Getting Ready To Hit The Road This Summer?

"Keys, check. Snacks, check. Full tank of gas, check. Kids.... Wait where are the kids?!"

Packing and prepping for a road trip is stressful, but what is even more stressful is dealing with car problems on the side of the highway.

 

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Tires

Tires are the only part of your car that touch the road, so you want to be sure that they won't fail.

If you're traveling to a hotter climate, be sure your tire pressure is accurate, and lower it as necessary. The hotter the air, the higher the tire pressure. The higher the tire pressure, the more likely it will blow. Low tire pressure decreases your MPG, but makes for a softer, squishier ride. High tire pressure increases MPG, and is easier to handle but makes for a bumpier ride. 

Where do I find the correct tire pressure, you ask? The most accurate place to find the pressure is on the side wall of the tire, it will say __ PSI MAXIMUM, there should also be a sticker on the jamb of your driver's door with it also, but only use that as a guide if you are using factory wheels/tires. Newer cars have pressure sensors in the tire, that will trigger a light when tire pressure is too low or too high. 

AAA

In case of anything completely catastrophic, it's always good to have a back up plan, and that's AAA. 

From jumping your car to towing your car, they'll be there when you need them. 

Fluids

Being too low on any of your fluids can make your trip come to an unexpected stop.

If you're low on coolant, your car will overheat and that is the main cause of blown head gaskets. If your car runs out of oil your engine will almost immediately seize. Low on tranny fluid might cause your transmission to slip at high revs and create bigger problems down the road (literally).  Running out of brake fluid means no brakes, no matter how hard you push or pump the pedal. And being out of washer fluid on a road trip is just a pain. 

 

Dash Lights

Your dash shouldn't look like Christmas in July.. If there is any light on that isn't your high or low beams and/or your fog lights, you need to get those codes read before heading out. Who knows, maybe your check engine light is on because your gas cap is loose, or it's because you're out of oil. But you'll never know until you get it checked out. 

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Tint

Tint can help prevent  your interior from harmful UV rays, that will crack and dye your seats or dash over time. It will also keep the sun off of you and your passengers, keeping you nice and cool on your trip. 

Be sure to get tint at least 36 hours before your road trip, so it gives the film a chance to adhere to the window and you'll be able to roll your windows down for those pit-stops to the McDonald's drive-through. 

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Exterior/Interior Lights

If you have a headlight or a tail light out, during your night drive you might risk getting pulled over, as well as getting into an accident. Those two come at a way heftier price than a $7 brake light bulb.. Some newer cars have fault codes that pop up on your dash when a light is out, but most don't. Have a buddy or coworker check help you when checking your lights.

Leaving interior lights on for even while you're loading or unloading gear can kill your battery, especially if it's low, get your battery tested before your trip and always bring jumper cables so you aren't left dead in the water.