate with Windshieldink?
Download our free app and register your license plate with Windshieldink. If there are any issues with your car, whether you are in it or away from it, our community members can message you via your license plate number.
To help get you and your vehicle road ready, download and print off our car care checklist (download here). Take it with you out to your vehicle and tick each item off as you check it. Take your kids along and make a fun and educational exercise out of it!
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