What to Check on Your Car Before Going on a Long Journey

There are few things more exciting than a long road trip, with attractions that dot the route and an exciting destination that keeps everyone looking forward to the trip's conclusion. In order to get the most from any longer trip, however, vehicle owners need to make sure the check a few key aspects of their car. Whether it's tire pressure, fluid levels or something else, each of these things will give the car its best shot at a maintenance-free longer trip that is as rewarding as it is worry-free.

SEE ALSO: Is Your Car Safe? 6 Car Safety Myths Debunked
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1. Check the Car's Tires and Tire Pressure
If there's one thing that can throw a pretty big wrench into a longer road trip's plans and attractions, it's a flat tire alongside the highway. Before leaving for a longer trip, be sure to use a calibrated tire pressure gauge to check the pressure in each of the car's four tires. Make sure that the tire pressure measured is in line with the manufacturer's recommendations for a given season or weather type and, if that isn't the case, fill the tires until they meet manufacturer specifications. For those new to measuring tire pressure, the process should only be done on "cold" tires that were not used for a longer journey for at least several hours.

2. Pay Special Attention to Fluid Levels
Cars are full of moving parts and the various fluids that sit near the engine are designed to ensure that all parts keep moving without damage or malfunction. To that end, vehicle owners should make sure to pay special attention to their engine oil, brake fluid levels, windshield washer fluid, coolant levels, and their fuel level before departing. This will ensure that the car can operate as efficiently as possible, boosting fuel economy and reducing the possibility of trip-stopping maintenance or malfunctions.

3. Don't Leave Without Checking the Car's Lights
Whether it's fog lights, low or high beams, or even taillights, a long road trip depends on each working properly. Before leaving for a longer journey, be sure to test every light that the vehicle uses to communicate with other drivers and light the way during late-night travel. This will ensure not only that the trip is a safe one, but also that other drivers are kept aware of the car's actions and that police officers aren't inclined to pull the vehicle over for a key violation of driving laws and safety codes.

4. Make Sure All of the Car's Belts are in Good Condition
Old belts within the engine are will be put under even more stress as the car is used for a longer road trip. Because most trips require that the car be in continuous operation for as long as 12 hours, it's easy for them to crack, fray, and cause major headaches alongside the road. Check belts for signs of excessive wear, cracks, or other problems, and make sure that they're replaced with high-integrity, OEM products before the trip begins. It's the best way to ensure that the car's moving parts keep moving all throughout the course of the journey.

5. Check the Car's Roadside Preparedness
Does the car have a spare tire in the trunk, ready to be placed into action if something unexpected happens? Does it have a first aid kit? Is there a toolbox present that can help with roadside repairs and other unexpected issues during the drive? These are key things to check, with each item playing a crucial role during unexpected roadside maintenance or other problems. Even if these items aren't in the car on a daily basis, they should be present during a longer trip as a precaution.

Consult the Services of a Mechanic Prior to Departure
In addition to the five things mentioned above, drivers heading out on a longer journey should always use the services of a trusted mechanic to give their vehicle a thorough inspection and tune-up prior to leaving for the trip. Even if the vehicle's warranty has expired, dealership mechanics can put their specific knowledge and skills to work in an effort to make the car more efficient, reliable, and able to withstand hours of active driving.

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About the Author:

Sebastian Webb is a blogger, writer and humanitarian, Always willing to help those in need, that is the main reason he started writing. Currently working for Proctor a rent a car company. Here in this article he wrote car check ups that you can by yourself and save some money while doing it.

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