April is National Car Care Month and to celebrate, we’re rounding up our hottest tips on keeping your vehicle running in top condition. On deck this week: three steps to ensure your summer road trip is the safest and smoothest of the year.
Between the hot weather, long distances and bumper to bumper traffic, a summer road trip can be tough on your car. Not to mention the ice cream and hot dog spills wreaking havoc in the cabin.
If you’re planning on hitting the road soon, here’s how to make sure you have a safe and successful trip.
#1: Check your tire pressure and tread wear. If you notice your tire pressure is looking a bit low, stop by the nearest gas station to fill up to the recommended level. This number can be found either on a sticker inside the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. Passenger car tires are typically between 32 to 35 psi. Examine the tread of your tires and feel around for bulges or damage. Whether you’re on the road for pleasure or aiming for speed, flawed tires can severely impact your efficiency and gas mileage. Proper tire pressure and tread are the wind beneath your vehicle’s wings.
#2: Check your fluids. The coolant and power steering are usually in easy to reach places—be sure to check your levels and fill up accordingly. And don’t forget to bring a few gallons of spare gas in an approved container. One or all of these things may be the difference between making it to the nearest service station or being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
#3: Make sure the spare tire is full of air and you have all the tools necessary to change your tire. See #1 for the lecture on proper tire pressure. Be sure you at least have a jack, lug wrench and a spare tire traveling with you in the event of a flat. Phones these days are equipped with flashlights, but it never hurts to stow an actual flashlight in the glove box for nighttime fixes. An emergency warning device, like a reflective sign, will warn other drivers and keep you safe on the roadside.
If you think your car needs to be looked over by a professional, consider scheduling a roadworthiness check—often called a safety check or a used car inspection. You’ll never regret spending the extra time making sure your car is safe to drive long distances. As always, the internet is a wealth of information, and you’ll find some useful videos to guide you.
By following these steps, you can make sure your car is as ready for a summer road trip as you are. And don’t forget to follow along on social all throughout April to catch our car care tips and tricks!