Going on a Road Trip? 7 Things to Have a Mechanic Check Before You Go

8/25/2016


When you think of your upcoming road trip, you want to picture a clear blue sky and miles of open road. You don't want to think about your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

To ensure your car stays in top form throughout your trip, take your car to a mechanic at least three weeks before you go. Ask your mechanic to check the following.

1. Tires

A tire blowout is one of the most common car problems during a long trip. Ask your mechanic to look for tears or punctures in your tires that could cause your tire to lose air.

Similarly, worn tires make it difficult to stop. As your tire tread wears down over time, your tires might struggle to stop your car, especially in rain or snow.

A mechanic can determine how much tread is left in your tires and let you know if you need to replace them. Experts recommend that you replace your tires if they have a tire depth of 4/32 inches or less.

2. Brakes

Just as worn tires make it difficult to stop, worn brake pads can make braking scary and dangerous. Brake pads may require replacement at anywhere between 25,000 and 70,000 miles. The time to replace them depends on factors such as your vehicle make and model and your driving style. Have your mechanic check the brake pads and determine whether to replace them.

Let your mechanic know if you've noticed any issues with your brakes, such as funny noises. It's better to address any issues now rather than dealing with problems during your long drive.

3. Battery

Most car batteries last around three years. If your battery is older than three years or you've had any problems starting your car, it's probably time to get a new battery.

However, some battery problems can be repaired. Have the mechanic check the battery for problems such as corrosion, leaks, and a swollen battery case.

4. Fluids

You know the importance of changing your oil. But there are other types of fluid you should get checked as well. These include:

  • Brake fluid
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Radiator coolant
  • Transmission fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

Having the proper level of these fluids can help you avoid mechanical problems.

5. Lights and Wipers

Have the mechanic check whether your headlights and tail lights are functioning fully. If you're driving in the evening, dim headlights can be dangerous-and illegal.

Malfunctioning wipers can also impact your visibility. If your wiper blades make noise or just don't do their job, it's time to get them replaced.

6. Air Filter

Your car's air filter keeps particles and debris from entering your engine. If it becomes clogged, it can no longer do its job. Ask your mechanic to check it and clean it if necessary.

7. Air Conditioning

A malfunctioning air conditioning system can make a summer road trip miserable. Possible problems include:

  • Clogged air filter
  • Blown fuse
  • Bad clutch
  • Leak

Have your mechanic repair any issues now, so you can stay comfortable during your hours in the car.

 

Make sure to set an appointment with your mechanic a few weeks before you leave. You shouldn't have to delay your trip because of a major problem that needs repair.

Right before your trip, check your tire pressure and your fluid levels. Also make sure you have a spare tire and an emergency kit that includes food, medical supplies, and a blanket. Join a roadside assistance program, or at least find out who you can call if you get in a pinch.

Call a mechanic today and enjoy a safe trip!