Get Your Car Ready for a Long Trip
Before preparing the suitcases to make a dream road trip, it is essential to put the car in their best condition, because a small unattended flaw can become a headache and bitter your vacation. To avoid being stranded on the side of the road, it is best to make sure that each and every aspect of your car is in optimal condition to start your journey. A small revision, which can take a few minutes, will make a big difference.
Oil: before starting, you should check the engine oil levels, especially after winter. Check with the car in the cold, to have an accurate measurement. It is also advisable to check when it was the last time the oil and filter were changed if the date is close it is better to do it before leaving.
Antifreeze: this is easy to check because the deposit is usually transparent. It must be at the optimum levels.
Windshield washer fluid: seems trivial, but being able to clean the windshield in an emergency quickly can make the difference between an accident and an anecdote. Check also the condition of the windshield wipers.
Lights: check that all lights are working correctly, regulated, clean and at the correct height. Even if you do not plan to drive at night, it is better if the system works perfectly.
Battery: check the alternator, if it has any leakage, that the terminals are clean and that it is working correctly. Check the charge and replace if it's necessary.
Tires: Check the degree of wear of each tire, compared with the indicators in the tread. In theory, they should not be lower than 3mm. Also, they should not have dents, irregular wear, among others. If the steering wheel vibrates when you go to medium or high speed, it is essential to make alignment and rolling of the wheels. Remember to check tire pressure before leaving.
Shock absorbers: The shock absorbers and suspension of the vehicle are fundamental, since the stability of the car depends on them, especially when braking and when turning in corners. It is easy to check if your vehicle needs a shock absorber revision, support your weight on the body of the rear and let go at once. If the car goes up to its original position, the shock absorbers are in excellent condition, but if it bounces up and down, then it is essential to take it to the workshop for a thorough review.
Brakes: It is essential to check the operation of the brake system and brake fluid levels before making any trip since your safety, and that of the passengers depend on them to a great extent. The brake fluid level must be below the maximum limit, and the brake system must operate without any strange noise, the pedal must not sink when you step on it, and the braking distance must not be excessive.
Air filter: although this does not represent a safety risk, if you drive with a dirty air filter, then you will consume much more fuel.
Engine timing belt: this part shrinks quickly, and its break is incredibly common. In theory, it should be changed every 35 thousand to 150 thousand miles, depending on the age of the car. It is better to check it before leaving and avoid unpleasant surprises.