Every year families and friends pack up a vehicle and set off into the sunrise for vacations and trips. The music is playing and the conversation is flowing until…whoops, the vehicle crawls to a stop on the side of the highway. Typically, chances are, no one in the vehicle is a mechanic. Vehicle preparation is a key component of commute preparation that is overseen.
Most vehicle owners understand that routine maintenance is needed to keep a vehicle functioning properly. What they do not realize is that being within driving distance of everything is the cause of most repair needs. For instance, in a long-distance drive, the alternator has a chance to recharge the battery. On quick trips, the battery does not have that chance. This can minimize the life of the battery.
Not to mention, the oil also needs a chance to burn off combustion byproducts and moisture. Also essential is making sure the engine reaches a prime temperature also ensures that the running parts are properly lubricated. Short trips deny the engine a chance to do these things and reduce the performance of the vehicle. With that in mind, it is imperative that the vehicle has an inspection before taking a long journey.
Ensuring the road trip is fun for everyone means a lot more than the driver getting a good night’s rest beforehand. It also means taking the vehicle for a little routine vehicle maintenance to prevent unwanted breakdowns. Long-distance trips can expose the underlying issues that have been ignored on short trips. To minimize potential problems, have a professional mechanic perform a vehicle inspection to identify and repair needs calling for immediate attention or brewing. A preventative checklist includes the following:
Checking Oil and Fluids
The amount of oil and fluids in the vehicle impacts how well the engine keeps cool, reducing wear and tear by keeping moving parts lubricated and assists in the overall function of the engine.
Visual Inspection and Tire Rotation/Replacement
Fortunately, visually checking the tires is one item most owners perform on a regular basis. However, the rotation and/or replacement of the tires is what falls by the wayside.
The last thing you want to discover on a dark winding road is that your headlights are about to go out. This compromises road safety and can cause a trip delay. If ignored, your safety is compromised as well as risking a citation. Therefore, be sure that all the lights on the vehicle are operational is important.
Auto Repair Needs
While the preventive list is not exhaustive or undoable, it can keep down the chance of needing emergency services. Depending on the overall condition of the vehicle, there may be a few other boxes that should be checked. Before loading up the vehicle, your mechanic may need to perform some overdue repairs.
Check Engine Lights
One of the most overlooked alerts on a vehicle is the check engine lights. The light comes on while driving and can indicate something simple or complex. Consequently, what could have been an easy maintenance fix can, after ignored, present the need for serious vehicle work.
Tires are an essential part of the vehicle. After all, that vehicle is not moving without a set of tires on it and, if compromised, can influence the ease of the vehicles operation. Checking the depth of the tread and air pressure could mean the difference between a smooth ride and a night pulled over on the highway. For extra preparation, having a spare in the trunk is a terrific idea as well, especially if long commutes are regular or you are embarking on a trip.
Another component that is often overlooked is the windshield wipers. Finding out that they are not completely operational is not something you want to discover in the rain. Compromised conditioned windshield wipers require replacement before hitting the road.
Undergoing preventative measures makes a road trip doable and uncompromised as well as does not put your vehicle at risk and progressively undergoing damage. In most cases, all the stop-and-go trips around town are the cause of auto repair needs that were ignored. With everything that the vehicle goes through on a regular basis and burns through, staying ahead of a vehicle’s needs is especially essential if you commute frequently or are embarking on more travel than usual this summer. Routine vehicle maintenance will drastically reduce the chances of needing an emergency auto repair on the road during commutes or summer travel.