The recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to push vacation plans back or opt for a car ride instead of a plane trip. Are you planning to load up a vehicle and head somewhere as the summer season continues?
While you can always expect to encounter a few unforeseen problems on your route, the most important thing is to safely keep your vehicle on the road. You’ll want to take several steps before you depart to make sure your car or truck is in working order.
A basic safety inspection before taking off can prevent you from getting into a motor vehicle accident or becoming stranded on the side of a highway. Make sure you remain mindful of these five things to do before you leave for a summer road trip.
1. Inspect Car Tires
A basic vehicle car checklist is essential during summer travel, especially when you are cruising hundreds or thousands of miles. Now that you’ve mapped a route and made your reservations, car care comes next!
Your tires are one of the most critical parts of a vehicle. These four wheels keep you safe and firmly planted on the road. First, do a basic inspection to make sure the tread on your tires is still in decent condition. If not, you should consider replacing the tires beforehand, as tire blowouts can cause some of the most severe motor vehicle accidents.
Once you confirm that your tires are in good enough condition to weather hundreds of miles on the road, you need to check the tire pressure. Properly inflated tires are crucial to a dependable automobile—and a safe ride. You should check your tire pressure once the car has been idle for a time and the tires are cool.
2. Inspect Vehicle Brakes
In addition to your wheels, the brakes are another critical component that work to keep your vehicle on the road. There are multiple ways to check your brakes. The two easiest ways are the eyes and ear test.
Listen to your brakes as you apply pressure on the pads while you travel into a stop. Do the brakes squeal or make other unnatural sounds? If so, it is time to take them in for an inspection and maybe replacements.
You can also analyze the condition of your brakes by feeling how they respond to your foot. If the brake pads are squishy or take a lot of pressure to slow down the vehicle, that is another clear sign that you are riding on old brakes, pads, rotors, shoes, or drums.
3. Check the Power Connections
The car battery is extremely important, yet often gets overlooked on a routine inspection. If your battery has no juice, then your vehicle is useless—even if all the other components are in excellent working order.
Consequently, many travelers decide to replace the battery for long road trips to err on the side of caution. Even if you decide not to replace your battery before a trip, general maintenance goes a long way.
Make sure to keep the cable connections clean and free of debris. You can test the quality of your battery connection by visiting a local auto shop.
4. Check the Engine Oil & Fluids
Your automobile has engine oil and other fluids for a reason. Most mechanics compare these fluids to vital fluids in your body, such as blood and oxygen. You do not want to deprive your vehicle of its blood (oil) and the other fluids that help keep the operating system cool and efficient.
Your vehicle has several different fluids. If you don’t know much about how cars function, you may want to take it in for an oil change and quick inspection before heading out. Experts traditionally recommend that you change your oil every three months or 3,000 miles, but some cars can go longer without a refresh.
Furthermore, you need to top off your coolant, brake, transmission, and power steering fluids. You can find more information on the correct amount of each fluid that your car needs by consulting the owner’s manual for your vehicle.
5. Full Vehicle Inspection
The tires, brakes, battery, engine oil, and other fluids are the essential parts of a vehicle. Checking all of them, replacing damaged parts, and topping off fluids will help prevent a motor vehicle accident while you travel this summer.
Additionally, you should consider replacing your wiper blades and making sure you have plenty of windshield fluid to handle any adverse conditions you might encounter on the road. It’s also never a bad idea to check that the belts and hoses that are part of the engine are securely fastened.
The car’s air conditioner is also tremendously important, especially if you are traveling to an arid climate. Lastly, you should always have an emergency kit of supplies handy in case you break down on the side of the road. Stocking the correct emergency supplies can make a world of difference if you are stranded on the side of the road for hours.
Let the Professionals Take Care of It!
If you have the time, it never hurts to have a professional car service inspect your vehicle for you. Unfortunately, you can take all of the precautions you want—but you can’t control the behavior of other drivers on the road. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident during your summer road trip, do not hesitate to contact Stewart & Stewart.
We represent injured victims of auto accidents and help people secure compensation for their injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation at 1 (800) 33-33-LAW or fill out our online form.