But before you and the kids climb aboard the family car, take some time to check the vehicle over. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the highway. That’s not the adventure your family was looking for. Here’s a quick pre-travel checklist.
- Check your tires for tread damage and proper inflation. Long drives, especially in the summer, can put extra strain on your tires because of the increased heat. And with luggage and extra people in the car, you’re carrying a heavier load. Proper tire inflation will help you stay on the road and improve your gas mileage. Check your tread by sticking a penny in the tire tread – if you can see Abe Lincoln, you’re probably due for new tires.
- Fluids topped off? Check your washer fluid, your oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and any other accessible fluid check points. Remember, your car’s under more stress on a long road trip. A quick check of fluid quantity and quality could save you from a stranded vacation.
- Check your filters. A clean air filter can save you money in improved fuel efficiency. And a new cabin filter can keep the air you breathe fresh and clean.
- Check your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance calendar. Are you due for an oil change? Transmission flush? Manufacturers recommend services at different mileage intervals.
- Does your car seem determined to drift into the next lane? A vehicle’s alignment is an often overlooked service item. An alignment adjustment is fast, easy and can help your tires last much longer. You’ll stay straight ahead on your way out of town.
- Your brakes are one service item that tells you when it’s time to make a change. If your brakes are squealing, grinding or just not stopping your car smoothly, it’s time for a brake check.