Autumn is here, and there can’t be a more perfect time to go for a fun road trip with your family and friends. There so many beautiful places to experience and immerse in and make unforgettable memories with your loved ones.
Driving your car across the country has a sweet charm that cannot be compared to flying. Road trips allow us to directly interact with nature and ‘feel’ the unique culture, cuisine, and people experiences that come along the way.
To make sure that your trip goes smoothly as planned and the fun is not spoiled it’s important to perform some necessary vehicle safety checks before you hit the road. Nothing can ruin a great day on the road like the occurrence of an unforeseen problem which was entirely preventable in the first place.
These 5 tips are immensely useful to make sure that you have your safety and convenience under control. That’s right. If you’re looking to avoid problems on a road trip, we’ve got some stellar suggestions.
- Keep a check on Fluid Levels:
Engine oil is the first and the most important fluid in your vehicle that needs to be monitored. It’s what makes your engine come to life and is pretty easy to inspect. Under your car’s hood, there will be a small dipstick (marked OIL) which you will use for the procedure. Before you check engine oil levels, make sure that your car is cooled off and parked at a leveled ground.
All you have to do is pull out the dipstick, clean it, put it back in and then take it out again to check the levels. The marker on the dipstick will tell you whether your levels are high or low. If levels are low by any chance, then you need to take your car for an oil change or service before you head off.
There are other clear containers under the hood which have other liquids like brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid and clutch fluid for manual transmissions. All these have markers to show whether they are empty or full so make sure you check them all before leaving your home for the adventure.
- Check the weight holding capacity:
The doors of your car (on the inside) will have stickers that clearly state the maximum capacity of your vehicle with the passengers and cargo. Perhaps the worst mistake you can do is to overburden your car. Remember, not paying attention to the maximum load capacity can cause severe damage to the suspension or drivetrain. Not to forget, you’ll have to spend more money on fuel as overloading your car lowers gas mileage.
- Check the tread level as well as air pressure in tires:
When you are checking the inside of your door-jam for the stickers stating the weight capacity, you will also find the recommended tire inflation pressure. Note that number and then check the current air pressure in your tire using an air pressure gauge. Most gas stations have the facility to gauge tire pressure.
Ensuring that your tires have the correct air pressure will not just make your vehicle more fuel efficient, but you can keep your family safe.
For your tread depth measurement, a clever way is to use a penny. Just put the penny in the tread and check whether the Lincoln Memorial is entirely hidden or not. If the memorial is not visible, this means you have enough tread to take the journey. Then turn the coin around, and check whether Lincolns head can be seen. If you can see the top of the head, you need new tires. Yes, it’s that simple!
- Check your spare tire and tools:
Firstly, you have to make sure that you have a spare tire which is properly inflated and has no punctures because it’s utterly pointless and potentially risky to carry a damaged spare tire.
You also need to make sure that you have all the necessary tools for changing a tire. It’s also important to have a flashlight in case you have to fix a puncture in the middle of the night on a unlit unpaved road. Also, make sure other safety tools like a first aid kit is at your disposal.
- Check the exterior workings:
Do not forget to inspect the car from the outside like windows, wipers and front and rear lights. It’s important that the wipers are not worn out as it could be dangerous during heavy rain. Your windows should be working properly. Headlights, of course, are critical and should be in perfect condition.
Lastly, make sure your vehicle is well suited to make road trips and can bear the unpredictable weather and road conditions. It’s not a smart idea to use a city machine for rough terrains and off-road activities – never try to push the limits of your car.
If you are not sure whether your vehicle is right for rough terrains and activities like camping it’s a good idea to rent travel vehicles like trailers to survive the road trip without going crazy.
Hopefully, these simple tips will ensure that all the fun on the road is not spoiled as long as you implement them responsibly. These checks are simple enough to do it yourself, however, make sure you read the manual, especially if it’s a rented vehicle and go to a servicing facility and seek help from a professional if you have questions.