Back to school season is officially here! For those of you driving back to school, you'll want to make sure your car is ready for the journey, especially if you have a long way to go. Preparing your car is is essential for your own safety as well as the life of the car, if the car has not been properly maintained and is then put to the test during a long trip it could possibly lead to some big problems. To avoid expensive repairs follow these simple tips to make sure your car is ready to hit the road!
Tires - Check the pressure on your tires before a long journey, if the tire pressure is too low it can cause heat build up which can cause the tire to pop at high speeds, this is extremely dangerous to both yourself and other drivers. Your owner's manual will tell you exactly what the tire pressure should be and most gas stations have an air pump you can use if the pressure is low. You should also check the tread, which you can do by placing a penny (the edge with Lincoln's head pointing down) in one the grooves of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, you need new tires. Driving with bald tires is dangerous as they provide much less traction, especially in the rain and snow. In case anything should happen to your tires, it is always a good idea to have a spare. Make sure it is fully inflated and that you have all of the necessary equipment to change it.
Maintenance - If your car is scheduled to have anything done to it such as an oil change or tire rotation, take care of it before your trip. You want to make sure that your car is in the best shape possible and getting these simple tasks taken care of can save you from some potential problems on your journey. It's also smart to have any major repairs done before you leave, you don't want your car to break down in an unfamiliar location and then have to get it fixed. There are a lot of other little things to look out for as well such as windshield wiper fluid, make sure that you are stocked up and have enough for a long journey!
Emergency Kit - An emergency kit can come in handy should anything happen to your car while driving. Make sure that it contains a flashlight which can be handy in many situations, food, water, blankets, tools (such as a pocket knife), first aid kit, and lightsticks which are visible from a mile away and last from 8-12 hours. You should also make sure that you have all important documents that you may need such as your owner's manual and registration, you never know when they will come in handy or you may need them!
Pack Carefully - If you have a lot to pack, make sure that it is evenly distributed throughout the car to make sure that the car isn't too heavy on one side. If your car is too heavy it can tilt too far to one side when you are making turns and causes the tires to wear out differently.
Unless you're a mechanic, there are certain tasks that may be difficult to do yourself. Driving long distances can put a lot of wear and tear on your car so it is best to make sure it is in the best shape possible before you leave. Taking your car to a mechanic to get checked out may be a good idea, they can also look at other important parts of the car such as the battery, air filter, engine, and check to make sure the engine coolant, air filter, engine oil, and transmission fluid are up to par before your trip begins. Most importantly make sure that you are insured correctly before you leave! You don't want to get into an accident and then come to find out that you have to pay for something that you originally thought you were covered for!
Other than those tips there is nothing left to say but enjoy your trip! We wish everyone a happy and safe ride back to school this year!
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