How to prepare your vehicle for a road trip

Jeep Grand Cherokee on road trip through woodsRoad trip season is in motion, and to keep the good times rolling make sure you’ve followed these steps before you set off.

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Check the tires

Take a walk around your vehicle to examine the tires for wear and place a penny upside down between the tread. If you see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, the tire is well worn and it’s time for a replacement. Uneven wear, meanwhile, could mean the tires need to be rotated. Keep an eye open for damage, such as cuts and bulges in the sidewall, then check the tires’ pressure against the levels recommended in the owner’s manual. Many vehicles will also display this information inside the driver’s door pillar.

Top off oil and fluids

There are numerous fluids that should be monitored and kept at the correct levels, including engine oil and engine coolant along with brake, transmission, power steering and windshield washer fluids. If your vehicle is coming up for an oil change, you may want to go ahead and have the oil changed now.

Replace worn out wiper blades

Besides topping up that washer fluid, you’ll need an effective set of windshield wipers to keep your windshield clear and maintain good visibility. Turn on the wipers and if they’re struggling, replace them.

Inspect the battery

Check the battery is up to the journey ahead, too. The cable connections need to be tight, clean and free of corrosion. Depending on the age of your vehicle, it could be time for the battery to be tested.

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Make sure all lights work

Fully functioning lights are key to safety, so test all lights are working and get new bulbs where any are broken. This includes front and back headlights, high beams, brake and reverse lights plus turn signals.

Inspect belts and hoses

Turn to your owner’s manual to find out if belts and hoses are due for a service. Both of these important parts wear over time and having either of them fail on your trip could leave you stranded.

Check the brakes

Don’t forget the brakes! If you hear them making an unusual sound, such as grinding, or feel a vibration, be sure to get them looked over.

The extra mile

Are you all set for more vehicle tips and information? Browse through further articles about car ownership.