Are we there yet? A long road trip is about the same for your car as it is for your family: it's a marathon. Making sure it has everything it needs to get you there can give you peace of mind. It also can help you avoid problems on the road.
Start by keeping up with your car's regular maintenance like rotating tires, fluid checks, new spark plugs and regular oil changes. Here's a cool trick. Get your car's annual Virginia safety inspection in the spring. Then you'll get many harder to check items, like your brakes, inspected and addressed just in time for summer travel season.
In the meantime, here's a solid checklist you can do today for your upcoming trip:
- Check your oil level when your car's cool.
- Check your coolant level when your car's cool.
- Test your battery and make sure it has plenty of life left. Many local auto parts shops will do this for you for free. If you have a little extra time, clean your terminals with a wire brush and add grease.
- Check your tires air pressure and look for indications of damage like bulges or punctures. Even a nail head or other sharp object could be plugging a slow leak and lead to a flat on the road. Add air if needed.
- Check the tire pressure in your spare tire! If you have a flat, you'll need a dependable backup.
- Refill your windshield wiper fluid if needed and check your wiper blades. If they smear fluid rather than wipe it completely away, it's time to replace them.
- Have someone help you test your headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and brake lights and replace any bulbs that are burned out.
- Have a good emergency car kit with a first aid kit, blanket, flares or triangle reflectors, jumper cables, a flashlight, extra batteries, an extra phone charging cable, water and some protein bars.
And don't forget, all NNINS members with auto insurance policies have 24/7 roadside assistance. If you find yourself having trouble on the road, stay safe especially if you're alone. If you're a mom with kids, we have helpful tips for you too!