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Car Maintenance Guide

Car Maintenance Guide to Prepare for Your Cross-Country Trip

Proper maintenance for vehicles extends their life, helps you prevent problems, and costs less in the long run. If you plan on driving your car on a long-distance trip anytime soon, you’ll want to spend some money ensuring it is ready for this trip.

With the proper maintenance before a cross-country trip, you can have a more enjoyable vacation because you won’t have to worry about breaking down. Does this sound important to you?

If you want to avoid mechanical breakdowns and other car issues while you’re on vacation, you’ll need to get your car ready. Here are some of the best things you can do to prepare your vehicle for your extended vacation. 

Evaluate Your Vehicle’s Overall Condition

Before you start planning too much of your trip, you might want to take the time to evaluate your vehicle’s overall condition. As you do this, consider how trustworthy this vehicle is, and if you think it can handle a long road trip.

Older vehicles with high mileage might not be reliable for cross-country trips. If you suspect your vehicle is too old and won’t make it, now is the time to read more about trading it in for a newer truck or car. 

You shouldn’t take a long road trip with an old vehicle. The risks are too high that you’ll experience problems, and car problems don’t mix well with long trips. 

Change the Oil and Air Filter

If you decide to take your vehicle, you can start the maintenance steps by changing the oil and oil filter. Oil changes are an essential step in proper car maintenance, and you must do this regularly. 

Getting an oil change helps you become road-trip-ready. Fresh oil helps your engine parts glide smoothly. Fresh oil increases your gas mileage while driving, and it also helps your engine stay cool. 

When oil gets dirty, it doesn’t work effectively. Instead, it allows too much friction in an engine. It can also lead to overheating and other issues. 

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Most auto mechanics recommend changing the oil every 3,000 miles. If you use synthetic oil, which most people do today, you can typically go 5,000 miles. 

If you don’t drive a lot and haven’t reached the mileage limit, you might want to change the oil anyhow. Getting the oil changed every three to six months, regardless of your mileage, keeps your oil fresh and clean. 

Have the Tires Checked

The next thing to check is your tires. While it’s hard to say that one car part is more important than another, tires always rank high on the list of vital vehicle components. 

Tires tend to last for around six years, or 60,000 miles. If you drive a lot, your tires might wear out faster. If you never rotate your tires, they might also wear out faster. 

When you drive with bad tires, you increase your risk of causing an accident. Worn-out tires do not stop a vehicle as quickly. They can also lose traction, causing you to slip and slide on wet or icy roads. 

Proper tire pressure is also important. If your tires have too much air in them or not enough air, you can experience problems. For example, your gas mileage might suffer from inaccurate tire pressure. 

If you want to make sure your care is ready for a cross-country trip, check the tires, and replace them if necessary. This form of road trip maintenance is crucial. 

Fill the Washer Fluid and Replace the Blades

While you’re on your trip, you never know when you’ll need your windshield wipers. It can rain at any time, and it might rain a lot more than you expect. 

If this happens, you’ll need your wipers. To make sure they work well, you might want to replace the blades. Replacing wiper blades is relatively easy to do, and it doesn’t cost a lot for new blades.

While you’re doing this, you might want to fill up the windshield washer fluid. Having a full tank of this fluid is necessary if you need to use your wiper a lot on your trip. 

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Test All the Lights

Another smart step to take before taking off on your trip is to test all the lights. Driving without all your lights can increase your chances of accidents occurring, and it can also increase your risks of getting pulled over by the police. 

You can begin by checking all the turn signals to ensure that they work. Next, you can check the headlights, including the high beams. Finally, you can test the brake lights and driving lights. 

Completing car repairs before traveling makes a big difference. Checking the lights is a simple one that you can do without paying a mechanic. 

Pack the Necessary Supplies

Finally, it might be wise to pack some necessary supplies to bring along on your trip. Packing these things might take up some trunk space, but you’ll be glad you had the items if you encounter a problem. 

The first thing to pack is a bottle of coolant. Even well-maintained cars can overheat. If your car overheats, you can pour coolant in it to protect the engine. You’ll need a funnel, too, to get the coolant in the reservoir. 

Next, make sure your trunk contains a spare tire and jack. If you get a flat tire, you can put the spare on to get you to a tire shop. 

Finally, pack some flashlights, batteries, and blankets, just in case. Having these things can help you get through if you break down.

Stay Safe and Enjoy Your Cross-Country Trip By Properly Maintaining Your Vehicle 

Going on a cross-country trip might be a vacation of a lifetime. If you want to stay safe and enjoy your trip, you might want to take these steps before leaving.

Taking the right steps will keep your car running well and help you avoid problems while you’re away from home. 

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