You’ve waited (at least) a year and endured another brutal Minnesota winter to get to this moment. The car is packed, and you’re ready for your summer adventure. But before you hit the open road, make sure your vehicle is up to the task. These tips can help ensure you’ll be safe, sound, and comfortable along the journey.
The ability to stay on the road is just as important as the capacity to come to a halt. As such, you’ll want to be sure to check out the tires that keep you rolling and the brakes that help you stop.
Check the air pressure of each tire as well as the spare underneath, attached to the back, or in the trunk. Also, look at the tread to make sure you’re not driving on racing slicks. Place a penny inside the groove, with the top of Lincoln’s head aimed toward the tire. If all or most of his head is visible on the penny, your tread depth is likely too shallow for safe operation. Now is a good time to have them replaced.
In addition, pay attention to your brakes. If you hear a grinding noise or feel a reverberation when depressing the pedal, these are indications that the brake system needs attention. Have an auto service professional check the brake pads, rotors, and drums and look for any leaks or other signs of wear. You’re always better off playing it safe when it comes to your brakes.
How old is your car’s battery? Does it have the capacity to make it through the most amazing trip of the summer? Let’s hope so, but take away the guesswork by making sure the connections are clean and secure and that it’s got enough juice to get the job done. Have the battery tested before you head out on your trip. If the battery is reaching that 5-year mark, it might be time for a new one.
You may also want to do a rundown with the lights and bulbs to make sure headlights and high beams, brake lights, and turn signals are good to go. Maybe even test the interior lights to be sure those will function if needed. Replace any bulbs prior to departure to keep your vehicle visible and safe.
Just as our health depends on staying hydrated in the summer, your car needs fluids, too. Keep it running at peak performance by topping off levels of:
You may even want to keep a spare quart of oil and jugs of coolant and washer fluid handy, just in case. The washer fluid can be especially important to wipe off those bugs you’re sure to encounter.
And on that note, check to see that your wiper blades are in good shape and that they contact with all the necessary spots on the windshield. If you see any streaks, cracks, or splits or notice the frames are bent, swap those worn-out blades for new ones.
Based on the outside temps over the last few weeks, a well-functioning AC system is likely necessary for your travels. Is the AC keeping you cool? Hopefully, the answer is yes. Otherwise, take your car to a trusted service shop for an AC inspection. If needed, a technician can refill or recharge the system or make recommendations for any needed repairs.
You’ll probably never need it but having an emergency supply kit in the car is a good idea. This is particularly true for a road trip because you never know what can happen. Consider bringing things such as:
Check to see that your spare tire is equipped with a functioning jack and that all the parts for it are present. Also, have your insurance information and emergency contacts in a safe, accessible place.
With your car set for the trip, all you need is friends or family, your bags, and the destination of your choice. Oh, and don’t forget your camera to document all the amazing places you go and the fun things you see out on the open road.
If you need help to ensure your vehicle is ready for your summer adventure, bring it to the experienced crew at Jeff’s Auto Service. We can’t help with the snacks, but we can look things over to make sure you don’t get any unexpected automotive surprises while you’re out seeing the sights. Contact us today to set up an appointment.