Where are you headed? Down south to the Grand Canyon? Out west to Disneyland? Or maybe on a long trip back east? Whatever your travel plans, a road trip is the best way to experience the country. You’ll get to sightsee, eat at famous restaurants and have other great experiences.
To make sure one of those experiences doesn’t involve being stranded on the side of the road, make sure your car is up to the task before you head out. Preventative steps can help you avoid an inopportune breakdown and save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a car repair. Here’s what you need to do.
Stock Up on Emergency Supplies
Road trips involve living out of your car for days or even weeks. Any number of things could happen between hotels, so make sure you’re ready with an emergency kit. Your supplies should include:
- A spare quart of oil
- Two roadside flares
- Extra fuses
- Jumper cables
- Fix-a-Flat spray foam
- Multipurpose tool complete with pliers, wire cutters, a knife, screwdriver, bottle opener, saw, file and awl
- First aid kit with ace bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, adhesive bandages, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, hydrocortisone, pain killers, tweezers and a thermometer
Get a GPS
Some newer cars have a global positioning system built in. If your car lacks this feature, you can buy a handheld GPS. This high-tech replacement for a road map is very useful when traveling to unfamiliar places.
If you already have a GPS, go through the process of updating the maps before you embark on your trip. If you plan to use the GPS built into your Smartphone, download the maps first so you don’t need an internet connection to access them on the road. Make sure you bring a charger to plug into the car’s cigarette lighter because using the GPS function will drain your phone’s battery quite quickly.
Take Your Car for a Test Drive
If your car has been acting up, take it for a spin a few days before the big trip. Drive it down I-25 and pay attention to any signs of trouble. For example, if you notice vibrations or irregular noises, you should have this checked out. Take your hands off the wheel and see if the car drives straight or tends to lean one way or the other. “Wandering” steering could mean the wheel alignment needs to be adjusted.
Bring Your Car to an Auto Shop
Even if your car seems to be in perfect working order, bring it in to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair for a tune up. We’ll do everything necessary to get your car fit for a road trip. Ask us to do any of the following:
- Replace the windshield wipers.
- Change the oil, transmission fluid and air filter.
- Top off fluid levels including the oil, coolant, washer fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
- Check for leaky hoses or fraying belts and replace parts as needed.
- Replace burned out lights and blown fuses.
- Rotate and properly inflate the tires.
- Test the wheel alignment.
- Check the spare tire to make sure it’s properly inflated.
- Test the air conditioner and heater to make sure they’re in good working order.
- Test your battery and replace it if necessary.
These tasks help ensure you make it to your destination and back again without a hitch. You may be able to perform a few of these tasks yourself, but you’ll save time and enjoy a more thorough, multi-point inspection under the practiced hands of an experienced mechanic.
When you’re ready to have your car all prepped for your big upcoming trip, please schedule an appointment online with Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair, call us at (970) 682-4202 or just stop by at your soonest convenience.