Cabin fever has set in and you want to get away for a little while. With a destination in mind, you throw some clothes in a bag and settle into the driver’s seat. But before you pull out of the driveway, there’s a few things you need to check.
As easy as it is to just jump in the car and drive, road trips do require a little bit of prior planning, and there are some important checks you should run to ensure your safety.
While you know the Jeep Wrangler is tuned, the brakes are fine, and the oil was changed recently, take a look at these other four essentials. Doing so will minimize the risk of being left stranded in the middle of nowhere tonight!
Ready for a Road Trip? Check These 4 Things Before Hitting the Highway!
Check All Fluids
You already know the oil, brake fluid, and transmission fluid is fine.But what about the other fluids?
It makes sense to check the coolant in the radiator as well as the washer fluid too. Your goal is to ensure that nothing is running a little low. If so, top it off and you’ll be ready for whatever could happen during the trip.
How Are those Wipers?
When was the last time you checked the wipers? It’s been some time since the last rain and you really can’t remember if the wipers left streaks or if they cleared the windshield with ease.
Before you head out, check the condition of the wipers. Do they look a little worn? Are they somewhat dirty? Clean them and check again.
If they still look worn, stop at an auto parts place before you leave town. It will only take about three minutes to install new wipers and ensure they work perfectly.
Check the Battery Cables for Corrosion
Your battery may be in great shape, but that won’t help much if a lot of corrosion has built up on the cables. Take a moment and check for any signs of buildup on the battery posts.
If so, use a wire brush to remove the residue and leave the connections clean. It’s a lot easier to do that now rather than wait until a nighttime storm when the engine doesn’t want to turn over.
Check Your Tyres
Tyres wear down over time and there’s no getting away from the fact. You should check your tyres are road worthy before heading out on a road trip by looking at both your tread and pressure.
The best way to check your tyre wear is by using a coin to check if your tread depth is below 1.6mm. Place a coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is fine.
In checking your pressure, you should use a pressure gauge as tyres can lose pressure without it being easy to detect. Not only do under pressure tyres wear quickly, but they also make it harder to steer and brake, and are less economical to run.
Don’t Forget the Emergency Kit in the Back
Have you stocked the emergency kit that you keep in the back? Take an inventory before you leave home and make sure it’s got everything that you might need in an emergency situation.
That includes flares, extra batteries and flashlights, a blanket or two, some bottled water, and possibly some non-perishable snacks that you could nosh on while you waited for a tow truck to arrive.
You might also want to include an old-fashioned radio with a fresh set of batteries. That will help keep you entertained without draining the car battery or the battery on your phone. While you hope that there’s no need to dig out the kit, it never hurts to be prepared.
Weekend getaways are good for the soul. Just remember to be smart about it and be prepared. Get in the habit of checking these things before you get on the road and make sure everything is in order.
Should you find yourself in the mood to choose your next car at some point, remember that all of these tips still apply whether your car is brand new or you’ve owned it for a while.