How to Prepare Your Car for a Summer Road Trip

As the sun begins to shine, you may be thinking of a summer road trip to explore the country. There are some things that you should consider before heading out on a road trip. These tips will help prepare you and ensure you limit any potential for your car breaking down.

While there is plenty of information on how to look after your car in the winter months, it is also important to consider the needs of your car in the hot months, too and especially if you are heading out on a road trip. Below are some tips to help keep your vehicle in tip-top condition when the temperatures start to rise.

Check Your Tyres

No matter the weather, checking your tyres before you go on a road trip is essential. Your tyres impact your safety as well as the performance of your car too. For example, having tyres with low pressure or a slow puncture can influence how your car breaks. It can be dangerous so checking them before setting off is so important.

If you don’t feel your tyres are suitable, then you can purchase a new set; you don’t even have to leave your home as you can now buy tyres online. If you feel your tyres are suitable, check the sidewalls for bubbles, uneven wear and tear around the tire and check the PSI pressure by using a gauge. 

Check Your Battery

You won’t get far if your battery is flat! It is, therefore, essential to ensure your battery fluid levels remain topped up. For more detailed information on how to check your battery, head over to this blog post on how to check your car battery. This will give you our top tips in greater detail. 

Clean Your Car

It may seem a slightly silly thing to do, but the reason for cleaning your car is that it will give you an opportunity to inspect all aspects of your vehicle. From the paintwork, the tyres, and underneath the vehicle.

If you spot damage, you can get it fixed immediately before setting off on your road trip. Depending on the type of damage you discover, it could have an impact on your driving ability if the problem is not spotted or not fixed.  

Check Your Oil

Knowing how to check your oil will stand you in good stead for any time of the year. Going on any type of journey is important to know where to locate the oil dipstick and how to check the oil level in your vehicle. Not only do you need to check if you have enough oil in your car, but you also need to know when your oil needs changed. For example, if when looking at the dipstick it is black or covered in grim, it’s a good time to change your oil.  

Check Your Brake Fluid

Other fluids to check also include your brake fluid. If your car doesn’t have enough brake fluid, then it could have dangerous consequences for driving your car as it would limit or impair your braking ability. A word of caution, it is best to have your brake fluid checked by a professional as it is toxic. If you don’t have the correct protective gear, it’s best to leave that job to a professional. 

Check Your Brakes

As well as checking your brake fluid, it is very important to check your brakes. The type of driving can have a huge impact on your brakes, especially if you are driving in traffic jams. Heat can also impact on your brakes.

Having your brakes inspected by a professional before long journeys will ensure you remain safe. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to spot anything that may be damaging and fix it immediately for you. This could mean removing the wheel so unless you have the equipment and experience to do this, it is best to leave it to the professionals. 

Check Your Coolant

Coolant is essential to making your radiator work correctly. You don’t want to end up with smoke billowing from it when you are on your road trip. Ensure your coolant is full, this can be done using a coolant tester or you can ask a professional to undertake a number of routine tasks before you start your journey to give you peace of mind.

A word of caution, though, if you do decide to undertake this job yourself and you have a dog, coolant is dangerous to your pet so keep them away when you are doing your checks. 

Check Your Power Steering Fluid

Another fluid to check is your power steering fluid. This isn’t something that is undertaken as routine so doing this will also add to your peace of mind when driving on your road trip. If your power steering fluid is low it can impact your steering dramatically, it can also lead to other damage which would be expensive to repair. You can check the specific manual for your car and find out how to check this fluid level. 

Check Your Essentials List

As well as undertaking an audit of your car, it’s also important to take items with you in case of an emergency. While you may not need these, having them to hand will most certainly help you should you break down.

Before we get on to the list, remember to bring with you all the documents relating to your car for example, your driving licence, your insurance, proof of ownership. This will help should you be required to provide such records to the authorities.

Now let’s get on to the essentials list, below are just some of the items we would recommend you bring with you on your road trip.

  1. Smartphone charger.
  2. First aid kit.
  3. Hand sanitizer.
  4. Blanket.
  5. Water.
  6. Food. 
  7. Torch.
  8. Car manual.
  9. Spare tire.
  10. Tire-pressure gauge and pump.
  11. Flares.
  12. Maps (in paper format in case your phone battery dies).
  13. Money.