Summer has arrived, and with it comes slower schedules, more daylight, and the freedom to take the whole family on a few adventures. If you’ve been planning that summer road trip, you already know that there are a lot of moving pieces to get ready before you hit the road. From planning your routes to packing all the necessary items, you’ve got a lot to do. One thing every Minnesotan driver should do before heading out on their next road trip is get their car road trip ready. We’ve got a simple list of things to check to make sure your car can go the distance this summer.

Check your tires

Your tires are the key ingredient that keeps your road trip rolling – but if your tires are underinflated that could lead to a big problem. Improperly inflated tires can create stress for your engine, add unnecessary wear & tear on your brakes, and cause your tires to wear unevenly. In addition, tires not inflated properly can decrease your fuel economy by 1%, and can be susceptible to blow outs. For your own peace of mind, it’s a good idea to check to make sure your tires are inflated properly. If they are low, inflate them to the manufacturer’s recommendations which can be found in your owner’s manual or on the sticker on the driver’s side door jam.

Rotate your tires

While you’re thinking about your tires, we recommend getting your tires rotated before leaving on your trip. If your car is a front wheel or rear wheel drive, the wheels that receive the power can wear more quickly. Rotating your tires can promote more even wear and should be performed every 5,000-8,000 miles. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve had your tires rotated, it’s a good idea to get this done before hitting the road.

Belts & Hoses

Your belts and hoses are critical to keeping your electrical, power steering, and cooling systems functioning. If neglected, broken belts and hoses can lead to a breakdown and leave you waiting for a tow in the middle of your road trip. Before heading out, ask your mechanic to inspect your belts for any fraying, or cracking. You can also check to make sure your belts are installed tightly and don’t have too much slack. When it comes to your hoses, check for leaks and drips. Ensuring that your belts and hoses are in working order can lead to a safe and happy trip.

Road trip and checking the Brakes

Making sure your brakes are working before you hit the load can give you peace of mind no matter where the road may take you. Signs your brakes may need some attention include: squealing noises when braking, a spongy brake pedal, a shaking brake pedal, and pulling to one side while braking. If you notice any of these signs or if it’s been a while since you’ve had your brakes inspected, then plan on asking your mechanic to check it out.

AC System check

If you’re heading out in the summer months, it’s probably a good idea to have your mechanic do an AC system check to make sure it’s ready to keep you and your family cool. While you’re having your mechanic perform this check, it’s also a great time to replace your cabin air filter which keeps pollen, allergens, and mold from getting inside your car. Signs your AC needs some attention include: a musty smell coming from your vents, poor air flow, and air not blowing as cold as usual.

Check your lights before a road trip

Driving with burned out lights can be a safety hazard which is why it’s a good idea to do a thorough check of your headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Replace any burned out bulbs to ensure your driving safely throughout your entire trip. While inspecting the outside of your car, plan on checking your windshield washer blades in case you run into a summer storm. You should replace your blades every 6 months – so if it’s been a while since you last replaced them, then now is a good time to get that done.

Once you get these items checked off your list, your car will be road trip ready. And if you’re ready for that next road trip, we’d love to help. Simply make an appointment and we’ll help you get your car road trip ready in no time.