going on a road trip

Going on a Road Trip? Car Maintenance Essentials You Must Perform First

Even though there are times when a mechanical breakdown can be inevitable, preparing your car for a road trip is one way of providing safety for your friends and family. Don’t let car damage ruin your fun and adventure. This way, you can know if your car can still handle a long trip, plus, saves you from further and costlier damage.

You might want to consider some physical protection for your car, like adding a protective coat or window tint films. This way, you can protect your exterior and the upholstered seats as well.

If in case you lack the time or energy to perform tasks regarding mechanical maintenance, you should look up car repair and maintenance shops near your destination just in case. But to avoid that, here are the things you need to check in your car to prevent mechanical breakdown and other damages:

Car Battery

Especially for a long drive, your car battery has to be corrosion-free and tight. If you inspect corrosion, disconnect the battery and clean the connector and the surroundings with a wire brush.

Batteries may leak corrosive acid if battery connectors are forcefully removed, so be careful. If you’re not sure how to check and maintain a battery car, you hesitate to ask for help. Experts say if your car is over two years old, it’s best to have your car’s battery checked at least once a year.

Tires and Their Alignment

One of the most common reasons people call roadside assistance is getting a flat tire unexpectedly. So before you for your trip, check the tire pressure. It’s better to inspect them while the car is still off so you can ensure that they are properly inflated—not too much and not too little.

Inspect by feeling if the tires are uneven, or maybe there are signs that some of your tires need to be replaced. Always bring a spare and check that one’s pressure as well.


The most crucial element in car safety is the braking system. Like the rest of the parts of your car, it can also overheat and put everyone at risk. You never know what kind of conditions you or your car might come across during a long road trip. Look out for squealing noises and other odd sounds because this can be a sign that the brakes are loose. If you notice that the brake pedal is spongy, that may tell you that the brake fluid is low.

The Exhaust System

An engine air filter collects dust and debris, protecting the car engine itself. If it’s already clogged or full of dirt, replace it. This also has an influence on the car’s acceleration performance.

A dysfunctional exhaust system can indicate that your car is of low power, has poor fuel efficiency, or is venting poisonous gases that the engine might be producing. If you’re noticing weird engine noises, like popping and hissing, or strange smells, check the exhaust system or call for help. These can be signs of costly problems.

Steering, Lights, and Electrical Equipment

Make sure that your interior and exterior lights are functional. Windshield wipers are supposed to be removing water from the windshield efficiently and should not be leaving streaks. Experts recommend replacing them every six months, especially if your car is old.

Don’t leave out the car’s horn and the air conditioning system. If you notice loose steering parts or damaged struts, the car might be swaying or bouncing along the way, making your trip really bumpy. Make sure to check your car’s steering and suspension system, or you can have it inspected by a professional.

Fluid Levels

Fluid levels are highly vital for your car’s performance and maintenance, and for your and your family’s safety as well. Check every fluid your car requires. Including engine oil, power steering and transmission fluids, windshield, and washer fluids. Top them off if they are low before departing for your trip.

You must also check your car’s coolant or antifreeze tank to make sure it’s filled to an appropriate level. Although, make sure the fluid is clear or you might have to replace it. A coolant can become acidic over time and can cause corrosion and damages to other parts of the car like the radiator or hoses.

An engine air filter collects dust and debris, protecting the car engine itself. If it’s already clogged or full of dirt, replace it. This also has an influence on the car’s acceleration performance.

Of course, maintaining your car isn’t only a task when there is a long road trip coming up. Most of these car features must be properly maintained, some must be replaced, in order for your car to function properly, to keep you from costly damage and hurting your bank account.

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