Springtime in Oklahoma is a wonderful time for a road trip. Lush green foliage, flowering plants, and bright sunny days all beckon you to grab friends, family, and picnic lunches in search of fun and adventure. But before you hit the road, take time to make sure your car is in tip-top shape by checking up on these vital parts of your vehicle:
Cold winter weather can be hard on your vehicle’s battery. Check it to see that it is carrying a strong charge. Clean dirty battery terminals with baking soda and water. Make sure the connections from the battery to the engine are tight and free of corrosion.
Your brake system should be in good shape so that if you need to stop suddenly, you’ll be able to do so safely. If your brakes have been squeaking or you notice they are not gripping the road like they should, have them checked before you drive out of town.
Tire pressure changes as the weather changes, so make sure they are inflated properly to the manufacturer’s specifications. Also, visually inspect your tires. If they have bulges, bald spots or low tread wear, get them replaced. If they haven’t been rotated in a while, have that done before you hit the highway.
Many people neglect regular oil changes, but that only damages your engine, especially on long trips. Make sure your oil reservoir is full and the oil is clean. Dirty oil should be replaced. Also, check for leaks and if necessary, have them repaired. Other fluids to check and top off include the power steering, brake, antifreeze, transmission and windshield wiper fluids.
With winter just past and spring just here, you may not have used your car’s air conditioning in a while. Run it to see if it’s working before you go on your road trip. This will help you stay comfortable while driving, and it will also help keep you safe. Defogging a window in a rainstorm, for example, relies on the HVAC system.
Before hitting the road, do a visual inspection of the vehicle’s interior and exterior lights, including brakes and taillights. It’s a matter of safety, and it saves money — no expensive tickets for non-working taillights.
It seems obvious, perhaps, but windshield wipers often get overlooked. You don’t want to discover they are worn down when you’re driving at highway speeds in the rain. If your wipers are old or haven’t been wiping away water as they should, get them replaced.
No matter how careful you are, mishaps can still happen. Be prepared to deal with them by having an easy access safety/repair kit. Items to have on hand include flares, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, basic tool kit, jumper cables, blanket/towels, snacks and water.
GPS and Maps
To get where you’re going, sometimes you need help with navigation. Plan for this ahead of time by getting a portable GPS if needed. You can also use a smartphone for online maps, though keep in mind that if you hit an area with low cellular signals, you could be out of luck. So, be doubly prepared by toting a road atlas along with you as well.
If you’re driving with children, help them stay comfortable and entertained by packing a kid’s kit and keeping it in the car. It’ll help reduce stress for everyone. Possible items you can include are snacks, water, games, videos, music, pillows, blankets and toys.
The Right Mindset
Above all, be mentally prepared for your road trip. Pad a little extra travel time into your trip in case of unexpected road delays. If an unplanned detour happens, enjoy the novelty of it. Include time to stop for bathroom breaks, meals and occasional stretching. Be aware of speed limits. Drive safely and follow the rules of the road.
Schedule a Tune Up
A simple way to prepare your car for your travels is to make an appointment at your local automotive shop for routine maintenance. Before you set out on your next road trip, visit the experienced, caring team at Kwik Kar for a planned tune-up! For expert service and low prices, stop by or give us a call at 918-641-4940 today to get started.