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How to Prepare Your Car for a Summer Road-trip

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Going on a summer road trip is one of the best ways to spend the extra long, hot summer days. But in addition to packing all the right clothes and equipment, you should also check out your car. A car broken down on the side of the road will definitely affect your enjoyment of your trip.

Take it in for Service

One of the best things you can do before going on a road trip is to take your car in for a service. Preferably, try to take it in a few weeks before your trip so that you have enough time for any unexpected repairs that require ordering new parts.

When you take it in, communicate to the technicians there that you want them to check all the different parts of the car for any problems. Having a comprehensive check before your trip will give you peace of mind.

Check the Tires

Checking your tires is an important step to make sure that your car will work on a trip—especially if you plan to go over varied terrain. You want to make sure that you have any tread so that you don’t get caught in snowy conditions or slide down a hill if it is pretty steep.

Checking your tires starts with the simple penny test at home. Take a penny and insert it between the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tread is worn and it’s time to get new tires. In addition to checking on your tread, you should also make sure your tires are rotated. This is important to do so that your alignment doesn’t get out of whack.

Change Fluids

Changing your car’s fluids is important for the general function of your car but is especially important when it comes to long road trips. As you gear up for a trip, having your fluids working properly will make a big difference in ensuring you don’t have any random breakdowns. As you think about which fluids to have checked, make sure that you carefully look at your engine oil and your engine coolant.

Your engine oil should appear clear; if there are any flecks in the fluid, you definitely need to change it as soon as you can. You should also make sure to check your brake fluid. Having faulty brakes on a long road trip could definitely lead to an accident so it’s worth it to get the fluid checked.

Maintain Your AC

Having a working AC is essential if you’re taking a road trip in the summertime. Not only will your trip be much less comfortable if your AC isn’t working, but it could actually be dangerous. Cars can overheat quite quickly which can result in some serious health issues—when overheated, people can get fatigued more quickly, they can faint, and they can get lightheaded.

These conditions are especially dangerous while driving. So do what you can to make sure that overheating won’t be an issue for you. In fact, in addition to fixing your AC, there are other things you can do to ensure your car stays cool. For example, car window tints block solar heat so your car stays cooler.

Clean the Interior

Cleaning the interior will help you be prepared for your trip in a variety of ways. First, having a cleaned-out car makes it easier to store your different luggage and gear as you drive. Having this space will allow you to be more comfortable instead of being squished with your stuff. A clean car will also just feel more pleasant and enjoyable to be in.

When you’re stuck in a car for hours and hours on end, the little things can go a long way.

Eliminate Any Bad Smells

Eliminating bad smells in your car might be something that easily slips your mind when you’re preparing for a road trip. But having a car that smells like old food or worse, like trash, could make your ride a whole lot less pleasant.

Depending on the type of odors that have built up in your car, there are a variety of ways to approach things. Regardless of what odor you might be sensing, start by thoroughly vacuuming your car and throwing away trash. Clean your cupholders and between your seats. If the smell persists, you might want to shampoo your car carpets. Car carpets can retain a lot of smells over time. Then, add an air freshener and you should have a much more enjoyable trip.

Replace Your Windshield Wipers

Replacing your windshield wipers is another important step to take before any long road trip. Depending on what time of year you are planning on moving and where you are doing your road trip, you could run into some bad weather. If you’re taking a long road trip with weird hours driving, getting caught in a storm at night without working windshield wipers could be incredibly dangerous.

Low visibility combined with bad windshield wipers combined with tiredness combined with a heavy vehicle is not an experience that you want to risk.

Make Sure Your Spare is Working Well

While you may have already checked the four tires on your car, it’s important that you check your spare tire as well. Though unlikely, it’s possible that you could get a flat while driving. And if you get the flat in an area far away from any repair shop, you may have to be driving on your spare tire for a while.

Because you use your spare tire infrequently, it can be easy to forget about and can sometimes begin to start functioning improperly. Getting stuck on the side of the road with a malfunctioning spare tire is definitely not a situation you want to get stuck in, so check out your spare tire before you head out on your road trip.

Keeping your car maintained takes a lot of work in general. And it can seem to pile up even more when you really need to rely on your car—like when you go on a trip. But remember that it really pays off when you don’t have problems in the middle of your long drive.

Read this next: Cross-Country Road Trip Safety You Need to Prepare For


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