woman leaning out of passenger window of a car on a road trip

How To Prepare Your Car For A Road Trip

If you are thinking the same and are planning a road trip of your own follow these tips to ensure you don’t run into trouble.

With many countries baring international visitors and people trying to avoid travelling by plane, the summer of 2020 is seeing the resurgence of road trips. Even though we live in Huntington Beach, a place many people travel to for vacations, after months of quarantine a staycation isn’t what we want right now! If you are thinking the same and are planning a road trip of your own follow these tips to ensure you don’t run into trouble.

Safety Issues and Recalls

With a long trip ahead the last thing you want is for your car to suffer from a predictable malfunction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website has a great tool to check for safety issues and recalls, simply enter the vin number of your vehicle and it will advise you of any known issues. If there is a problem, you should get it taken care of before a long trip.

Check your lights

What’s a nice way to ruin a road trip? Getting a ticket because your brake lights or turn signals aren’t working. Start your car and leave it in park, engage the right turn signal and get out and check its flashing on the front and back, then repeat for the left turn. With the car still in park ask someone to press the brake pedal for you (or put something heavy on it, like a brick, if you’re on your own) and walk to the back of the car to make sure they are working. Finally turn on your headlights, then your main beams (not sure if that’s an English term!) to make sure they are working too, chances are you will be driving in the dark at some point!

Check your Tires

If your tires are not inflated properly you can end up with poor mileage (under inflated) or an uncomfortable ride (over inflated). You should also look for bulges in the side of your tires as this is a warning sign the tires is wearing out and could cause a blowout. Our Tire Maintenance page explains more on how to care for your tires and also has a nice tread depth test you can do with a penny to check if your tires are still legal. Lastly, if your car doesn’t have run flat tires make sure that your spare is in good condition and you have everything in the care you need to change it.

Check your Windscreen

Are they any chips on your windscreen, if so get them taken care of before you leave as you don’t want them to turn into cracks or worse. Check that your window wipers are working properly, not everywhere has the weather we get in Southern California so you might end up needing them. Also check the level of window wiper fluid, your car is probably going to get dirty on a long trip and being able to see where you are going is kind of important!

person checking the oil level of a car

Check Your Oil

Oil keeps your engine running by lubricating the parts, you can check your oil level by pulling out the dip stick and taking a reading, but if you haven’t had an oil change recently that wont tell what condition your oil is in.

Check your Brakes

Does your car still stop like it did when it was new? The are lots of signs your brakes are wearing out such as noises and shaking and they shouldn’t be ignored. When was the last time your brake fluid was changed? Old brake fluid can cause damage or even failure to your Automatic Braking system. If you don’t remember when your last brake service was, we strongly recommend you get your brakes checked before a road trip to make sure your family is safe.

Pack an Emergency Kit

With all the best preparation in the world unexpected things can still happen so you should put together an emergency kit. Things to consider include: a basic first aid kit, flashlight, nonperishable food, bottled water, medicines, blankets and maps of the areas you are travelling, just in case you end up somewhere without cell service. We have provided a guide for what to pack in your emergency kit so you can be prepared for anything that might happen on your trip.

Let us get you Road Trip Ready

Here at Expertec Automotive we provide a comprehensive inspection and oil change for only $39.95. This 36-point inspection includes 5 quarts of oil, filter change, checks of all fluid levels, brake checks and tire inspections (we will even rotate them too if you ask). As a AAA approved auto shop you can rest assured that your car will be ready for your trip in no time. Call us today at (714) 848-9222 to schedule an appointment.