Road Trip Ready!
The nice weather has officially arrived and with it the need to explore (this year more than ever). Planning a multi-day road trip is both adventurous and exciting. However having car trouble while on the road trip is not. Nothing ruins a fun road trip faster than being stranded with broken vehicle. Having your car checked out before you hit the open road will give you the peace of mind you need to focus on the scenery instead of the sound coming from under the car. This is First Gear’s recommendations for what to have checked before heading out on a road trip.
The oil is the life blood of your car. Keeping up with regular oil changes is key to maintaining a long engine life. Over time oil loses it’s lubrication and cooling properties. Parts of the engine that aren’t getting lubricated begin to corrode. Notice the level of the oil, the colour and the consistency. If the oil level is low, you should top it up before you drive the car. You should also have it checked for leaks. If the oil is thick and gritty and the colour is dark that means that it is time for an oil change.
The primary purpose of coolant is transferring heat and preventing engine damage caused by freezing or boiling. Heat can only be effectively transferred with a liquid in the system, so it’s crucial to keep your coolant from freezing or evaporating. Coolant also lubricates the moving parts it comes into contact with. A coolant leak is the most popular cause of your vehicle overheating so getting your coolant system checked before a long road trip is very important.
A quick charge test will offer endless amount of peace of mind. It is much easier (and cheaper) to get your battery replaced while in the mechanic shop than on the side of the road mid trip.
A clogged cabin air filter restricts airflow and makes it hard to defog windows. Making sure you have a new or clean cabin air filter will ensure this doesn’t happened and that you and your passengers are breathing clean air.
Clean your windows inside and out to make sure you can see clearly in day and night. Replace any worn out or old wiper blades and top of your windshield washer fluid. Carry an extra jug of washer fluid in your trunk is also a great idea. (In some rural destinations you will encounter MANY bugs and might need to top up the windshield washer fluid often).
Having your brake system checked (and perhaps serviced) before hitting the road makes sure that you are packing peace of mind for your road trip. Check out all of our information on brakes and brake services here.
Belts & Hoses
Engine belts and hoses help to keep your vehicles cooling system, power steering and electrical running. Have them inspected for cracks or frays and to make sure that they are tight without a large amount of slack. You also want to make sure that your hoses are free of any leaks or drips.
Making sure that you can see where you are going and that others can see you is critical. Have your brake lights, turn signals, and headlights checked and consider upgrading to LED lights. Read all about why we recommend LED’s here. We will also check to see if your headlight covers need a clean and polish service in order for your lights to shine as bright as possible.
You will want to make sure that your tires have good tread depth (the grooves in the tire). These are what give the tire traction and a worn down tread can be a serious safety issue. If you have questions about the right tire for your vehicles needs check out our article here. The other important element to check on your tires is the tire pressure. This is the amount of air in the tire. Air expands when heated and contracts when cooled, so as the temperature rises outside, your tires’ inflation pressure goes up. This can increase the risk of a blow out. The correct PSI (pounds per square inch) for your vehicle can be found on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door or in your owner’s manual and can be checked with a tire gauge.
Even with having everything on the list checked out, emergencies can happen. Have a summer emergency kit in your car will offer peace of mind for whatever lies on the road (trip) ahead. Wondering what you should included in your summer emergency kit? We list everything you need right here.
First Gear Automotive is here for all of your vehicle needs this season. If you are planning on taking a multi day road trip and want to make sure that your car is in it’s best shape just call and ask for the road trip inspection package and we will make sure that you get out on the road safely.