With the holiday season kicking off, most of us are putting together travel plans to see our family and friends. If you have a significant road trip coming up, be sure to prepare your vehicle before you set off! Every year around this time, we have travelers forced to make an unplanned stop into our shop – we’re always happy to get them back to the road and plans safely – but we’ve put together a Vehicle Road Trip Checklist so you can avoid pit stops along the way.
Some items on the checklist are best done a week or two in advance, others best performed the day before the trip, we’ve broken those down into categories to make it easy!
Tire Pressure and Condition (Including your spare!).
Be sure your tires are free of any cracks or splits and are properly inflated. Your vehicles tire pressures should be at least up to the door label. This label is located on the inside door jamb of the driver’s side. It will give the recommended tire pressures for the front and rear as well as the spare. It is important to verify that your spare tire has the correct air pressure. A deflated spare tire will be of no use to you if you have a flat tire. Most manufactures recommend the tires to be 1-2 degree higher than the label states to allow for differences between the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensors.
Get your vehicle an Oil Change. When traveling it is important to be sure that your vehicle is running at its best. Having the correct amount of motor oil and making sure it is clean will keep your vehicle running efficiently. Have a paper towel or rag available, pull the motor oil dipstick and verify that the oil level is up to the full mark on the stick. If your travel plans will set you over the 5,000 mark for an oil change or if your oil’s condition is dark or low, get an oil change before you take to the road. Here at Global Automotive our oil change service actually checks most of these next boxes for you, so if you’re in the Fauquier, VA area one appointment could have you ready to go! (See what comes standard with our Oil Change)
Inspect Belts and Hoses. A thorough inspection to be sure there are no visible cracks in your hoses and belts can save you down the road. Be sure if any need to be replaced to complete that service before you hit the road!
Inspect Your Brakes. It can be difficult to tell how much of your brake pads is left on your vehicle. With your flashlight and if you are able to see your brake pads, a 2mm brake pad will pass Virginia State Inspection, however, it may not be enough to get you through a trip to the Grandparents house. If your car is making noise when you are braking, you may need to have your brakes looked at and maybe replaced.
Engine air and cabin air filters – You would be surprised at how dirty the air that your vehicle breathes can be. When your car is serviced at Global Automotive, we check your air filters for you. Usually, it is only necessary to change these filters once a year. If you live or drive on gravel roads, sometimes it is necessary to replace them more often. The cabin air filter filters out the air that the occupants breathe. Sometimes, these can be clogged with critter debris, acorn pieces, pine needles, etc. If this filter is dirty the quality of the air circulation and filtration declines.
Check Fluids. Some fluids should be checked at least a week prior, just in case you spot an issue and need to have it handled by professionals, these include your power steering and brake fluids. Below is a quick guide to checking each of these.
The day before your trip there are a few things to check to ensure a safe trip. A simple checklist could help you have a safe and pleasant drive. (These items are all inspected during our Oil Change Service)
Check Fluids. The day before you leave for your trip, there are some fluids that need a quick check the day before. Topping off any of these is quick and easy. The fluids to check the day before your trip include: oil, windshield washer fluid and coolant levels. Below is a quick guide to checking each of these.
Lights and Wipers. Whether your trip has you traveling through the night or in the rain, making sure you’re prepared to handle the elements with bright lights and clear view is imperative.
Check your Battery. Vehicle batteries typically last between 3-4 years, while some batteries can last as long as 6 years – others may only provide your vehicle power for a year or two. Testing your battery before a long drive can save you from making an accidental hard stop at a pitstop along the way.
Now that your road trip checklist is completely checked off, your vehicle should provide a safe and smooth ride this holiday season. From all of us at Global Automotive, we wish you good food, wonderful company, and warm holiday memories this year.