Insurance Advisor at Oliver L.E. Soden Agency, Inc

Summer Road Trip? Check Your Vehicle First!

Are you planning on taking a summer road trip? Before you head out on this adventure, take some time to make sure that your vehicle is safe and ready for the ride. Car troubles can leave you stranded, delay your plans or cost you your bank account. While it’s impractical to think that you can prevent every breakdown, a bit of maintenance before your departure goes a long way. You also get the peace of mind that you won’t be spending precious vacation time inside a repair shop.


Here are some of the tips that we recommend following through with before you leave for your summer road trip.


Check Your Battery


Because we don’t see them, it’s easy to forget about car batteries. But car batteries only last about six years, so it’s a good idea to check yours if you haven’t in some time. Make sure the connection is tight, clean and free of corrosion. If your battery is more than three years old, you might want to have it checked at your local auto shop. Many do this for free and can advise you on its condition.


Inspect Belts and Hoses


Belts and hoses are needed for just about all parts of your car, including the electrical, air conditioning, power steering and cooling systems. Inspect the belts for cracks or corrosion. If anything looks to be in poor condition, have the belts replaced before you leave. Also refer to your owner’s manual for recommendations on when to replace certain belts and hoses.


Top Off Fluids, Replace Filters


Top off your fluids, including engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. Some of these fluids you can do on your own, but others are best done during a routine oil change. Take your vehicle for one and upgrade your package to get these fluids checked and topped off. And, if you haven’t changed the air filter, do so for improved engine performance and gas mileage.


Check Tire Pressure


One last thing to check on your vehicle is your tires. Tire inflation affects fuel economy, so adjust the pressure as needed. Make sure you have a spare tire, too! It’s amazing how many road trip stories involve a flat or blown out tire. Also look at the condition of your tires. They should have adequate tread depth and no cracks or cuts. New tires are recommended once the treads measure less than 2/32 of an inch.


And a final reminder for safe travels: make sure your license and insurance are updated. Leaving home without them would be like leaving for an international vacation without your passport!