If you are planning your next road trip, you’ll want to make sure that you make car maintenance a priority to ensure safe travels. Whether you’re transporting a large load over a long distance in a fleet vehicle, or planning a family fun trip, there are five things that you definitely want to check. The team here at Turn Key Truck & Auto Repair have compiled a list so that you can have all of the information you need to hit the road safely.
Do you see an orange engine shaped light on your dashboard? If so, this is your check engine light and that means you have an issue going on under your hood. This could mean that your gas cap may not be securely tightened or you have a bad O2 sensor. A bad O2 sensor is common and means that your car is burning more fuel than it actually needs and can ruin other components of your car. It’s a good idea to have a technician check out this important piece of your vehicle before your trip.
Make sure that your wheels are balanced and aligned before you hit the road is a common best practice for car maintenance. What tends to happen over time is one part of your wheel could be bearing more weight than another part, causing your car to vibrate (which can be felt on the steering wheel or front seats). Having an unbalanced wheel can also cause your tires to wear down unevenly, thus putting more strain on other parts of the car. Ensuring that your wheels are aligned and balanced will not only make for a smooth ride but can help to extend the longevity of your vehicle.
You always need your brakes to drive, and for obvious reasons, to keep you safe. Bad brake pads will not only cause you from not being able to stop or slow down properly, but it can also cause damage to your rotors. Damaged rotors will result in a hefty price in getting them replaced. Aside from your rotors, your tires will also take a hit when you are overcompensating on using bad brakes. Getting your brakes checked is important for safety and damage prevention so that you’ll have much more control on the road.
This component of your car is extremely important in keeping your power steering pump, alternator, and air conditioner running smoothly. Some signs of your belt wearing down is when you hear a squealing sound, your engine light is on, or your battery or power steering has loss performance. If this part breaks, your vehicle will stop running and that road trip will be delayed. Have your belt checked out to see if it needs a replacement before taking that long-distance trip.
Even though the date to get an oil change is weeks away, it’s a good idea to get an oil change before taking a long-distance road trip. Getting the oil change will result in your vehicle running much smoother and you’ll have peace of mind knowing the engine is properly lubricated. During the oil change inspection, the technician can also check to make sure your air filter is clean of dirt and bugs. You never want to take a road trip with a dirty filter because this could result in your engine working harder than it needs to and poor fuel economy.
There are smaller items on your car maintenance checklist that you can inspect on your own. For example, check to make sure that your windshield wipers are not worn down and are functioning properly. Run a quick test to see that your lights and signals are working. Do a walk around to see that the tire treads are not worn down and the tire pressure is up to par. Lastly, check your fluid levels (wiper fluid, oil, coolant) and make sure they are not low.