Summer is here, and it’s the perfect time to be planning your next road trip. Whether you’re driving a couple of hours to the cabin or across the country to a national park, you have a lot of details to manage and get road trip ready. One thing that should not be neglected is getting your car ready. If you’re looking for some maintenance check ideas to get your car ready for your next road trip, we’ve got you covered with our 6 simple steps.

Check your tires before a road trip

Step one is to make sure your tires are good to go before you hit the road. Improperly inflated tires can add stress to your engine, add unnecessary wear and tear to your brakes and suspension, and cause uneven tire wear. Poorly inflated tires can be susceptible to blow outs, and decrease your fuel economy by 1%. Inflate your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended levels which can typically be found in your owner’s manual or on the sticker on the driver’s side door jam. You’ll also want to make sure your tires have been properly rotated. Cars with front wheel or rear wheel drive can cause your tires to wear more quickly. Rotating your tires (which should be done every 5,000-8,000  miles) will promote even wear – keeping you safe on the road this summer.

Check your brakes

It goes without saying that your brakes are important for your safety on your next road trip – so before you head out on the highways, we recommend having your mechanic inspect your brakes. Some signs that your brake pads are wearing include: squealing or other odd noises when you apply the brakes, a spongy brake pedal, pulling to one side when braking, or a shaking brake pedal. If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic check your brakes before a long trip.

Check your belts & hoses before taking a road trip

Your belts & hoses are critical to keeping your electrical system, power steering, and cooling systems functioning. A broken belt or hose can leave you stranded by the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. You’ll want to have your belts checked for any fraying or cracking. In addition, you can have your mechanic check to verify that they are secure and don’t have a large amount of slack. When it comes to your hoses, ask your mechanic to check for leaks and drips. Some manufacturers recommend changing these every 60,000 miles so if it’s been awhile, it may be time to have your mechanic take a peek under the hood.

Lights

Checking your lights before a long road trip is always a good idea. Be sure to check your interior lights, and then check your headlights, tail lights, and turn signals. Plan on replacing any burned out bulbs. While you are checking your lights, it’s a good time to inspect your windshield wipers. You should replace your windshield wipers every 6 months, so if it’s been a while since you installed a new pair – now is a great time to do it and ensure visibility in case you run into any summer rains on your trip.

Air Conditioner

If you haven’t had your AC system checked this summer, plan on asking your mechanic to run a check before you hit the road in the heat of summer. If you’ve noticed that your AC is not blowing cold air like it used to, it’s a sure sign you should have it checked before your trip. While you’re at the mechanic, it’s also a good time to replace your cabin air filter – which keeps allergens, mold, and pollutants out of the interior of your car.

Top off your fluids

One last check before you hit the road? You’ll want to make sure your fluids are topped off and ready to go. You can start with an oil change, but also check your fluid levels on your transmission, power steering, and brake fluids to ensure a smooth ride throughout your whole trip.

While there are a lot of details to check before any road strip, these 6 steps will get you in the right direction. If you’ve got a road trip coming up, our team would love to help. Simply make an appointment and we’ll get your car road trip ready in no time.