With everything and everyone on lockdown, people are going stir-crazy and want to get out of the house. What better way to get out than with a road trip? Even if you don’t have a specific destination in mind and you just want to drive 500 miles west, get out of the house and do something.
You could drive to a national park, unplug, and get back to the real world. Before you hit the road, though, make sure your car or truck will get you there with no problems. Use these car maintenance tips before a road trip and have a good time.
Check All the Fluids
All the fluids in your car are there for reason. They protect certain internal systems in your car and keep them working well. Check every fluid in your car and if they are low, top them off.
When checking fluids, make sure to take a look at the transmission fluid, wiper fluid, oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. You don’t want any surprises on the road, so an overabundance of caution is okay.
Check the Tires
If you’ve ever had to change a flat tire, you know why this is important. Never start a road trip on bald, worn-out tires. Check all the tires, including the spare, to make sure they have good tread on them.
Good tires mean a comfortable ride, good stopping power, and plenty of grip in bad conditions. The trip can go sideways real fast if you have bad tires.
Get an Oil Change
You should have checked the oil for color and level already. If it was changed recently, then it should be fine. But, if you’re close to needing an oil change or the oil is black on the dipstick, go ahead and get it changed, as staring out with a fresh filter and clean oil is the best thing for your engine.
Check the Brakes
Brake pads will last for a while, but when they are done, they’re done. Take one front tire and one rear tire off and check the thickness of the brake pads. If they are thin and close to a change, do it.
Make sure you don’t take any chances with worn pads on the road, especially if you are driving with the family. Take it to your mechanic and get a second opinion and let him do the work if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.
Consider a Tune-Up
If all this is too much for you, take your car in for a tune-up, since the best car maintenance tip before a road trip is to let a pro take care of it. They will go over the entire car and tell you what needs fixing and what can wait. Most shops have a standard tune-up package that includes changing spark plugs and filters.