Are you planning a road trip? Then make sure your car’s in good working order to keep your vacation from becoming memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Thanks to Juanita Firs 76 in Kirkland, we’re bringing you the ten essential checks you need to do before heading out.
1. Check the fluids. This includes oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and brake fluid. If you have not changed your oil in the last 3,000 miles, now would be a good time to change it.
2. Top off any fluids that are low. Buy extra bottles of each type to keep in the trunk, in case you should need them and are not near a service station.
3. Replace your windshield wipers. If your wipers don’t give you a smear-free view when it rains, it’s time to swap them for new ones.
4. Make sure your car’s battery and cables are securely attached and free of corrosion. Car batteries typically last three to five years.
5. Check the brakes. Make sure your brakes are at least 50 percent. If they are lower than that, and you are driving more than 1,000 miles round trip, or if you plan on driving in mountains, have the brakes replaced.
6. Make sure all shocks, struts and springs are in good working order. If not, now would be the time to replace them.
7. Get a tune up. If it has been a while since your last maintenance update (more than three years), do the recommended maintenance for your car. If you have a timing belt and you are within a few thousand miles of the replacement time, have the timing belt replaced.
8. Check to make sure all lights are working. This includes brakes, turn signals, headlights and taillights. If you are driving a truck with running lights or a motorhome, make sure all running lights are working.
9. Check the tires. If the tires are showing any tread wear, replace the tires. If the tires have uneven tread wear, check the alignment too. Make sure all four tires and the spare are inflated to proper tire pressure.
10. Make sure the service engine soon light and any other “dummy lights” in the dash are not lit. If they are lit, fix the problem before you leave (even if the car seems to be running properly)!
Do you have a funny road trip story about a vacation that didn’t quite go as planned? Share them in the comments!