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Road trips are always fun whether you are single, have a family, or travel with friends. Hitting the open road and driving to destinations both near and far is a fantastic way to see all your country has to offer. The possibility for road trip exploration is endless, but before you hit the road, ensuring your vehicle is ready to go is essential. The last thing you want on a road trip is to be broken down on the side of the road. According to Erie Insurance, schedule these four vehicle maintenance checks to ensure your vacation goes off without a hitch.

Schedule a multi-point inspection

A service bay with people in need to schedule before going on your next road trip.
Maintenance being performed | Getty Images

Mechanics and auto-experts recommend car owners get a multi-point inspection regularly, but this service is particularly vital before embarking on a road trip. The service is, much like the phrase implies, an in-depth inspection of all vehicle parts from safety features, engine, interior, and more. Multi-point inspections are often complimentary at dealerships, but it is important to make time for them as they can last several hours. 

After the technician thoroughly inspects the vehicle, they give the vehicle a red, yellow, or green score. A car with a green score is good to go. A yellow score indicates the vehicle will need maintenance in the near future, and a car that receives a red score needs immediate repairs. 

Check your tires

Everyone knows nothing can thwart travel plans quite like a flat tire. Even worse, a blown tire can require extensive repair and can be dangerous for those in the car when its blows out. To avoid this road trip roadblock, it is essential to check your tires before you hit the road. 

To inspect your tires, look at the tread and analyze if the tires need to be replaced or rotated. Next, test the tire pressure. This is quickly done at a gas station tire air pump. Overinflated tires are dangerous as they can pop, and Underinflated tires are hazardous and cause lousy gas mileage. 

If you do not feel comfortable assessing tires yourself, take them to a technician for an inspection. Having correctly inflated and reliable tires can save time and money on the road and at the gas pump. 

Change your oil

Oil changes are a critical part of vehicle maintenance. Oil helps keep your engine cooler and lubricated so it can operate optimally. Regular oil changes help your vehicle run smoothly, which avoids high repair costs. It also saves money at the pump. Clean and maintained oil levels help the engine run with less effort, which increases gas mileage.

Getting an oil change before a road trip is a great way to ensure your engine runs strong for your journey. Plus, most places that complete oil changes also run basic inspections and offer minor maintenance such as headlight and windshield wiper replacement. Getting everything done in one location is a fantastic way to save time and money.

Top off fluids

Oil isn’t the only fluid a vehicle needs to operate correctly. Coolant is required to maintain the engine’s temperature. If there isn’t enough coolant, the car can overheat in the summer or freeze in the winter. Transmission fluid levels should also be checked before a road trip, as maintaining your transmission can make or break a trip.

A couple of other overlooked fluids are brake and steering fluid. Without enough steering fluid, steering wheels are tough to turn, making navigating roads difficult. On the other hand, if you do not have enough brake fluid, the vehicle might not be able to stop. Ensuring your car has no fluid leaks, and all fluid levels are maintained is vital, especially before a road trip.


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