The family has approved the itinerary, the accommodation is booked, and the pet sitter has agreed to move in to look after your furry companions. The sunscreen is packed, and the family is ready to pile into the car for their annual vacation. But is your vehicle also road trip ready? It’s worth spending the time and effort to make sure it is so that precious vacation time isn’t cut short due to a mechanical breakdown, or even worse, a collision caused by worn out tires and shock absorbers.
Wheels and Tires
Tires that are not correctly inflated, or have worn out tread, are a significant cause of accidents. Blowouts and poor traction on the road can result in you not being able to stop quickly enough to avoid a collision in an emergency. Also, check that your tires are wearing evenly; uneven wear could mean that your car’s shock absorbers need to be replaced, or the wheel alignment is faulty. Either of those problems will affect your ability to steer the vehicle safely if you need to make an emergency stop.
Remember, to get your vehicle road trip ready you will need to check that the spare tire is also correctly inflated and has enough tread.
Check that your brake discs, drums, and pads are in tip-top working order and that you don’t hear strange noises or feel worrying vibrations when you brake hard. If you’re the least bit doubtful, visit a brake specialist for a professional opinion. Faulty and poorly maintained brakes are another major cause of accidents. If your brakes aren’t in great shape, your vehicle isn’t road trip ready.
The same goes for fluid levels. Check that the oil, transmission, brake, coolant, and windshield washer fluid levels are all in order.
Another part of getting road trip ready is making sure all lights are in working order. Check that your headlights, brake lights, turn signal lights and hazard lights are all working. If at all possible, avoid driving long distances at night. Drive during the day when visibility is good, and you stand a better chance of avoiding a collision with a stray animal crossing the road, or another vehicle that has broken down.
Wiper blades should be replaced every six months, but it’s especially important that they’re replaced when getting road trip ready. Worn wiper blades limit your visibility significantly in rainy weather which means that you may not have enough following distance to avoid a collision in an emergency.
Before you drive off, you should also check your windshield for small chips and cracks and get them repaired before your road trip. Chips and cracks weaken the windshield, and it won’t protect you adequately if there’s a collision.
Keep a jack, lug wrench, and screwdriver in the trunk of your car in case you get a flat tire and need to change it.
It’s also a good idea to keep booster cables in your car in case your battery goes flat without warning.
A few more useful items…
When getting your car road trip ready, make sure to keep some road flares or hazard triangles in your car so that you can alert other drivers if you have a mechanical breakdown.
Add an emergency medical kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a fire extinguisher, and you’re ready to face most of the challenges that a road trip may throw your way.
Even when your car is road trip ready, accidents can happen. Contact Orlando Auto Body at 480-351-1734 for a quote and advice if you have a collision.