Planning a summer road trip is an American tradition, and setting out for an adventure to explore this vast country of ours can create incredible, lasting memories. That said, all it takes is a small hiccup to derail your summer road trip fun — AAA estimates it aids 7.9 million stranded motorists each summer, but there are easy ways to avoid being one of them.
Properly servicing and inspecting your vehicle prior to hitting the road this summer can mean the difference between a road trip to be remembered and a road trip from hell. RepairPal, a consumer resource for all things auto, provides a few tips to make sure the wheels don’t fall off (figuratively and literally) during your road trip:
• Take a Test Run: It’s usually the small things that can cause the biggest problems — check your A/C to ensure it’s working at full capacity and test every window to make sure it rolls up and down without issue. Check the radio (and any video components) to make sure everything is ready to go. You should also drive up and down hills to make sure the brakes and gas pedal are also working without screeching or grinding.
• Get a Check Up: Taking your car in for regularly scheduled maintenance is important: A check-up can prevent thousands of dollars you may have to dole out down the road if you don’t have your car checked properly prior to your trip.
• Read It (So You Don’t) Weep: Read your car manual and make sure you understand all dashboard signals so you can properly read gauges and understand the meaning of each warning light.
• Beat the Heat: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, excessive heat can wreak havoc on cars. Engines can overheat (particularly when they strain against hills), and do so more rapidly, wearing out brakes, electrical, cooling, hydraulics, tires and batteries.
• It’s All About Fun: Make sure your family and friends are prepared with entertainment as well as safety equipment to deliver peace of mind. Download music, games and videos; gather audio books and prepare snacks and drinks — especially water. Make sure chargers are plentiful, particularly for smart phones as they come in handy both for entertaining purposes and calling for assistance in case of emergency.
• Arm Yourself with Apps: Prior to your trip, download helpful apps that include roadside assistance features, map out your route, and research helpful guidelines and suggestions for a successful trip.