When planning a road trip, it’s important to ensure your car is prepared for the journey. Whether you’ve been daydreaming up grand plans of hitting the open road in the United States or elsewhere around the world, the last thing you need is a breakdown to put a roadblock in your plans. Here are some maintenance tasks that will help prepare your vehicle for a smooth road trip.
Fluids and General Maintenance
You don’t need to be a mechanic to know that your car runs on various fluids. Oil, for example, is critical to the car engine as it lubricates moving parts like the pistons, camshaft, and crankshaft. The recommended oil change interval used to be every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but more recent models recommend changing oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. You’ll also want to check on your radiator fluid as a low level could result in overheating. Make sure to also check your brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield fluid.
For safety reasons, you’ll want to inspect your lightbulbs, turn signals, and brake pads, especially if your brakes have been making any screeching noises. To prevent dust and debris from entering the engine and impacting its performance, make sure to change your engine air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Also, check the belts and hoses to ensure that they’re in good condition and don’t need to be replaced.
If you want to avoid any unplanned bumps in the road, inspecting your tires prior to a road trip is crucial. First, check the air pressure for each tire and ensure that they match the recommended air pressure written in either your owner’s manual or on a sticker on the inside driver’s door. Underinflated tires will waste gas and overinflated tires will be less compliant. Continue to check your tire pressure roughly every 1,000 miles as you travel. It’s also important that your tires have been rotated if needed and that you rotate them throughout your trip. Allowing your tires to last longer, rotations are recommended every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
You should also ensure that your tires don’t need to be replaced before your road trip. A tire replacement is recommended every 25,000 to 50,000 miles, and they should be visually inspected for any damage prior to and throughout the journey. If you’re unsure whether they need replacing, give them the penny test. Stick a penny into the groove of your tire tread with Lincoln’s head facing into the groove. If you’re able to see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires need to be replaced. Even if it’s close, if you’re going on a long road trip you should have them replaced.
If you don’t want to constantly check your tires, consider Continental’s intelligent tires. These come with a tire sensor that continuously monitors the pressure and temperature of the tire and transmits the information to a receiver system.
Depending on the length of your planned trip, you may feel like you’re living out of your car for long stretches of time. It’s, therefore, important to clean and organize your vehicle before the road trip. One of the most frustrating parts of a road trip is when you’re driving and everything to which you need convenient access becomes disorganized and/or misplaced. You forgot you packed your wallet in the backseat and you need it to pay for the toll. Or perhaps your phone battery is running low from your GPS, but your phone charger is in your backpack and you can’t exactly reach down and get it from the passenger side floor when you’re going 60 MPH on the highway.
To avoid these speed bumps, it can be helpful to employ car organizers to keep your belongings convenient and allow you to avoid that dreaded moment when your phone slips between the seats. If you also utilize a trunk organizer, this can aid in packing your luggage and utilizing your interior space with optimal efficiency.
For more transportation news, check out why so many flights are canceled this summer, best road trips around the world, Continental Tire’s new partnership, and the world’s first-ever holographic teleportation.
For more information about the technology and sustainability of tires, tune in to Tomorrow’s World Today’s “The Tires of Tomorrow” at 8:30 AM this Saturday, August 20 on the Science Channel, or watch the full episode below!