A Handy Checklist for Getting Your Car Ready to Travel
Labor Day, a holiday that typically signals the end of the summer season, is just around the corner for those of us in the United States. There is still a lot of time to enjoy some travel adventures even if the calendar says it’s the end of the summer! This might even be a good time to take a road trip and enjoy the beauty of late summer or the upcoming fall weather. Before you head out on the road, though, it’s important to make sure your car is ready to travel to ensure a safe and smooth journey. Here is a handy checklist to cover all the basics.
√ Check the Pressure: Poor tire pressure can lead to a rough ride or even a blowout! Use a pressure gauge to make sure all five tires (that includes your spare) are at the same level. Maintaining proper pressure can also reduce fuel costs by up to 3% (according to AAA).
√ Check the Fluids: This check should include the oil, wiper fluid, brake fluid and coolant. The car manual should include how-to instructions if you want to tackle it on your own; if not, take it to your local automotive shop for a check. Having the fluids well filled will reduce the chances of engine failure or overheating during your journey.
√ Check the System: Make sure there are no warning indicator lights displayed on the dashboard. Refer to your manual for definition of each one and take to your local repair shop to clear before setting out on the road. Making sure your system is in order will lessen any worries about car performance while on the road.
√ Check Windshield Wipers: Blades that are worn, cracked or aged will not remove rain, dirt or other debris and can hinder a driver’s vision. Ensure that wipers are new or in good condition and replace frequently to maintain the best visual space for the driver.
√ Check Maintenance: Regular maintenance should include a tune up, changing the oil, checking the cooling system, testing and/or recharging the air conditioning and replacing the air filter. Schedule a maintenance at least 1-2 times a year with your local automotive shop if you are not comfortable completing these tasks on your own.
√ Check the Glove Compartment: A glove compartment should always include up to date registration & insurance information, contact information, map, owners’ manual, batteries/chargers for electronic devices, tire pressure gauge, and a pen & pad. These items could be essential when traveling.
It’s always a good idea to have at least a basic emergency kit on hand to help you through an unexpected emergency. Check out our Resources tab for suggested kits or a list of items for assembling one of your own.
Now that you’ve gone through this simple checklist, you should feel confident that you’ve greatly reduced the chance of having any issue while on the road. You are now ready to pack up your car, hop on the highway and get on out there to your destination! Happy traveling!