Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip

If you live in Hutto and you’re preparing for a road trip, you need to do a “trip inspection” of your vehicle in order to stay safe. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short distance or a cross-country trip, a proper inspection is essential if you want to be prepared for the road. Christian Brothers Automotive of Hutto has a list of the ten things you need to check before going on your next adventure. Here they are:

1. Schedule basic maintenance

This includes oil changes, fluid levels, checking the wipers and any other necessary tune-ups that will keep your car reliable and efficient.

2. Stay charged

Check your battery to make sure it’s strong, because nothing ruins a road trip like a car that won’t start. If your terminals are dirty, baking soda and water will clean them out.

3. Inspect your tires

Make sure your tires have no tears of bulges in the side walls. If your tires don’t have a good amount of tread, you need a new set to ensure that you have decent traction in all weather conditions. Tire pressure needs to be set to the figures in your car manual.

4. Check the brakes

Have someone at a service station inspect your brake pads to ensure that they aren’t worn out or in need of replacement.

5. Always be prepared

An emergency kit, not only for your car, but for your passengers, is essential. Items like flashlights, blankets, a first-aid kit, snacks, water and basic tools will be lifesavers in a tough situation.

6. Learn to pack smart

Too much weight on a car will make it more difficult to maneuver in an emergency situation and increase the risk of a roll over. Fuel economy is also reduced with extra cargo. Keep in mind that roof-top cargo boxes should only be filled with light bulky items and the roof rack can be removed to lighten the vehicle.

7. Check your headlights

Headlight lenses get cloudy over time, which reduces their strength and places you and your passengers in danger. Replace the clear plastic covers before going on your road trip.

8. Make sure the air conditioning works

If your air conditioner doesn’t have proper flow or the airflow varies, you need to change it to stay comfortable. Replace any worn or loose belts and remove any obstructions from the condenser blades that might reduce airflow.

9. Inspect the engine temperature

Is your engine overheating? There might be several solutions to the problem. You can clean the radiator blades if they are obstructed, replace the thermostat for the electric fan if it doesn’t turn on, replenish the coolant in your overflow tank or replace the fan belt if it’s loose or worn.

10. Double check the owner’s manual

You might forget all about that owner’s manual in your glove box, but it contains useful information that might come in handy. From towing a trailer to changing a flat tire, your owner’s manual has instructions. You can also find information on jumpstarting the car if the battery dies and dealing with an overheated engine. If you don’t want to keep track of a hard copy, many car manufacturers offer electronic owner’s manuals that you can download.