Road Trip Essentials for Your Vehicle

When planning a road trip, it’s essential to first think of what preventive steps you can take to ensure your vehicle is ready for the long haul. Many precautionary steps, such as checking tire pressure and tread, fluid and oil levels, wiper blades, belts and headlights, can be done at home at little-to-no cost.

However, if you’d like your vehicle checked by an experienced professional before your trip, consider stopping by a local One Hour Tires for a 29-Point Inspection, which includes checks on tires, fluids, brakes and an under-the-hood inspection. If you experience a flat tire on your road trip, One Hour Tires also offers Free Flat Repair nationwide –if you’ve got a tire that’s flat, punctured or losing pressure, our technicians will repair your tire for free as long as the tire doesn’t need to be replaced.

In case it’s too late for extensive preventive maintenance and you’re just in need of quick tips to get your car road-trip ready, consider taking it to the car wash for a deep clean, topping off necessary fluids, checking and changing the oil, if needed, and making sure tire treads and pressure are still in good shape. Other steps include:

Keep tires inflated, but do so properly.

As temperatures rise during the summer, so can your tire pressure. Tires with high or low air pressure perform inefficiently compared to properly inflated tires. Check your tires before and after a summer road trip, using the inflation recommendations typically found in the driver side door frame or in your vehicle owner’s manual as a guide. To properly check tire inflation pressure make sure the tires are cold, meaning they’ve been idled in a shaded area for at least three hours. Never “bleed” or reduce inflation pressure when the tires are hot, as this can result in an under-inflated condition when the tires cool. Learn more about How to Inflate Tires and the importance of proper tire pressure.

Don’t overlook tread depth.

Maintaining proper tire tread depth is an easy way to help maximize safety and performance. There are several ways to check tread depth, including the “penny test.” Simply insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down, facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Test or replace the battery.

Battery failure is the No. 1 cause of car breakdowns. Often, batteries give slight warning signs when they run low. For example, you may notice the engine struggling to turn over upon ignition or some of your dashboard warning lights staying on. While a typical battery life is about four-and-a-half years, each day of extreme weather – both hot and cold – contributes to the shortening of a battery’s life. It’s a good idea to have your battery tested by a trained professional during peak seasons to determine whether it’s time for a replacement.

Check critical fluids.

Don’t get caught without improper levels of windshield, brake, power steering or transmission fluid for a long summer road trip.

If you notice more concerning issues, such as grinding and overheating, take your car into a local shop to have it inspected by a professional. You can make an appointment with one of our experienced technicians nationwide at One Hour Tires.