Car Maintenance Tips For A Summer Road Trip

Summer is a great time to take your car out on the road. Whether you’re heading up north to see family or taking a vacation at the beach, having a properly maintained vehicle can make all the difference between an enjoyable trip and an emergency repair. 

I know that sometimes it’s hard to remember all these things when you’re busy with work or other obligations, but if you keep these tips in mind at least once a month during summer, you’ll be good to go!

Car Maintenance Tips: Change the Motor Oil

You should change your oil every 3,000 miles or every 6 months if you drive less than 20,000 miles a year. This rule has some exceptions depending on what type of motor oil you use.

If your car is a manual transmission vehicle, it’s best to stick with regular motor oil instead of synthetic because it will reduce the friction between moving parts and keep them from overheating.

Car Maintenance Tips For A Summer Road Trip

When checking your engine fluid levels in general, always follow these steps:

  • Check the level of all fluids: antifreeze (coolant), brake fluid, power steering fluid, and engine oil.
  • Refill empty reservoirs with distilled water for antifreeze/coolant, brake/clutch fluid, power steering pump, and various automatic transmission coolers and reservoirs (if equipped).
  • To reduce the likelihood of air bubbles forming while filling an empty reservoir due to a lack of vacuum pressure, fill engines with 50% new and 50% used motor oil after being completely drained.

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Test the Battery

Car Maintenance Tips For A Summer Road Trip

It would help to have the battery tested before your summer road trip to ensure it’s in good working order. You can do this by checking your car’s battery’s voltage and fluid level. If you see they are low, you may want to replace your old battery with a new one before hitting the road.

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Using an electronic voltmeter, you can also test for corrosion on the terminals and cables of your car’s battery. This will help determine how much power is drawn from each wire and how much voltage is produced at its endpoint (the terminal).

Inspect Tires for Wear and Damage

Car Maintenance Tips For A Summer Road Trip

The number one thing you can do to get the most out of your car’s performance is to check its tires. Tires are the only part of a car that comes in direct contact with the road, so they play an important role in how well your vehicle performs on the road.

To inspect your tires:

  1. Start by looking at the tread depth. If it is worn down to more than halfway across or there are any visible chips, cracks, or bulges in the tread area, it’s time for a new set of tires.
  2. Check for signs of damage, such as cuts or punctures from nails or glass shards that could cause air leaks and bad handling, which increases fuel consumption significantly over time (and could even cause accidents).
  3. Look for signs of wear, such as uneven patterns or bald spots. 

If you need help, you can opt for mobile car maintenance services that provide onsite tire changes. 

Check the Air Conditioning System (AC)

Car Maintenance Tips For A Summer Road Trip

If you don’t have time or money for repairs, keep your vehicle in good working order with these quick and easy steps:

  • Check the air conditioning system (AC). It’s important that your AC is up-to-date and working properly before hitting the road. Make sure there are no leaks, especially if you’re going somewhere humid where it might freeze up, and make sure there isn’t any oil leaking from anywhere else either.
  • Check all lights inside and outside your vehicle (headlights, brake lights, etc.). If a bulb needs replacing, then do so immediately so as not to be pulled over by a police officer for driving without functioning lights!
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Check Tire Pressure

Checking your tires every time you fill up at the gas station is an easy way to keep tabs on their condition and prevent a blowout from occurring on the highway.

If you notice any bulges or cuts in the sidewall or excessive wear on one side of your tires, get them replaced immediately — you don’t want to risk losing control of your vehicle because of low tire pressure.

Maintain Your Windshield Wiper Fluid Reservoir

Check the windshield wiper fluid reservoir. It’s easy to forget this, but a cracked or leaky reservoir can lead to an expensive repair bill. If the windshield wiper fluid reservoir is low or contaminated with dirt or debris, it will reduce the performance of the wipers over time. Replace the fluid whenever needed.

Check your wiper blades for wear and damage. Worn or damaged blades will leave streaks on your windshield that can obscure visibility in bad weather. If you have an older car, consider replacing them before you take off on your summer road trip. 

Don’t Forget About Your Windscreen Wipers

Car Maintenance Tips For A Summer Road Trip

Don’t forget about your windscreen wipers. They’re the unsung heroes of the summer road trip, keeping you safe and sound as you drive through storms and heavy rain. And just like your other car parts, they need a little care from time to time — especially if you live where it rains frequently.

Check for wear and damage on your wiper blades by looking at them closely (they should be clean). Replace them if worn or damaged, leading to poor visibility when driving in bad weather conditions. 

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Prevent Costly Repairs in the Future

Do you remember the first time your parents took you on a road trip? It was probably a long, exhausting drive with kids in the backseat and nowhere to stop until you reached your destination. Road trips are great memories we all cherish, but they can also be stressful and expensive if you’re unprepared.

There’s nothing better than being out on the open road with your favorite people and listening to some good music. In reality, plenty of other factors are at play when planning a summer road trip: weather conditions, vehicle maintenance and repairs, gas mileage consumption rates, and more.

If you’re traveling this summer, good car maintenance is essential. Your trip can be ruined if your car breaks down and you end up stranded on the side of the road with no way to fix it.

It may seem like an unnecessary precaution to take when you’re just driving around on local roads or in your neighborhood, but when it comes to long-distance travel, many things could go wrong.

Disclaimer: Vasttourist always strives for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.