Make sure all major service and repair issues are taken care of before you go. If you schedule regular maintenance and mention you are preparing for a road trip we will give your car a thorough going over to be sure your car is trip ready. How easy is that? You don’t even have to read the rest of the article.
PLAN AHEAD: Summer is a busy time for car service. Make your appointment at least a week or two in advance of when you want to leave. If your car needs repairs and we have to order parts we can still get your car ready before your scheduled trip. It frustrates our clients and makes us feel bad when they call the day before they plan to leave and our schedule is booked.
Pre-Trip Car Inspection Checklist
Tires, Brakes & Wheel Alignment: Make sure your tires (including the spare) are in good condition (uneven wear, alignment issues and bulging are signs of potentially dangerous tires.) Fill your tires to the correct tire pressure. Many cars have two recommended ratings, one for light loads and one for heavy loads and/or high speeds. You will find this information in the owner’s manual or on a sticker in the doorjamb. Set the pressures when the tires are cold. Properly inflated tires keep you safer and improve gas mileage. Be sure all your tire-changing tools are in the trunk. (If your car has wheel locks, make sure you have the adapter for the lock nut.) Test your brakes, too.
Fluids. This includes oil, brake, power steering and transmission fluids, coolant (antifreeze) and windshield wiper solvent. It’s a good idea to replace filters associated with these fluids along with the fuel and engine air filters. At the shop we also check your cabin air filter (cleans the air circulating inside your car.)
Windshield wiper blades: Test, replace if necessary.
Belts and hoses. With today’s new technology it’s difficult to tell when belts and hoses wear down. We recommend you have a professional check them out.
Other. Test your lights and replace any burned out bulbs. If you haven’t had scheduled maintenance in a while consider chassis lubrication, inspecting your shocks, struts and exhaust system.
In your glovebox
Owner’s manual. If you can’t find it, check the manufacturer website.
Car registration and proof of insurance. Make sure these don’t expire during your trip. If you are towing a trailer or boat, include current registration and insurance information for them as well.
Consider load issues. Load evenly and carefully if you’re carrying lots of heavy objects. Position them forward in your car and distribute the weight evenly side to side. Cars don’t have unlimited carrying capacity, so don’t overload. The heavier your car is, the more fuel it will burn.
Consider a roadside assistance program
AAA is the most well known and provides broad coverage. They’ll tow your car if it breaks, change the tire if it goes flat, jump start the car if the battery dies, open the doors if you get locked out, and bring gas if you run out. An AAA membership will usually pay for itself the first time you run into trouble, plus you’ll get discounts at some roadside motels and restaurants.
When you purchase $25 or more in service from Pellman’s Automotive Service, Inc., you’re covered for 365 days when you need a tow-to-safety, lock-out aid, battery jump start, emergency fuel delivery, or flat tire changing assistance through TechNet. Click here for more information or give us a call and we can tell you more about it.
Assemble your car emergency kit
Click here for a detailed list.