Posted Friday, November 12, 2021
Road trips with your friends and family make for some of the best memories. Therefore, it is crucial for you to ensure that your vehicle is in tiptop shape and current on all of its maintenance before departing on your trip. Even if you have recently had your car serviced, it is wise to have your vehicle checked again before heading out. So, let’s explore what a pre-road trip checklist should look like.
Your vehicle’s engine belts and hoses are critical components that keep your engine running smoothly. Hoses, often referred to as heater hoses, allow the engine’s fluids to flow freely throughout the engine. However, as hoses age, they can shrink or become brittle, requiring them to be replaced. Also, look for signs of leaks at the ends of hoses; this could be due to a loose hose clamp.
Belts drive the significant components of your vehicle’s engine, including the cooling systems, electrical, and power steering. Belts endure significant stress, becoming frayed or forming cracks over time. When belts show excessive wear, it is best to have them replaced before taking a long road trip. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual has all of the manufacturer’s recommendations for when to service your belts and hoses, giving you an idea of when they may need to be replaced.
There are two components that ensure your vehicle’s electrical system is performing at expected levels, the alternator and the battery. The alternator is belt-driven and produces electricity to run all of your vehicle’s electrical components such as lights, heater fans, power outlets, the stereo, power seats, and windshield wipers. The alternator also charges your car’s battery while in operation. When the alternator isn’t producing enough electricity, your battery will be drained, causing your vehicle to stall. You can have your alternator checked to determine if it is operating at peak efficiency.
The battery maintains a charge and provides the power to crank your vehicle. When a battery has aged and is no longer capable of holding enough charge to crank the engine, it will need to be replaced. Sometimes the battery is low on charge due to a bad alternator, so it is best to have both of these components checked at the same time to ensure that they are both working correctly before leaving for your trip.
Keeping a check on your vehicle’s fluids should be a regular routine and should be done before leaving for any long trips. You will need to check the engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield cleaning solution. If it is close to time for any of these fluids to be changed, having them changed before your trip is highly recommended.
Filters, such as cabin air filters and engine air filters, should be replaced regularly. Your engine needs clean air to run efficiently, making it necessary to change the air filter when it has become filthy. The cabin air filter cleans the air pumped into your vehicle’s interior through the heating and cooling system. This filter ensures that you are getting the cleanest air possible inside the car. Checking this filter and changing it when needed will allow you and your passengers to have the freshest air possible inside the vehicle.
Night driving is challenging for many drivers; your headlights, taillights, blinkers, and emergency flashers are of utmost importance. You will need to thoroughly inspect all of your vehicle’s lights to ensure that they are working. If you find that any of your lights are out, you will need to replace the bulbs. As an added precaution when traveling on a long road trip, you can stock up on replacement bulbs because you can never know when one might go out.
The electrical system of your vehicle is an intricate system of wires and fuses. This system is susceptible to power surges that can blow fuses, causing components not to work. For example, there are fuses for your vehicle’s stereo, power windows, power seats, various engine components, etc. Keeping spare fuses on hand will ensure that if you have an electrical issue, you will have replacement fuses to hold you over until you can get the underlying problem repaired. Sometimes fuses will blow due to age, and being prepared with spare fuses can be a lifesaver out on the road.
Tires take just about the most abuse of any part of your vehicle. Unfortunately, so many roads today are neglected, crumbling, and falling apart, putting your car’s tires through significant wear and tear. Keeping your tires rotated and balanced, as your tire manufacturer suggests, will help keep the wear of your tires even, extending the life span of your tires. Tire tread is the primary concern when inspecting your tires, and there are tools that read tire tread depth, or you can have a professional in the Exclusive Motorcars service department take a look at your tires before your big trip.
Stopping — and doing so promptly — is a crucial aspect of driving, and your vehicle’s brakes are critical. Unfortunately, brakes wear over time and can become less effective with age. The braking system of your car consists of brake pads, rotors, and calipers or drums. Out of all of these components, the brake pads will need to be replaced more than the rest, but the other components can wear down and will need to be replaced over time as well.
Most brake pads are equipped with a built-in warning system that causes the brakes to make a high-pitched squealing noise when they reach the end of their life span, alerting you that they need to be replaced. It would be best to have your braking system inspected regularly, but especially before leaving for a family road trip.
When you set aside the time to take care of your vehicle, it will stay in good condition and operate efficiently and safely. Contact Exclusive Motorcars for more information on this topic or to have your vehicle serviced by our excellent service department. Ensuring that all of the critical components of your car are working correctly before going on a road trip will allow you to enjoy the ride without worrying about the reliability of your vehicle. Use these tips as a pre-road trip checklist before leaving on your next adventure.