For some who have taken many road trips, the attached AAA article is elemental, but had good reminders for us all. However, for those who are about to take their first or second one, some good-sense preparation recommendations.
Do you have additional road trip recommendations?
Source=AAAAAA said:9 TIPS TO GET ROAD TRIP-READY FOR SPRING
The weather this winter has been unusually difficult—making it hard to get where you need to go and putting extra strain on your vehicle. Luckily, spring is just around the corner and with it, comes milder temperatures, less rain and snow, and the blossoming of the beautiful flora that this area is known for.
With warmer weather on the way, now is the perfect time to get your car ready for fun spring road trips—whether you’re headed to the coast or planning a family camping adventure. Here are nine great tips for getting your car in tip-top shape, so you can avoid any unexpected surprises that may affect your spring travel plans.
1. Thoroughly clean your vehicle’s exterior:
The combination of salt and sand used to de-ice major roads this winter can be highly corrosive to metal, with the potential to damage the body and drivetrain of your vehicle. The best way to prevent this is to thoroughly clean your car’s exterior to get rid of any salt, sand, and dirt buildup. You can easily do this at home, or take your car to the local car wash. Once you’ve completely cleaned off all of the dirt and grime, be sure to apply wax to protect your car’s paint job.
2. Check your tires:
If you installed snow tires this winter, there are a few steps that you should take before switching back to your regular tires. Start by thoroughly rinsing the area, then apply lubricant to the threads of the lug nuts to prevent them from getting stuck in case you need to change a flat tire later this year. Even if you didn’t switch to snow tires this winter, this is a great preventative action to take to avoid any tire issues down the road.
3. Inspect your brakes:
When the roads are clear in spring, people tend to drive faster—putting more stress on your brake components than winter driving. That’s why it’s important to inspect your brakes before hitting the road. If you see rust flaking from the edges of your brake pads or any cracks in the braking material or hoses, it’s a smart idea to visit a mechanic for a proper brake check. That way, you can prevent sticking, pulling brakes, and any premature wear—keeping your vehicle in great shape and ensuring your safety.
4. Clear moisture from your vehicle’s interior:
In winter, it’s common for moisture to seep into your vehicle’s interior—especially if you drive an older car or tend to park under trees or other vegetation. Removing this moisture is key for preventing corrosion, mold spore growth, and electrical system wear. To get started, look for tell-tale signs like your windows fogging on the inside, the smell of mildew inside your car or trunk, or water accumulation under your spare tire. If you spot any of these issues, you may have a water leak and should clear the moisture out of your car to prevent further problems—whether on your own or with the help of your local auto shop. You may have also tracked in snow and ice to your vehicle’s interior, in which case, you should remove your mats and put them somewhere to dry—or use a vacuum to get rid of as much water as you can.
5. Check your oil;
Be sure to inspect your oil to make sure that it’s an amber color. If it’s black, it’s time to replace it. Take your car to the shop for an oil change or do it yourself. If you only drive short distances and keep your car outside, you may want to change your oil even if it looks clean, as oil tends to accumulate damaged compounds faster in winter due to lower temperatures and higher humidity.
6. Check your antifreeze:
Antifreeze (also known as coolant) does more than keep the water in your cooling system from freezing—it also prevents it from corroding, lubricates the water pump, and raises the boiling point of the water. That’s why it’s important to keep your levels full year-round—not just in winter. You can buy premixed antifreeze that’s ready to use if you want to do it yourself or take it to an auto shop for help. If you choose to do it yourself, be sure to check your owner’s manual for the type of coolant you should use, as some car manufacturers now use specific formulas. You should always avoid mixing different types of coolant, as it could cause your car to overheat and prevent it from performing at its best.
7. Inspect all of your car’s other fluids:
While you’re checking your antifreeze levels, inspect all of your car’s other fluids—like transmission, power steering, brake, and windshield washer fluids. If any of them are looking low, be sure to top them off in accordance with your car’s owner’s manual recommendations. Pay special attention to your brake fluid—it should be clear or amber. If it looks brown or black, it’s time to change it. If you take your car to the shop for an oil change, they’ll often check fluid levels and top things off for you, but be sure to ask the mechanic to confirm.
8. Check your battery and battery connections:
Your car’s battery is often overlooked and under-serviced, but it’s a crucial component in keeping your car operating at its best. Luckily, as part of your AAA membership, you can schedule a battery and electrical test at your convenience—for no extra charge. We’ll come to your location and give your vehicle a thorough battery, starter, and charging test. Then, we’ll let you know if it’s ready to handle the demands of spring driving, so you can have peace of mind when you hit the road.
9. Check your other equipment:
Make sure that your windshield wipers, inside and outside lights, and air conditioning are functioning properly. If your wipers or lights aren’t working, you can often fix the problem yourself by swapping out your wiper blades or lightbulbs—or you can visit an auto shop to have them take care of it for you. If doing it yourself doesn’t fix the problem or if your air conditioning isn’t working, you should definitely visit an auto repair shop. Spotting A/C problems early is important, as a simple recharge will likely take care of the issue. Waiting too long to service your A/C system can often lead to additional, more complicated issues and repairs, so it’s best to be proactive and stay on top on it. Keeping your A/C in tip-top shape is important not just for your comfort, it’s also key for safety, as the most efficient way to defrost windows is to run your air conditioning and heater simultaneously.
Do you have additional road trip recommendations?