Road trips are one of the most liberating adventures, especially if you have a loose plan in mind. Before you head out on that highway, though, there are some things you should do for your vehicle. Checking these four items before you leave can save you a lot of time during your trip that you might have spent on the side of the road.
When you head out on a road trip, safety is a chief concern. One big item on the safety list is both seeing and being seen. For that, you need working headlights and taillights. Make sure to turn on all of the lights and either verify yourself that they work or have a friend do so. Don't forget to pump the brake pedal and switch your turn signal in both directions. Any burned out lights need replacing before you depart.
If your tires are starting to show just a little wear and tear, you're probably fine on your road trip. Bald tires, however, are a big problem. Tires are said to be bald when there is little or no usable tread left on the tire. A common safety tip for tire tread is to hold a penny so that Abe's head is pointing toward the tire. If you can see the top of his head, then you don't have enough tread on your tires. Even if the tread itself is fine, be sure to check the sidewalls and the tire pressure. All of those factor into driving safely.
Your brakes are responsible for stopping your car, no matter what speed you're driving. Without good brakes, you don't stand a chance of being able to stop suddenly if you find that you need to. If your car's wheels have open rims, you can inspect the brakes without having to remove the tires. Disc brakes, which are usually in the rear, should look uniform. Rough spots or deep grooves mean that there could be an issue. Check the brake pads on the front wheels. Keep a couple of pennies handy from testing the tires and use them to check that the remaining pads are at least the thickness of two pennies.
If your battery is starting to not work properly, it can affect quite a few things in your electrical system, even taxing your alternator. Look closely at the battery posts. If there is any hint of a white, flaky substance, that is corrosion. Use a dry rag to remove as much as possible and be sure all the cables are attached correctly. If the corrosion won't wipe away or the battery cables don't stay attached, it's time for a new battery.
Before you head out on your road trip, be sure to jot down the number for towing services in the area. You never know when you'll encounter trouble on the road, and it's a great way to stay prepared. If you still aren't sure how to inspect your car, take it in to a local auto repair shop, such as Fredericktown Marathon, for some professional assistance.