How to Get your Car in Shape for a Cross-Country Road Trip

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If your car has only been used for short trips throughout the year, it will need a little bit of TLC before you embark on a longer journey. Road trip season approaches, and with it comes the need to get your car in top shape. By paying attention to basic maintenance issues before you depart, you can ensure that your trip runs smoothly. The last thing you want is to break down in the middle of nowhere! Pay special attention to the following areas as you prepare for your road trip.

Road Trip
Road Trip

Image Source: Nicholas/Wikimedia Commons

Top up Fluids and Change Filters

For a car to run smoothly over long distances, it must remain properly hydrated. Just like you running a marathon, your car needs fuel and fluids to operate at its top level of performance. Top up engine oil, coolants, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid before you hit the road. Don’t forget about filters, which also need to be examined and replaced every so often. The air filter is particularly important, as it prevents dirt and grime from impacting the engine.

Check Lights and Wipers

Another area to pay close attention is your car’s lights and signals. Walk around the car to be sure that brake lights, headlights, and turn signals are all in working order. You don’t want to get pulled over on the motorway due to a faulty headlight. At the same time, give your wiper blades a quick look to ensure that they’re able to perform their job adequately. If they’re cracked, they may need to be replaced.

Check your Tyres

Tyres are one of the most important elements of the car to inspect before departure. To begin with, you’ll need to be sure that tyre pressure is adequate. If pressure levels are off, this could impact both your safety on the road as well as your fuel economy. Take a look at tyre treads to be sure that they are in good shape. Don’t forget about your spare tyre, which should be able to pass the test as well. Be sure to order replacement tyres ahead of time if there are any issues with your existing ones. You may find a better deal when you buy them online.

Worn out tires
Worn out tires

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Get your Paperwork in Order

In addition to your maps, stow your insurance, registration, and driver’s license away in the glove compartment just in case. If you’re a member of AAA or another roadside assistance scheme, put the details of this in close reach.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Finally, don’t forget to bring along an emergency kit in case the unforeseeable happens. Even with a brand new car and a sunny weather forecast, emergencies could happen. You’ll be better prepared if you bring along basics like flares, spare fuses, spare cash, a first-aid kit, and a basic lug wrench.

With these practical basics out of the way, you can start focusing on the fun parts of road trip preparation – like making playlists featuring your favourite tunes and addressing the snack situation!

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