A long trip is a serious test for your car and even a small problem such as a worn windshield wiper, out-of-balance tire can cause a lot of troubles. We have prepared a few simple tips on how to prepare your vehicle for a trip. However, this checklist does not include many other important items such as brakes and suspension components that may only be inspected by a mechanic in a garage with the car on the lift. Book an appointment with your dealer or mechanic well before your trip. Ask for one of those maintenance packages with an oil change, tire rotation and mechanical inspection. Don’t leave it for the last moment, do it few days before your trip.

Under the hood
under-hood

First, check under the hood. Are there any leaks? Are the battery terminals clean? Does the drive belt look worn out? If the belt appears cracked or glazed, have it replaced before the trip. Check all the fluids. Start with the engine oil:

Engine Oil
engine_oil

To check the engine oil, park the car on a level spot, warm up and stop the engine. Wait for a minute to allow the oil to drain down the oil pan. Pull the engine oil dipstick out, wipe it with a clean rag or a paper towel and insert it back fully. Pull it out again and check the level – it should be close to the “FULL” mark on the dipstick.
If the engine oil appears too black, it’s better to change it now. If the level is low, you can top it up using the same type of oil as you already have in the engine.
If you notice that your car consumes a notable amount of engine oil between oil changes, it’s a good idea to take some spare engine oil with you on a trip. Many engine problems are caused by lack of oil changes. If your next oil change is due soon, definitely do it before the trip.