It’s vehicle inspection time because summer is upon us. That means families are planning the ever-popular road trip to see the historical sights in Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C.; or, they’re planning a beach getaway to Florida or the Jersey Shore.
Regardless of your destination, it’s important to know your vehicle is in top form to weather a road trip.
Vehicle Inspection Tips
Here are some tips from Alan’s Collision Center to ensure your safety on the nation’s highways this summer:
1. Get a first-aid kit. This sounds so basic, but a first-aid kit should always be in the car especially if your kids are in sports. Not every coach has the proper safety gear, right? First-aid starter kits can be found at any Target, Wal-Mart or other larger consumer goods retailer. Ensure you add more band-aids, antiseptic cream, gauze, and bandages to the kit so you don’t run out. Add some saline wash for wound care, and sanitizing wipes, too.
2. Pack an emergency kit. This is different than a first-aid kit. If you’re planning a long road trip, you should have roadside flares, quart of oil, flashlight with fresh batteries, and a multi-purpose tool that has tons of gadgets like pliers, wire cutters, saw, bottle opener, screwdriver, and other tools. Make sure you can inflate your tire if you need to pull over, and pack plenty of grease rags, as well.
3. Driving a vehicle without a GPS? Do you have a smartphone with Google Maps or the Waze app? If you don’t have either, then be sure you get a GPS to help you in case of a detour. Oftentimes, interstates are closed due to accidents and traffic is rerouted. A digital map is helpful in keeping you calm.
4. Go ahead, invest in the road atlas from your local AAA. Sometimes, rarely, the Maps aren’t reliable or your vehicle has an older model of a GPS. You should always have a back-up plan for directions in case roads just disappear on the GPS!
5. Towing a trailer? Sometimes long road trips in summer or any other time of the year are because of relocation. If you’re towing a heavy trailer, consult your vehicle owner’s manual to ensure that you’re safe with the weight, the rear tail lights, and tire pressure, too.
6. Get under the hood. There are a variety of things under the hood to check before a long road trip. Work with your mechanic to get these done and give yourself time in advance to get the work done, drive a week with the tune-up and then go back if something isn’t done right.
You’ll need to check engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield solution. Pick up some extra wiper solution if you’re traveling a long distance in the desert.
Change your air filter, check tire pressure and health of the tires (no bald tires allowed!), check your spare tire, and check your battery. Has it been 5-7 years since you put in a new battery? Go ahead and treat yourself to a new one. Don’t forget to check windshield wipers and replace them if they’re not working well. Check lamps in front and rear tail lights, too.
7. Finally, how’s that air conditioner? If you’re in the midst of traffic jam on an Interstate stopped cold or crawling, you’re not going to want to use the air conditioner. You still need it to cool perfectly when you’re flying at 70mph. While you’re at it, check the heater in summer. Perhaps your plans take you to 8,000 feet where it’s cooler.
8. Need any body work done before a summer road trip? Give yourself three weeks before your departure to get it done at Alan’s Collision Center. You’ll want some time after the auto body repair before hitting the road for some rest and relaxation.
9. Find collision centers prior to a road trip! This is so important! If you know your destination, then scout out a collision center in advance. There are too many questions to ask about the collision center you can trust, and if you don’t do your homework in advance, you may end up in a bad situation. Be sure to call Alan’s Collision Center if your destination takes you to Philadelphia.