Before you hit the road it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes to give your vehicle a once over and make sure things are topped off and in good running order. I am thankful that my husband does all this for me before I leave usually, but it’s nice to have a checklist for the few times that I need to do it myself. I put an average of over 3,000 miles a month on my car so these 6 tips for pre-trip vehicle maintenance are a must check monthly but guaranteed before a long road trip.
These 6 tips for pre-trip vehicle maintenance should be checked with your engine cold (not been started recently).
Check Your Oil
This should really go without saying but it doesn’t hurt to have a little reminder. Even if you just had an oil change it’s good to make sure you’re topped off and that your vehicle isn’t using too much oil and that it’s clean (not showing signs of residue). Lack of oil can be the start of all kinds of problems, which can hit the pocketbook pretty hard.
Check Your Coolant (Anti-freeze) Level
With your engine off you should make sure this level is at the full cold level (lower level of the container). As the coolant heats up with the engine running your coolant will expand, therefore causing the coolant level to rise in the sight glass on the coolant container. If you fill this container too full it will come out the over flow and this is what sometimes causes the steam and stench associated with this particular job.
Give Your Belts A Quick Once Over
You should give your serpentine belt/s a quick run off the hands. Do you feel any cracks or gouges or missing pieces? Replace the belt before you leave. The serpentine belt is one of the things that keeps your alternator and air conditioner going, aka keeps momma cool and happy, plus a few other things.
Know Your Tire Pressure
This varies according to the season your traveling in. Summertime you would like your tires to run lower than during the wintertime because the heat causes the air to expand, thus leading to higher pressure. Check your owners manual for exact pressure amounts. My husband runs 50 pounds of pressure with 10 ply tires year round because we are usually pulling a trailer as we travel. You will generally run yours with a little less air pressure for a smoother ride. Once again check your owner’s manual to be sure.
Check Your Tires
Not only do you need to know about your tire pressure, but checking to make sure that your tread is good is a big one as well. Do you know what it feels like to blow a tire doing 75 on the interstate? Trust me from experience it’s not something you really want to find out. This is a simple once over just to check for bald spots or un-even tread wear. Tire tread can give you some good clues about the over all health of your vehicle. For example if your tires are wearing unevenly it might be time for an alignment.
Top Of Windshield Wiper Fluid
Having a full tank of windshield wiper fluid is a good thing to keep an eye on. When you hit the road the amount of bugs that accumulate on your windshield is amazing! Plus the little dust storms that follow a small scattering of rain can wreak havoc on your viewing ability. Best to have the ability to keep your windshield clean.
Before you hit the road make sure to give your car a once over using these 6 tips for pre-travel vehicle maintenance. Better to be a little cautious from the start of your trip rather than be sorry later. Doing a little diligence before hand can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars that I would rather be spending on my vacation.
What are your pre-travel vehicle maintenance tips? Do you generally check your vehicle over or leave that to your husband? Perhaps you take it to an auto care center to be checked over?
6 Tips For Pre-Trip Vehicle Maintenance ~ Brandy M.