Summer is almost here, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ve had enough of the cold. We love to take family road trips in the summer. If you do too, you’ll want to make sure your car is in tip-top condition before heading out.
Here are some of our top tips for getting your car ready for summer road trips, whether you’re heading out to Rocky Mountain National Park for a week or heading out for a month-long road trip that will take you from Yellowstone to Yosemite.
Fix the Small Stuff
It is easy to skip the small things, but sometimes these are the things that can really put a damper on your trip.
Change your windshield wipers. The middle of a summer storm is no place to find out that winter has done a number on them and they don’t work worth a darn. Pulling over to wait out the rain is not our idea of a fun family day.
Replace cracked or chipped tail lights and headlights. A cracked light cover that falls off on the road can turn into a fix-it ticket. If you get ticketed, you’ll have to make the repair and provide proof of repair to the ticketing agency. That could take a few days, or more if you are in a remote location with no local services.
Check Your Tires
If you are swapping out winter tires for summer tires, thoroughly inspect your summer tires before heading out. Even better, take an hour out of your day to visit a tire shop and have them do an inspection to make sure they are properly balanced.
Get Your Car a Checkup
Take your car to the shop. If you tell them you’re headed out on a long road trip, they’ll do an extra thorough inspection. If your shop doesn’t seem to know what a road-trip inspection looks like, come visit us at Loveland Tire & Service. We’re here to help. Our inspection will focus on making sure your car is ready for a road trip and safe for your family.
Make sure things you don’t often check, like air filters, are replaced. The last thing you want is for your clogged filter to keep your air conditioning from giving you its best when you’re spending long days on the road. If you’ve got grumpy teenagers, just imaging how grumpy they’ll get with no air conditioning!
Make your Brakes a Priority
Get your brakes checked. Even if they seem fine, winter can be very hard on your brakes.It’s better to be safe than sorry. Your road-trip inspection should include a thorough brake inspection. Don’t just assume, ask and insist that your brakes be included.
Pack Spares and Tools
Here’s a quick list of spares you should consider packing for your road trip. Depending on how old your car is, some of these items may be obsolete. Take what you need.
- Socket Set
- Lug Wrench
- Utility Knife
- Latex Gloves
- Duct Tape
- Tire Patch or Plug Kit
- Hoses and Clamps
- Belts and Fuses
- Coolant and Water
- Brake Fluid
If your car doesn’t have a GPS system, be sure to have maps. Better yet, consider a portable GPS.
Check your spare tire and your jack. Make sure at least one other person knows how to change a flat.
Pack an emergency roadside kit with flares and other safety items. Include water, snacks, toilet paper, and flashlights with extra batteries.
Make sure you’ve got a fully-stocked first aid kit.
Bring jumper cables. If you don’t need them, you may be able to help another road tripper along the way.
Stop by and see us in Loveland for your road-trip inspection. We’ll make sure your summer travels get off to a great start!