Summer Road Trip Prep

Many summer road trip adventures occur at the spur of the moment, leaving little to no time for planning.  Despite your eagerness and excitement to hit the road, your car may not be as thrilled.  The Consumer Auto Advocate recommends performing the following maintenance checks on your car before embarking on your adventures, helping ensure you reach your destinations safely this summer.

Engine oil

Engine oil serves as a lubricant for all parts of the engine as well as a protectant against excessive wear. It is important to make sure that engine oil is clean and that the reservoir is full before beginning your road trip. In most cars, synthetic motor oil is recommended for long distance trips.

Transmission and other fluids

Similarly to engine oil, transmission fluid lubricates the parts found in your vehicle’s transmission. Obvious indicators that it is time to change transmission fluid are grinding noises, difficulty in changing gears, vehicular surging, or a delay in acceleration. The Consumer Auto Advocate encourages readers to refer to their owner’s manual for specific fluid-change intervals.


Hoses are made to be durable and long lasting, however in extreme weather conditions like severe desert heat, a hose is prone to crack.  It is recommended that all hoses be inspected for signs of weakness before embarking on a long distance trip. Hoses should be rubbery and flexible. A hard hose will crack and spurt out hot water, which could cause damage to you personally, as well as your vehicle.

Engine coolant

Engine coolant keeps your car from overheating and also prevents your car’s engine from freezing. Coolant is extremely important in a long distance trip. Be sure to check that your coolant reservoir is full and that the fluid is clean. Rust-colored or dark coolant indicates that it is time for a coolant flush. It is also important to be consistent in the type of coolant used to ensure your vehicles’ continuous top-performance.

Tire pressure

Check your owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressures for your car. Low tire pressure may cause your vehicle to waste unnecessary fuel. Be sure to take a gauge with you.

Car battery

Your car’s battery should be checked to ensure that terminals are corrosion-free and that both positive and negative leads are tight.  Corrosion is white and chalky and can be cleaned off easily.  Batteries should be also be tightly secured in place.

Take it for a test spin

Before venturing out onto the road this summer, take your car on a quick ride to listen for noises, monitor movements, check for smells and monitor the gauges.  Ensure that minor things like headlights, windshield wipers, and tire alignment are also up to par. Should you detect any issues with your vehicle, it is advisable to take your car to a trusted mechanic for maintenance.

Now that your car is all set for that road trip, pack up and enjoy yourself!

8 thoughts on “Summer Road Trip Prep

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