Here in California, we go on road trips year-round. But summer is an even more popular time to get in the car and go on a road trip. Not only does it cost less than an airplane flight for the whole family, you save on rental car costs at your destination, too. But road trips put a lot of miles and stress on a car, so your car is ready for the ride. These should be the top items on your “Road Trip Checklist.”
Keep in mind that AutoAid can run through this checklist for you. In fact, we have a 38 point car care courtesy check that we offer free to members of our community. Call or make an appointment online and we’ll check your car for you, and make sure your car is ready and healthy enough for your road trip.
Your Road Trip Checklist
Check Your Tire Pressure
Your car’s performance starts with making sure your tires are in good shape, so before setting out on your journey, make sure to check your tires inside and out.
First, you can check the air pressure inside the tire. If you have a tire gauge, check the pressure. The recommended pressure should be listed in your car’s owner’s manual or the sidewalls of your tires, but it’s most easily found on a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb. If you don’t have a gauge, many gas stations still have pressured air for your tires with gauges on the hose. And if you can’t find a service station with air nearby, drop by AutoAid, and we’ll check the air and fill the tires for you.
Check Your Tire Tread
Most people forget this next step: check your tire tread. Tires with less than 2/32” of tread left should be replaced. Tires with 4/32” of tread or more are doing OK. Anywhere in between and it’s time to go tire shopping soon. An easy way to measure for the minimum depth is to insert a penny upside down with Lincoln’s head facing you. If the tread doesn’t cover Lincoln’s hair, it’s time to replace your tires. If the tread covers or is near covering Lincoln’s forehead, you’re at 4/32” and your tires are fine. Anywhere in between and you’re in the gray area: You should replace your tires soon.
If you find that it’s time for new tires, you’ll be happy to know that AutoAid can fit your car with any size or brand of tire to fit almost any budget.
Inspect Your Car’s Lights
Next on your road trip checklist is to make sure your headlights, taillights and blinkers are working properly. This might mean you have to clean the lenses of your headlights to clear oxidization to improve visibility. Sometimes your headlight lenses (the plastic covers that go over the bulbs) can get hazy. This haze can severely limit the light coming out of your headlights. We can actually fix these hazy plastic headlight lenses..
And if any bulbs need to be replaced, make sure you take care of that ASAP. For the safety of you and your passengers, be sure all of your lights are functioning properly.
Check Your Car’s Fluids
It is essential before setting out on your road trip to check and top up on any fluids you can access. This includes the engine oil, antifreeze, washer fluid, brake fluid and in some cases, the radiator coolant. Fluids that may not be possible or are dangerous to check on your own like transmission fluid, power steering fluid and others are best left in a capable mechanics hands.
And this can get messy, too. So make an appointment at AutoAid, we offer the most comprehensive road trip courtesy check to make sure your car is ready for your road trip. If things are great, we’ll let you know. If you need an oil change or your fluids need topping off, we can do that for you, too.
Check Your Battery
Your car battery is especially vulnerable to heat damage. Hot weather causes the chemicals in the battery to expand and evaporate. Chemical imbalances will cause the battery to not hold a charge, which means a dramatically shortened life of your car battery.
Years ago, we needed to add water to a car battery, but no more. These days, batteries are sealed and easy to test. So if your car isn’t starting as quickly as it used to, now might be a good time to get your battery checked. If it tests OK, then you’re in luck. But if the battery shows signs of damage or age, it might be time to have your car battery replaced.
Here’s How To Avoid Doing the Road Trip Checklist Yourself
Want to avoid checking all of these things? No Problem! We’ll do it for you.
Scheduling a checkup to prepare your car for a road trip this summer is crucial. We’ll not only check the items above, but we’ll have our skilled technicians check more than 38 separate items in and around your car. Our comprehensive 38+ Point Road Trip Courtesy Check will give you the peace of mind you need for a long trip across the state or across the country.
We know how important it is to prepare your car for a road trip. This road trip checklist is a start, and AutoAid offers a number of different ways to ensure your vehicle is safe for long travel. To set an appointment with us to get your car checked or repaired, give us a call at (818) 305-6632 or make an appointment online.