To ensure a safe summer road trip, it’s important to prepare your car before using Google Maps and setting off in the driver’s seat. The Federal Highway Administration reports that drivers typically travel 13,476 miles per year, which means your vehicle will likely need some extra care and attention, particularly if it has high mileage. These steps will help you ensure the safety of you and your passengers.
Inspect your tires
It’s essential to check your tires before driving since they connect you to the road and can experience significant wear and tear. Be sure to check the pressure of all four tires, including the spare, before hitting the road in case you need it.
Make sure to check for any uneven wear on your tires. If you notice that some tires are more damaged than others, it’s a good idea to get a tire alignment. To prevent uneven wear, it’s recommended to have regular tire rotations. So, even if your tires look fine, consider rotating them before your trip.
Check your brakes
If you hear any unusual noises when suddenly stopping your vehicle, it’s possible that there is a problem with the brake pads. If you have a long drive ahead, it’s important to have properly working brakes.
To make sure your brake pads are not too worn out and you have sufficient brake fluid, consider taking your car to a professional. Bear in mind that replacing the brake pads could cost up to $300.
Test vehicle battery
Even if you don’t have plans for a road trip, it’s important to check your battery’s condition. Car batteries, like those in TV remotes, wear out over time. It can be frustrating to spend your vacation asking strangers for a jump-start. You can either check your car battery yourself using a multimeter or seek assistance from a professional at a car service center.
Check engine oil and fluids
Before your trip, make sure to check and refill all necessary fluids, such as engine oil, coolant, power steering, transmission, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. You can either do it yourself or have it done by professionals during an oil change.
Take in the vehicle for a detail
Cleaning your car before hitting the road may seem counterintuitive, but it is actually safer. A clean exterior will enhance visibility through your windshield, while a tidy interior will provide a more comfortable ride for your passengers during long trips.
Replace windshield wipers
During summertime, rainstorms can be unexpected and you might encounter some rainy weather while driving. Therefore, it’s crucial to change your wipers if they leave streaks on your windshield or make loud squeaking noises. Even small problems with your wipers can endanger you and your passengers.
Road-tripping in a leased car
When embarking on a summer trip with a leased car, remember that there are certain limitations you should be aware of that do not apply to a car you own outright. Leased vehicles have mileage restrictions that are clearly stated in your lease agreement. Typically, these restrictions limit you to 10,000, 12,000, or 15,000 miles per year, and exceeding those limits results in additional charges of up to 30 cents per mile.
To avoid high wear-and-tear fees when returning a leased vehicle after a road trip, plan your miles and choose a shorter, more direct route instead of a scenic route. Also, remember to keep the vehicle clean throughout the drive.
Is it cheaper to road trip in a rental car?
Renting a car can be a good way to avoid leasing mileage penalties or putting wear on your own car. It also saves you from having to do the preparation steps required if you use your own car. To determine whether renting a car will be cheaper, it’s important to consider some key cost differences.
- Gas mileage. Renting a car that has better gas mileage than your current car can save you money on fuel costs.
- Vehicle insurance. Adding insurance to your rental car will increase the overall cost of renting it. Please take this into consideration when making your budget.
- Depreciation. If you drive your car more, its value will decrease over time, which may impact how much money you can sell it for.
- Potential for repairs. If you rent a vehicle and a repair is necessary due to someone else’s fault, you will not have to pay for it. However, if you drive your own unreliable car, any maintenance or breakdown expenses will be your responsibility. Renting a car could be a great option for avoiding potential issues on the road.
Preparation is the key to safe summer travel
Before embarking on a summer road trip to save money and explore, it is important to prepare your vehicle thoroughly to avoid any potential issues during your vacation.