Here are some easy and common sense tips for getting your car, SUV or truck road trip ready, whether you are planning a short drive or a longer getaway, especially if you haven’t been using your vehicle much these last few weeks.
Be Road Trip Ready
The AAA expects to be called on to rescue nearly eight million of us who break down at the roadside for various reasons.
Top reasons for breakdowns are flat tires, lockouts and dead batteries.
AAA automotive experts recommend these car care tips to prepare your vehicle for a summer road trip, whether that’s a holiday weekend getaway or a longer road trip.
Make sure to inflate tires to the recommended pressure listed in the owner’s manual or on the driver-side doorjamb.
Always check tire pressure when the tires are cold. Even a short trip to the nearest gas station can change the reading.
To check tread wear, insert a quarter upside down. If the top of George Washington’s head is visible at any point, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
After three years, have your battery tested to determine remaining capacity.
In many areas, AAA members can have a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician come to their home or work to perform a free battery test and install a new battery on site if needed.
If you will be driving long distances, you can help prevent a power drain on your battery by taking one of the generators for electronics to keep your phones and the kids’ entertainment devices charged, whether it’s a picnic or a family camping or glamping trip.
Inspect the brake system for fluid leaks, and check all components for wear at every oil change and whenever there are signs of a potential problem.
Pay attention to any brake warning indicators on your car’s instrument panel, or any grinding or scraping noises when applying the brakes.
Change the oil at the intervals specified by the vehicle manufacturer and use an oil that meets the vehicle’s factory specifications.
Also, check the engine coolant and brake, transmission, and power steering fluids. And, check the windshield wiper fluid.
AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America.
Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app.
This article was published in 2019 and updated for 2020 and 2021