Are you planning a long-distance road trip in the near future? Well, you aren't alone. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BLS), Americans travel more than 1.3 trillion miles of long-distance travel each year. Before getting behind the wheel, though, it's important that you prepare your car. Long-distance road trips can take a toll on your car's health. And if you don't adequately prepare for it, you could be left stranded on the side of the road halfway through your trip.
Change the Motor Oil
If it's been a while since you've changed your car's motor oil, consider changing it before your long-distance trip. Driving long distances with dirty, unchanged oil can increase the internal degradation of your car's engine. The sediment in dirty oil reduces its lubricating properties, causing increased wear and tear inside your engine. By changing your car's motor oil, you can rest assured knowing that your car's engine will be protected from internal wear and tear during your long-distance trip.
Check Tire Pressure
It's also a good idea to check the air pressure of your tires. Low air pressure is bad for several reasons: It causes poor fuel efficiency; disrupts your car's handling and increases the risk of an accident. If any of your tires have low air pressure, fill them to the appropriate pounds per square inch (PSI) of air pressure before taking your long-distance trip.
Whether it's spring, summer, fall or winter, you should check your car's coolant levels before taking a long-distance trip. Coolant is essential to your engine's health. If there's not enough coolant in your car's radiator, your engine may overheat. With the engine cool, carefully remove the radiator cap to inspect the coolant level inside. If low, fill with the appropriate type of coolant as recommended by your car's manufacturer.
Check Windshield Wipers
You may want to replace your windshield wipers before going on a long-distance trip. A typical pair of wiper blades will last about six months, after which they'll need to be replaced. Using the same pair of wiper blades for longer than six months may cause visibility problems during rain and bad weather. Thankfully, windshield wipers are inexpensive and easily to replace.
Check Your Spare Tire
Finally, make sure your spare tire is inflated and intact before hitting the road. Hopefully, you don't need to use it. But if one of your tires blows or otherwise goes flat midway through your trip, a spare will allow you to get back on the road without waiting for a tow truck.