There is no better time for a vacation with your group of friends or family than the summer or fall time. As you start to plan your late summer getaways, there are many things to consider. For instance, if you are using some of your hollowed vacation days to head out on the open road to see the sights, there are a couple of things you might want to attend to before hand. While there are few things more fun than a classic road trip, it is important to take the proper precautions to ensure your vehicle is ready to hit the road.
Checking that your tires are ready for the miles you are about to put on them is one of the most important factors in not only having a relaxing drive, but also your safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire blowouts cause more than 78,000 crashes a year, some of these resulting in serious injury or death. To side step these issues, there are a few things you need to check off your list before you head out. Be sure that each tire, including your spare, is at the exact tire pressure your manufacturer specifies. The correct PSI can typically found in your handbook and often on the inside of the driver side door (where you might find the VIN number). In addition to the tire pressure, be sure the tread on every tire is not getting low and, if it is, replace it with a new tire. And speaking of replacing tires, double check that you have everything you need to change a tire on the road (jack, lug wrench, and lug nut key if needed).
If you are nearing that manufacturer recommended 3,000 mile point for your engine oil change, you will want to take care of that before you start your long drive. In addition to the engine oil, both your transmission and axle have their own sets of fluids that keep them running properly. These different oils and fluids keep your engine cool as it runs, and this is especially important for your longer drives. Check your manufacturer for your vehicle’s specific change intervals, or consult your mechanic to check on your engine for you.
Most manufacturers recommend that you change your air filter every 12,000 miles, but often people forget and let it go much longer. While it might not seem important, your air filter is what helps keep your engine running efficiently by keeping out harmful dirt and debris. By letting your air filter go bad, you’re engine performance is likely to falter causing lower gas mileage, decreased acceleration, and more.
Your vehicle’s brakes are another crucial aspect of your travel safety. If you are experiencing any abnormalities with your brakes including but not limited to squeaking, grinding, sponginess when you press the pedal, or a delayed response, get your brakes checked prior to heading out for a prolonged drive.
If you want to have the utmost confidence in your vehicle’s performance, consider having your mechanic give it an overall check up. Let them know that you’re planning a long drive so that they know what to look for. Allowing a mechanic to thoroughly comb through your vehicle’s motor is the best way to ensure a smooth and safe drive!