Cars have numerous components that need maintenance to stay in good working order, so make sure to check these parts before you hit the road.
Brake pads: Brake pads provide the friction needed to slow and stop your car. They wear away with use, becoming too thin to work effectively. Usually, it’s obvious when this happens due to irritating screeching or squealing noise they make. Replacing the brake pads should fix the noise and, more importantly, make your road trip safer. Depending on what your brake pads are made of and how they’re used, they can last anywhere from 25,000 to 70,000 miles.
Air filters: With dust, debris, and bugs everywhere, a road is a dirty place. Cars use air filters to prevent gunk from entering the engine or interior. Eventually, air filters reach capacity and can become clogged, potentially impacting engine performance and fuel economy, and definitely affect interior air quality. Air filters should be replaced about every 12,000 miles, but fortunately, they’re usually inexpensive and easy to change.
Light bulbs: Having a burnt out light is easy ways to get pulled over on a drive. To check, turn on your car, switch on the headlights, make sure it’s in Park, and take a walk around to see if any are burnt out. Repeat the process for the left and right turn signals. With the gear lever is still in Park, use a brick to hold the brake pedal so you can check the condition of your taillights.
Belts and hoses: Looking under the hood of your car can be intimidating, but there are a few trouble signs anyone can spot. Give the belts a squeeze to make sure they’re tight–there should be very little slack. Also look to see if there’s any visible cracking, fraying, or missing teeth in the belts, which indicate it needs to be replaced. Check the hoses to see if there’s any fluid leaking, especially near joining points. Having a hose fail in the middle of a drive can spell disaster for an engine.
Yep, it’s no secret that car care can be a pain. But it’s not nearly as bad as having an adventure ruined by a preventable problem. Your car works hard on a road trip, so give it what it needs to keep running.