Road Trip Checklist
Heading out on a road trip?
I went on a road trip last week and the process of getting ready to go made me think that that could make a good blog topic. That is, a blog on the check list of what to do to prepare your vehicle for a long trip.
Usually I just take my car to my mechanic and I tell him to check everything that needs to be checked and do whatever maintenance needs to be done to make it roadworthy.
For this trip, however, I left it too long and by the time I called, there was no time for a regular appointment. My mechanic said he could squeeze me in if I wanted to drop my car off, but that wasn’t practical for me.
I needed my car and I couldn’t just drop it off for half a day or a whole day.
So I said to my mechanic, owning responsibility for my procrastination, Oh don’t worry about it. I’ll just go on to YouTube or somewhere and get a check list for getting ready for the trip.
He chuckled indulgently and proceeded to rattle off a long list of things that I should check.
Not being an auto rat, as I was listening to his third point of his list, I got lost. Somewhere between looking at the expansion tank and checking the belt, I glazed over and totally tuned out the rest of what he had to say.
I decided I would trust YouTube to come through for me.
So later that night I googled Check list for a long road trip. I decided to go that route instead of YouTube because I wanted to see it written down. I didn’t want to just watch some yahoo tell me what to do.
So I got the check list and thought I would pass that on to you in this blog.
So if you’re going on a road trip, there are several things that you need to make sure you do.
Check your oil. Make sure that you have oil between the minimum and maximum level on your dipstick, and if it’s low, add to it. I did actually find out that It’s a good idea to have your oil changed before the trip. I of course also left that too long, so that didn’t happen, but I at least checked the oil to make sure I had enough in there.
Check the air in the tires. If you don’t know how to do this, take along your 17 -year-old son, because chances are he will know how to do it and be able to do it for you. But this is what I found out. If you look at the sticker on the inside of your driver side door, it will tell you what PSI your tires should be at.
And then you take your handy-dandy tire pressure gauge, available for $2.50 at any convenience store, and check the current pressure in your tires. Then use the air filler upper thing to put air in your tires and then measure the tire after you filled it up to make sure that you got it to the proper PSI. Do that for all four of your tires.
Check your expansion tank. This is the tank that contains the overflow from your radiator. Apparently when your car is hot the water level rises in the radiator and overflows into the expansion tank, and then when the engine cools down, the water gets sucked back into the radiator.
But if you look at the expansion tank then you can tell how much water is in your radiator and you don’t have to mess with the radiator. You can just add water to the expansion tank, making sure that the level is somewhere between minimum and maximum.
Look at your serpentine belt. Look for cracks and splits. If you see those, you should take it to a shop and get that checked and maybe replaced.
So that’s the basic checklist that will mostly cover your bases if you are doing a do-it-yourself road trip vehicle preparation extravaganza.