Summer means action and adventure. Blue skies and warm weather are reason enough to get outside after being cooped up inside during the cold Winter months.  Warm weather and adventure may stir up the desire for a fun road trip. Who doesn’t love Summer road trips? However, if you are planning a road trip, the best planning can be undone if you can’t depend on your vehicle to get you where you’re planning to go. Car care is necessary all year, but it is especially important before a road trip. We are going to give you some tasks to complete before you hit the road.

1.Check Your Fluids

This has been said before, but before a road trip there are many different fluids that need to be checked. The last time your car was serviced, and your fluids were checked probably depends on your millage. Consider how far you’ve driven since your last service, and how far you will be driving for your road trip, this will help you decide what needs attention. Consider these fluids when servicing your car.

Oil: Oil is critical for your engine. Your oil allows moving components to work smoothly without friction. Your oil should be changed about every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. So if you’ve had your oil changed within that range, you are probably safe, but to be safe, use the oil stick to check the oil condition and fill level.

Coolant: Your coolant, sometimes referred to as radiator fluid allows the radiator to work and keep your engine cool. The coolant works to extract heat from the engine and through the radiator. If your coolant level isn’t where it needs to be your engine could overheat. So make sure to check the level of your coolant, and add some if need be.

Brake Fluid: Brake fluid compresses inside the brake lines in order to force the brake pads to clamp on the rotors, and slow your car down. So if you plan on being able to stop your vehicle, brake fluid is pretty important. If you’re brake pedal feels like you’re having to push further than normal, make sure you look into this, because the fluid could be contaminated.  Otherwise, check the level of your brake fluid, and top it off if necessary. You’re brake fluid should be flushed about every 36,000 miles.

Power Steering Fluid: This fluid allows your wheel to turn easily at any speed. Make sure your steering feels right because if this fluid becomes contaminated your steering will be less responsive. If you don’t feel a difference in your steering control, this fluid is probably just fine.

Transmission Fluid: This fluid allows your gears to shift smoothly, and if the fluid is going bad you will notice jerky and uncomfortable shifts. Transmission fluid lasts a long time, and typically only needs to be replaced after 60,000 miles.

Windshield Fluid: Long drives mean a lot of bug splatter, and dirt on the windshield. Keeping your windshield clean is important, because after all, you need to be able to see where you’re going. Adding this fluid is very basic and easy, keep a funnel available and a jug of spare fluid available to fill up the reservoir as you need.

2.Tires

Check your tire pressure before you leave for your road trip, and continue to check it every 1,000 miles. Having the right tire pressure will assure the best gas millage, as well as making sure your tires aren’t wearing unevenly. If you’ve driven on your tires for a long time, or your road trip is going to be extra long, keep tire rotation in mind. Your tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. This will help your tires last longer.

Before you ramp up for a long road trip, follow these steps and make sure your vehicle is protected. If you want to protect your vehicle other ways, we can help!