As the cold of winter starts to disappear, everyone’s thoughts turn to summertime activities. Vacations are a time-honored tradition for families, but the last thing you want is for your plans to take a wrong turn because of car trouble. The following tips will help with preparing your car for a summer road trip, so you have a fun, safe, and enjoyable time.
Preparing your car for a summer road trip starts with addressing the most important elements on your vehicle. After surviving the brutalities of winter, your car needs some attention. These vehicle maintenance tips for summer driving address dormant problems before they become big issues and leave you stranded or worse.
The changing temperatures can play havoc with your tire pressure. Check the manufacturer’s recommended inflation levels on the driver’s door jamb, them use a gauge to see if your tires need any refilling. Low tires wear out the sides of the tread faster, and they’re more prone to blowing out as you travel down the highway for hours at a time. Overfilled tires aren’t good, either, because they wear out the center of the tread prematurely.
Before you hit the open road, check all fluid levels and top off anything that’s low. You want to pay especially close attention to the coolant level, because hotter temperatures and not enough coolant can cause your engine to overheat. Also, have your oil changed if you’re near the recommended interval.
The cold temperatures can also be especially hard on anything rubber. With the engine cold, squeeze each of the hoses in the engine compartment. If any feel brittle, or you see cracks, replace them before heading out on your trip. Check the belts as well for signs of cracking or fraying.
Your wiper blades can also wear out. If they’re streaking at all, trying cleaning them thoroughly with a soft cloth. If the streaking continues, replace them as well.
Pack a Survival Kit
Most people think of winter when you mention survival kits, but kits for summer are just as important. A road trip survival kit for families can be the difference between being stranded without vital supplies, or being ready for the worst. Preparing your car for a summer road trip will help you tackle whatever might happen!
One of the most important items you should have is water. Put at least a gallon of water in the kit, or two if you can. Water, of course, is great for keeping you hydrated. It also comes in handy if your engine starts to overheat, because you can pour water into the coolant overflow reservoir. If you do decide to open the coolant reservoir, do so with extreme caution, only after the engine has cooled some, so you don’t get burned.
You should also have sunscreen and bug repellant in your kit. If you do become stranded and must spend time outside, you must be equipped for the conditions. It’s not a bad idea to have an umbrella or poncho, because those can be used to shield yourself from the intense sun. Also, have at least one blanket. While it might be hot during the daytime, some areas cool off considerably at night, especially if you’re traveling through any mountain passes.
Some of the things you should have in your summer survival kit are items you might already use in a kit for other times of the year. Pack extra, nonperishable food, so you can keep up your strength if you’re stranded. Bring along first aid supplies like bandages, just in case anyone is injured.
Always have some basic tools with you. While it’s not the most pleasant thought, your car could have mechanical trouble in a spot where phone service isn’t available. Instead of being at the mercy of other people passing by, have on hand flat head and Phillips screwdrivers, a small hammer, needle nose pliers and other tools. Pack some duct tape, which is a great way to temporarily patch damaged parts until you can get to help. It’s also a good idea to have a pair of gloves, so you don’t burn your hands or cut yourself while making any repairs.
Preparing Your Car for a Summer Road Trip at T3 Atlanta
Summer road trips are a lot of fun, especially if everything goes off without a hitch. If you head out prepared, you can have some peace of mind, knowing that if anything does happen, you can handle the situation.
If you’d prefer professional help to make sure your car is in top shape, visit T3 Atlanta. We’ll help make sure that your car is ready for the road this summer.