5 Things To Get Checked Before Your Next Road Trip
You’re about to hit the highway on an epic cross-country trek. You’ve got your bags, you’ve packed your provisions in the trunk, and your road trip playlist is cued up. You turn the key, and...nothing. Your car won’t start. So much for that!
Before any long trip, it’s essential to make sure your vehicle can go the distance. Even if you’ve been regularly maintaining your ride, it’s always best to make sure you’re prepared to put some major miles on. To help with this, we’ve made a list (and checked it twice!) of five car parts you’ll want to take a look at before taking off on the open road.
- Battery and Alternator Diagnostic: Two major components make up the electrical system that keeps your car from stopping in the middle of the road late at night: the battery and the alternator. While the battery powers the lights, radio, starter, and other electrical systems, the alternator is what keeps the car going while the engine is running, converting the mechanical power from the internal combustion process into usable electrical energy. Plenty of warning signs exist that will tell you these parts are malfunctioning, from dim lights or trouble starting to the literal check battery light on your dash. A proper diagnostic done by your mechanic will catch any issues before the signs even appear.
- Check Your Head and Tail Lights: When the lights go out on your car, all sorts of problems can ensue, from your high beams failing on a dark road at night to getting pulled over for a broken tail light. There’s more: As we’ve highlighted before, a faulty seal on one’s head lights can often allow condensation to seep into a headlight enclosure and short it out. Checking to make sure your lights are undamaged and in working order is crucial, especially if you’re heading out on a major trip.
- Tire Pressure, Alignment, and Balance: Making sure your tires are in proper condition is extremely important if you’re going to be driving long distances at any time of the year. The easiest way to do this at home is to check the tire pressure with a gauge; your owner’s manual should tell you the appropriate level you should fill to. Alignment and balance is a little trickier. You’ll have to get them checked by a mechanic, and it’s recommended that this be done at least once a year, as going without can risk steering pull and other dangerous problems. A professional mechanic will analyze the way your vehicle’s tires sit on the road and, if necessary, make adjustments.
- Check if You Need An Oil Change: This one is a no-brainer. Checking regularly to see if your vehicle is in need of an oil change is car ownership 101, especially if you’re planning on putting more miles on in the near future. Although the exact interval you should go between changes varies depending on make, model, age, driving conditions, and other factors, most manufacturers nowadays recommend getting it done every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.
- A/C and Heater Testing: No matter where you’re going on vacation, from the cold north to the humid south, you’ll definitely want to be comfortable while you’re in the car. Getting your air conditioning and heating systems tested before hitting the road will ensure you won’t be freezing or sweating in your seat.
For all these issues and more, Mad House Garage can help. We’ll make sure your car is in perfect shape for any trip, whether it’s cross-country or down to the grocery store. Schedule an appointment with us online or call Mad House at 954-932-7447 for more information.