When you’re preparing for a long trip, it’s best to consider preparing your car as well. This is especially true if you have an older car or a car that had major issues before. This doesn’t have to be an expensive check-up, but if it’s done well, it could point out to potential problems and keep your trip comfortable.
Some of the preparations could be done by an average car owner, but it’s also a good idea to use the services of a professional just to make sure.
Tires are the simplest part of your car to check and they need to be maintained if you want to stay safe on the road. Start by checking the pressure yourself and make sure that it’s according to the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
It’s also a good idea to be sure there’s no wear and tear. That can be done simply by inserting a coin into the tire and seeing how much of it disappears. It should go half-way through if the tires are well preserved. If not, the only way to go is to purchase new ones.
If the trip is going to be long and if there’s a chance you won’t be close to a city for a while, you might want to invest in an emergency kit. The kit should contain a flair and signalization that will let you call for help in case something happens and some basic tools.
Most of the times, all you need is a small repair, and if you bring spare parts with you, you may not even need to call a mechanic. Pack a silicone hose like the one you can get from T.I. Performance and you’ll be able to stop and repairs small leaks.
Most problems that happen with old cars are fluid-related. The problems might start acting up if you’re driving long distances. Make sure to have a check-up and cover all the basics before you go on the road. If you’re not sure about what to do, hire a professional to do it, so nothing gets overlooked.
Power steering, brake fluids, and antifreeze are the first things to look at, but make sure to check transmission fluid as well. It’s a bit more complicated, but it needs to get done every once in a while.
Keeping track of oil level is the key to making sure you have a running motor. Make sure that the motor has been running for a while before you check. Turn it off and open the hood and you’ll find a dipstick designed for this.
Insert the stick into the tube and then see where the oil has made a stain. There are two letters on the stick, L and H, which show whether the oil is on a low or high level. This will let you know when to add or change it.
In the end, make sure to take a car for a drive before you make the trip. That way, you can see how the car feels while you’re driving and if there’s anything out of the ordinary. Focus on the way the car feels, is it bumpy or are there any strange noises coming out of the engine.
If you notice some sort of problem, you’re probably not going to be able to understand it, but you’ll know how to describe it to the mechanic.
A check-up before a long trip could do you a lot of good. It will help you spot problems before they cause real harm.