One of the most important things you can do before a road trip is a pre-trip inspection. It will eliminate the chances of breakdowns by 95% along the way. It can be very stressful, and it may even cost more out of your pocketbook if not done before leaving.
One of the first things you should check is the tires of the vehicle that you’re planning to take. Whether the tyres are new or you’re thinking for some used tyre purchase to cut on cost, the air pressure should be checked, and make sure there are no cuts on the tires. The proper air pressure in the tires can save on fuel cost and other mechanical malfunctions in the future.
Also, check the treads on the tires and make sure they are not bald. Poorly maintenance tires can cause a blowout with possible costly damages, injuries, or death. It can also make a difference for a smooth ride or an offset ride for the trip.
While checking the tires, you should also check the rims. It can cause possible leaks if the rim is cracked or bent.
When going on a trip or even just riding around town, it is also a good idea to keep in the vehicle something like “Fix a Flat.” This can get you to the nearest station for a tire repair if the hole is not too big. You just never know when you may pick up a nail or screw which can give a flat on the road or in parking lots.
The next step in pre-trip inspections would be checking all the fluid levels. First, check the engine oil level. The oil keeps the engine components lubricated so the engine runs smooth. Running an engine low on oil can cause the components to wear.
Next, check your radiator coolant level to make sure there are no leaks. This is also crucial because if the coolant is low or runs out, the engine will overheat and cause severe damage to the motor.
Then, check the transmission fluid. The oil will keep the gears shifting properly.
Lastly, check your power steering fluid and brake fluid. The power steering fluid keeps the gears in the steering turning smooth, and it makes it easier to turn the wheel. The brake fluid is something no one wants to run out because if this runs out the chances of stopping the vehicle are slim to none. Everything under the hood should be checked for any leaks. The residue of discoloring or wet spots is something to look for when checking for leaks.
Check All Mechanical Devices
The battery should be the first thing you check under the hood. There are testers to see if the battery is strong or weak. One of the signs of a weak battery is corrosion. You also want to check the connections to make sure they are tight. If there is a bad connection, it will be difficult to start the vehicle.
Next, check the belts for cracks, or if the belts are tight or loose. If the belt slips off or breaks, then the vehicle will not run.
The windshield washer should be full and working properly, so your vision is not obstructed. While checking this, make sure the wipers are working properly, and they are not falling apart or dry rotting. It can lead to streaks or scratching the windshield and obstruct your vision.
Finally, check the brakes for any wear in the disc or drums, and check the brake pads so there is no metal to metal contact. This can also affect whether your vehicle stops or not.
Last Part of the Inspection
While sitting in the vehicle, check to make sure all mirrors and windows are clean. All mirrors inside and outside should be set for your comfort, so you can easily see what is behind you.
Checking the turn signals and the hazard lights in the front are easy and can be done by one person. The headlights with the high beam and low beam must also be working properly. For the back, you will need another person to help you check the brake lights, turn signals, reverse lights, and tail lights. Most states require the lights on the license plates to work as well.
The safety features must also work. These include the seat belts, air bags, and antilock brakes.
Some other signs to look for are if the steering wheel has any play in it. The brakes should not go to the floorboard when pressing.
Always check the lights on the dashboard to make sure there are no indicators of any problems. Your vehicle will normally let you know with a message or alarm.
Finally, before you leave for your road trip, you should always make sure the gas tank is full.