With the warm temperatures and long days, now is the time to plan a fun summer trip. Getting your vehicle travel-ready is critical as part of your summer road trip planning. Read through this maintenance checklist for summer, and be prepared for some serious fun!
What to Consider for Your Summer Road Trip Plans
There are two aspects to consider when preparing your vehicle for a long summer road trip. First, you should note that your car's components, such as the engine, air conditioner, and transmission, will be tested thoroughly on this journey.
The second consideration is for your safety. Think about the brakes, tires, and items to pack in case of car trouble. If you plan to bring along an RV trailer or boat for your getaway, you must also prepare for any potential towing issues.
In the end, planning ahead will make for a less stressful trip and fewer misadventures on your long-distance adventure. Review the following systems to check before you leave town!
Inspect Your Tires
Your tires are one of the most critical components of your vehicle. If they aren’t cared for properly, it can cause delays or accidents. Be sure to check for the correct air pressure. You can find the proper amount of pressure for your specific tires on the sidewall. If over- or under-inflated, it can cause a flat tire or blowout on the highway. Look at the tread on the tire. If it’s getting low or you notice uneven wear, take your vehicle in for service. Uneven wear can indicate other problems, such as wheel alignment or a damaged suspension. These issues should all be fixed before you take your road trip.
Replace Windshield Wipers
When the weather’s nice, you likely don’t think about your windshield wipers. However, if you run into rain during your summer trip, you'll want them to work well. Make sure the rubber is smooth on the blades. If it’s torn or starting to wear down, you’ll want to replace them before you leave. Refill the wiper fluid before you go so you don’t run out on your trip.
Check the A/C
The one thing you don’t want to run into on your trip is an air conditioning system that won’t work. Driving in the heat makes for a miserable trip if you can’t cool off with the A/C. Have a service technician inspect your system and test it. They’ll add refrigerant to keep you cool on your journey if it needs to be recharged.
Get an Oil Change
Before you leave on a long trip this summer, schedule an oil change. Your engine is going to work harder, and fresh oil will help it work more efficiently. Changing your oil can improve efficiency, which translates into cost savings at the pump. It is also better equipped to keep out dust and grime, which can be harmful to your engine’s components.
Most vehicles should have an oil change every 5000 to 7500 miles. Older models may need it more often, while vehicles that use synthetic oil can often go a little longer. If your vehicle will reach the mileage for an oil change while you’re gone or right after you return, it’s a good idea to schedule it before you go.
Along with changing the oil, service technicians will take the time to conduct a multi-point inspection. They will refill all your fluids and check the belts and hoses. If they see anything that needs to be repaired or replaced, they will let you know. You can get the work done before your trip for added peace of mind.
Check Your Emergency Kit
You should have an emergency kit in your vehicle. If you don’t, put one together before you leave on your trip. If you have one in place, check to see if anything needs to be replaced. You may have used some items while others may have expired.
Some items that should be included in your kit:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Jumper cables
- First-aid kit
- Tool kit
- Bottles of water
- Non-perishable food
What to Consider When You’re Towing
If you’re taking an RV along for your trip or towing a boat or other outdoor toys, you’ll want to take extra precautions before leaving. Here are some tips for safe towing:
Know the Towing Capacity of Your Vehicle
Make sure you know how much your vehicle can safely tow. The manufacturer will give it a rating in pounds. This capacity doesn’t include other passengers or cargo. If you load up a truck bed with equipment or plan to haul several passengers and their gear, the towing capacity will go down.
Towing and payload are two different terms. Towing capacity consists of what you can tow behind the vehicle. Payload is the amount you can haul in the truck bed.
Know What Towing Features You Have
Towing a trailer or RV is a lot different than driving a vehicle. Today’s models have added a lot of towing accessories to make it safer and easier. Find out what features come with your vehicle, such as trailer tow mirrors to see around your trailer on the highway.
Additionally, you might have a digital rear-view camera that shows what’s behind your trailer, lights to help you hitch up after dark, or a trailer sway control feature that helps keep your trailer in line with the vehicle—this puts less stress on the engine and makes for easier steering.
Take the time to prepare your vehicle for your adventure. Follow this checklist to ensure your vehicle is ready for the road. When you spend a little extra time on your summer road trip planning, you’ll have less to worry about on the trip.
Bentley Buick GMC can inspect your vehicle before you leave for a summer trip. And if you don’t have the right vehicle to tow an RV or trailer, Bentley Buick GMC offers a wide selection of SUVs and trucks with impressive towing capacities.