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Is Your Car Road Trip Ready? 7 Questions to Ask

You’re ready to get on the open road – but is your car?

If you don’t prepare your vehicle for the lengthy trip ahead, you may end up on the side of the road calling CAA, instead of cruising to your destination. To make sure your next road trip isn’t cut short by car trouble, here are seven questions to ask yourself before setting off on that dusty trail.

Before That Road Trip, Ask Yourself…

1. Are all my lights working?

Check your vehicle’s lights to make sure they’re functional – that includes headlights, taillights, and break and turn signal lights. If you’re driving a motorhome or truck with running lights, make sure these are functional as well.

If your car’s plastic headlight lenses are cloudy, you should get them replaced – cloudy lenses reduce headlight strength, compromising your view of the road at night.

2. Does my air conditioner have proper airflow?

If you’re taking a road trip in summertime, you’ll probably be using the AC more than not. Make sure that your air conditioner has proper, steady airflow. If your car’s AC is patchy, or isn’t working altogether, get under the car hood and replace any worn or loose AC belts.

3. Are my tires low on pressure?

Inspect your tires for proper pressure, following your owner’s manual’s instructions. Tires with low pressure will heat up faster, running the risk of a blowout. You’ll also want to check your tire tread – an easy way to do so is by using a quarter. Take a regular quarter, and turn it to the side with the caribou. Next, turn the quarter so that the caribou nose faces down, and insert it into one of your tire’s tread grooves. If the tip of the caribou’s nose is covered, then your tire tread is sufficient, but if you can see the tip of the caribou’s nose, you should get your tires replaced.

4. Are my hoses & belts secured?

Next, check your vehicle’s belts and hoses. Are any of your hoses brittle, leaky, or soft? Are there any loose clamps? Make sure all your belts are aligned and adjusted, and check for any cracks or tears. If any hoses or belts don’t pass inspection, get them replaced.

5. Does my air filter need to be replaced?

Air filters are easy to change, and inexpensive to boot – make sure you’re not driving around with a dirty air filter in your vehicle, as this actually reduces fuel economy. You should replace your air filter roughly every 16,000 kilometers, using your owner’s manual instructions.

6. Do I want to invest in a GPS?

If you’re still using worn-out paper roadmaps, it may be time to bring your navigation technology into the 21st century. Investing in a GPS system can save you time and frustration – no more stopping to ask for directions!

A GPS can also help you find points of interest in real-time, like gas stations, parks, or restaurants, so you won’t be stuck driving around looking for a place to eat or fill up on gas.

7. Have I done my spring car maintenance?

If you haven’t prepped your car for the sunny spring season, now is the time to do so. Checking up on your brakes, inspecting your battery, and changing your oil are all part of proper spring car prep. If you haven’t considered it in a while, it’s also wise to revise your auto insurance policy, so that you can be sure you have the right kind of coverage for your needs.

Is Your Car Road Trip Ready? 7 Questions to Ask

You’ve packed everything up, made lunches and snacks, and whipped out that wrinkled roadmap (or shiny new GPS).