9 "Car"dinal Tips That Might Save Your Road Trip One Day
Before you head out for a road trip, it is always a good idea to make sure your ride is in good condition so you don’t turn your vacation into a huge "pay"cation. Give your car a serious test, which may include inspecting the genuineness of every aspect of your car. And if you’re being super-conscious about your ride, you might also want to get the spark plugs on your car replaced after every 30,000 miles. Hence, you should leave no stone unturned when looking out for your sweet ride.
So, Bright Side has compiled a list of essential things to check to make your car vacation-ready in no time. Stay with us till the end for a bonus tip just for you!
1. Inspect your tires with a penny.
Insert a penny into the 3 main tire treads and then roll it around. If any part of Abe’s head on the coin hides in the tread, then your tires are good to go. But, if not, then know that your tires are getting shallow and you may need to replace them immediately.
According to the legal limits, your tires must have at least 1.6 mm tread around the circumference of the tire and approximately 3/4 of their width. Repeat the same with the spare tires as well, just to be on a safer side.
Here’s another way to check the authenticity of your tires:
Scammers sometimes peel the rubber threads off of old tires and spray paint them to make them look new. So you should always be wary of these fraudsters and save your own life by checking the manufacturing date of the tires. A tire can last for up to 6 years.
2. Inspect the quality of the car fluids being used.
Remember, little things matter when considering the longevity of the vehicle. When it comes to the car fluids, you need to check them to see if they are fake. When you are getting your oil changed, ask the mechanic to pour the oil in a disposable cup.
If the oil has a tad bit of bluish tint and/or a combination of many colors, then the oil is fake. An original brand will have a red or orange color and will not have any blue constituents.
3. Check the battery health.
You can test your battery by starting your car and turning the headlights on. If the brightness increases when the engine starts, it's in good shape. If it doesn't, then replace the battery. You can also perform a load test to check the battery health.
Know that the battery must have at least 9.6 volts at 15 seconds at first half, and it must be at 70°F or above when performing a load test. Make sure you go through the instruction manual for step-by-step instructions when testing your battery.
4. Look out for signs that your air filters need to be replaced.
When you drive with dirty filters, it significantly impacts the well-being of your engine, as well as the fuel economy. You may need to look out for a few signs that indicate your air filters need a change, like your engine making unusual sounds, your service engine light is on, your horsepower has plummeted, the exhaust releases black fumes, or your car smells a lot like gasoline.
5. Don't forget to check the performance of your brakes.
The performance of your brakes is determined by your driving style. If you find any wear and tear on the pads or rotors, then you may need to take your car to a professional. Early damage is also a sign that your brakes aren't authentic. You may also notice small cracks, crumbling residue, and strange noises. If you haven't experienced any of these issues, your car is good to go.
6. Check the condition of the spare tire.
Check to see if there are any cracks in the sidewalls and in between the tread blocks using the penny method mentioned above. If the cracks are deeper, it may not be safe to drive with your spare. Next, you need to check the air pressure with a tire pressure gauge and compare it with the specifications mentioned in the user manual. While you're at it, check to see if there are any leaks.
7. Check the essential components.
This includes checking the air conditioning, lights, and windshield wipers. Open the hood and check the battery and cables for any dirt or cracks. Also, don't forget to check the radiator and hoses for leaks. If you don't know how to deal with the engine parts, take your car to a mechanic and get it fully inspected.
8. Keep an emergency kit ready.
Your emergency kit should always have warm blankets, flares, jumper cables, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and water. There are also many ready-made kits available online. Also, don't forget to carry your vehicle documents like vehicle insurance cards, driver's license, and registration papers, just to be on the safe side.
Last but not least. In order to have a fun trip, you need to relax. Put on your favorite travel playlist, set the temperature just like you like it, and adjust your seat the way you want it. And if you by chance get lost, that's okay! That's what makes road trips more fun. This is why many people choose to travel by car instead of flying, because it gives you the freedom and the soothing experience of driving.
Bonus tip: Rent a car instead!
Or you can prevent your car from being damaged by not driving it in the first place. You can rent a car from a car rental company and get unmatchable benefits like a brand new car with unlimited mileage, a GPS system, Bluetooth, cameras, and a lot more. In addition, if the car does break down, you can call the rental company to bring you another one.
Do you have your own checklist you follow before you head out for a road trip? Feel free to share it with us in the comments below.
Illustrated by Anastasiya Glushkova for BrightSide.me