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We spend a lot of time in our car especially during the summer months when we take road trips to the shore and theme parks with the family. Sometimes it feels like our car is our home away from home, especially on some of our longer road trips. So we want our car to be in tip top shop before we head out on the road. Before we head out on any road trip, long or short, we give the car a once over and check these six important things. Being prepared for anything that might come up including messes from traveling with the kids takes some of the pressure off so we can focus on other things and not worry too much about the car.
Use these as a guide to see how ready your vehicle is for a road trip.
CHECK THE VEHICLE’S FLUID LEVELS:
Check your oil, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid and coolant levels. Top off anything that might be low. Check your owners manual to see where each is and how to check. If you’re getting close to needing an oil change, now’s the time to do it.
CHECK THE TIRE PRESSUE AND TIRE TREAD:
Your owner’s manual should tell you how much tire pressure you should have. Pick up a tire pressure gauge (usually only a couple of bucks) and learn to check this. For your tire tread, you should have at least 1/16th of and inch or 1.6 mm of tread anything less consider replacing the tires before you head out.
CHECK THE AIR FILTER:
Did you know an air filter is your engine’s first line of defense? Having a clean air filter in your vehicle helps to improve your vehicle’s performance.
This is something pretty easy that you can do at home. In fact, we just changed the air filter in my husband’s truck. Consult your owner’s manual for location if you’re not sure. Once it’s located remove the screws and replace filter. FRAM recommends changing the air filter every 12,000 miles or once a year. (*Follow the recommended change intervals as noted in your vehicle owner’s manual.)
This five minute quick fix was definitely needed. Just look at how dirty the old air filter was. A clean air filter not only improves the air flow but it also prevents dust and dirt from entering the engine and causing damage.
I picked up a new FRAM Air Filter from Walmart while grabbing some supplies for our upcoming road trip. You can find FRAM Air filters in the automotive section. You can even look online to find the correct part number you need for your vehicle. Just visit walmart.fram.com book to make sure you pick out the correct filter for your vehicle.
CLEAN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CAR:
Take your car through the car wash and give the inside a good cleaning. Traveling in a neat and clean will make the trip go a lot smoother. You don’t want to be looking through a messy car trying to find something you need.
PACK A CAR CARE KIT:
Create a kit with essentials for cleaning up any messes (hello car sickness) that may happen along the way. It’s a good idea to have a first aid kit and roadside emergency kit in the car too. Hopefully you won’t need it but if it happens you do, you’ll be glad you thought ahead.
I picked up a small tote to keep some cleaning supplies, a road side emergency kit, trash bags, paper towels, a road map and anything else I may need for a road trip – long or short. I even picked up a small binder that I use to track mileage, service appointments, oil changes and more.
Make note of anything you change before your trip along with the date for future reference. Keep the binder inside the tote so it’s always handy.
CHECK THE VEHICLE’S LIGHTS:
Last but not least make sure your headlights, brake lights and blinkers are all in working orders. Replace any bulbs that may not be working.
These are just a few ideas to check before you head out on the road for any road trip. How do you get ready for road trips? I’d love to hear your tips.