If you’re planning a road trip to enjoy some time off for spring break, make sure your vehicle is ready to hit the road.
There are convenient roadside services available at the push of a button these days, but that doesn’t mean you want to embark on an adventure only to be stalled with car trouble. Before you head out, make sure your vehicle is ready for your road trip.
Tune More Than Just the Radio
You have curated the perfect playlist, but have you tuned up your car lately? You can give it a once-over yourself or bring it to Master Muffler Bountiful; whichever you choose, don’t skip this part of your road trip prep!
Kick the Tires
Okay, so you can’t really check tire pressure by kicking them, but this saying is referring to reading the psi and checking the treads. You can add air to your tires for free at many gas stations if you need to boost the psi, or you can use your own air compressor at home. To ensure your tire treads are in good shape, look for even wear, and grooves that are at least 2/32 inches in depth. If you’re going somewhere with snow or rain, it’s especially important that your tires are ready for the slick driving conditions.
When was the last time you inspected your spare tire? Do you know where it’s located and how to replace a tire if necessary? Before you leave home, practice getting your spare out and using the tools you need to change a flat (jack, lug wrench, wheel wedges, etc…).
Check the Brakes
Before you pump up the jams on the road, be sure to pump your brakes first. Listen while driving, and test braking responsiveness. If you have any concerns about sounds while braking, bring your vehicle to Master Muffler for a brake inspection. We can determine if the brake line is intact and if the pads, rotors, shoes, or drum are in working order.
Top Off Fluids
One of the most annoying parts of a road trip is all the dead bugs on your grill and windshield. So, be sure you’ve topped off your washer fluid before leaving town. Also, check your oil and coolant levels to be sure your engine is good to go. If your power steering is giving you any trouble, you might need to have that system looked at and refilled as well. Again, this type of car repair is something our team can help you with.
If you’re headed to a warmer climate for spring break, make sure your AC is working. If it’s not running as cold as you’d like, you might need to have filters replaced, or the system recharged to keep you cool on the road.
Have you ever been caught in a flash rainstorm and watched your wipers fly off your windshield in a vain attempt to keep up with the deluge as you barrel down the highway? If not, consider yourself lucky! To avoid this yourself, consider replacing your front and rear wipers before your road trip. At the very least, check that they’re secure and haven’t been disrupted thanks to repeated windshield scraping this winter.
In the event your battery dies at any point on your road trip, make sure you not only have jumper cables but that you know how to use them. If you’ll be traveling remote roads where you may find yourself the only car for miles around, it’s a good idea to have a portable power generator so you can jumpstart your battery on your own. Road Show by CNET has a list of the best car battery chargers HERE.
Stock More Than Snacks
You definitely need road trip fuel in the form of snacks and drinks, but you also need to stock your emergency supplies. Be prepared for the unexpected by packing the following in your car:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Basic auto tools (screwdrivers, socket set, locking pliers, ratchet straps, tire gauge, zip ties, duct tape)
- Power source for charging phones
- First-aid kit (bandages, antiseptic wipes, antibacterial cream, safety pins, adhesive tape, anti-itch cream, burn salve)
- Extra drinking water and non-perishable food
- Emergency flares and roadside reflectors
- Rain gear
- Extra blankets
If you’re heading to the mountains for skiing during spring break, it’s a good idea to also have a compact snow shovel and a bag of kitty litter or sand to help you out of slippery situations.
Overall, the best prep you can do before a road trip is to pay attention to your car in the weeks prior. Don’t put off any maintenance if you notice something that seems different or questionable. Whether you want a new set of tires, an oil change, or an engine tune-up, make an appointment with Master Muffler Bountiful before your trip.