Summer Road Trip Part 1: Pre-trip Check
It’s official, SUMMER IS HERE! Now that school’s out and we have our kids all to ourselves again, we can’t wait to hit the road and explore the amazing paradise right in our own backyard! Think back to your own stash of priceless memories from countless road trips as a kid and use this summer to help your kids start building their own. It’s time to pack up the minivan and hit the open road!
When getting ready for any road trip it’s a great idea to follow the old scout motto: “Always be prepared.” Whether you’re driving cross-province to Banff, or cross-country to Toronto there are a couple things you should always take care of to make sure you are set to have uninterrupted (and safe) fun! Here are a few that should be on your to-do list at the beginning of every summer:
- Visual Tire Inspection
- Check your Treads: Have you ever had the opportunity to have a tire blowout on you when driving down the highway? If you’re on your own and someone can quickly rescued you, it’s not so bad. You would NEVER want to go through that experience with a vanload of impatient kids in an unfamiliar place or worse, in the middle of nowhere.Whether you are going to travel 1,000 km, 10,000 km, or even further, you depend upon your tires to get you there. If they don’t have sufficient tread, it’s going to pose various problems. For example, if you encounter heavy amounts of rain, you need enough traction to stay on the road. To avoid having issues, it might be necessary to replace one or more tires. Generally, tires are replaced in pairs in order to help with overall balance, so having the same kind of tire for front and back is important, especially if you plan on using 4-wheel drive for those more adventurous excursions.If you have a nail or other puncture you should plan on scheduling a repair or replacement. It is possible to fix a flat with a patch but it’s often best to replace the tire if you’re going on a long road trip. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Check your Tire Pressure: Not only does having the proper tire pressure preserve your tires from premature wear, it also improves vehicle performance, and fuel economy. So if you like saving $$$, then check the sticker in the door jam for the optimum PSI. Don’t’ forget to check your spare, just in case you need it!
- Oil Change
An oil change is something that you need to have done on a regular basis to prevent the build-up of sludge inside the engine. Regular oil changes will help your engine perform and help maintain the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. The owner’s manual of your vehicle will identify how many kilometers you should go before scheduling another oil change.If you are going on an extended road trip, you need to make sure that you schedule an oil change. Depending on how many kilometers you plan on traveling, you might also need to schedule an oil change before you make your trek back.Expert Tip: Taking an extra litre of oil with you on the road is always a good idea. You never know when and where an oil leak might hit.
- Radiator Fluid Check
- Wiper Fluid Top up
It’s possible to drive around with a dusty windshield that moonlights as a cemetery for unfortunate flying insects, but the moment you the sun hits the glass surface early in the day or later in evening it can severely impair your vision on the road. Can’t remember the last time you refilled your wiper fluid? Pick up a bottle the next time stop for gas.
- Systems Check
Depending on the make and model of your car there are all sorts of systems working together. By getting a systems check you can have your exhaust, engine, transmission, or other systems checked to make sure you’re ready for your road trip.An auto repair shop will perform a systems check based upon the number of kilometres on your odometer. You might be due for a transmission flush, spark plug replacement, and other maintenance related repairs.
Your radiator is at the centre of your vehicles cooling system. The radiator cycles coolant around the engine absorbing the heat and then dissipating it safely. Checking the coolant level is easy. Pop the hood and check that the fluid level reaches the full line on the side of the coolant reservoir and visually inspect the hoses for bulge’s, rips or tears. You don’t want to ruin a road trip than an blown cooling hose.
Since not everybody reading this is ‘Car-savvy’ one of the best things to do before starting your road trip is to visit your nearest Budget Brake & Muffler Auto Centres location. With our “50 point” inspection, we can give you the peace of mind that your car will be running at peak performance. We want to keep you and your family safe when you hit the road.
Stay tuned for more summer prep must-dos. Here’s to a summer of uninterrupted fun and valuable memories!