Summer road trips are more popular than ever. With travel restrictions lifted nationwide, drivers are eager to visit loved ones or embark on postponed vacations. However, before you hit the road, you must take the time to perform essential vehicle maintenance. Over the past year, many households have neglected car upkeep. Avoid trouble on the road by completing the following before you head off on an extended car trip.

  • Get a brake check. Getting your brakes checked is one of the top tasks to do before a summer road trip. If you hear any squealing sound when using the brakes, you may need a brake pad replacement. Also, if you note any resistance while braking, your brake fluid could be low.
  • Inspect hoses and belts. A bad hose or belt could ruin your road trip quickly. Checking out the hoses and belts confirms that issues with your power steering and electrical systems don’t come up during your trip.
  • Change the oil and fluids. If it’s time to change your oil and oil filter, make sure to complete the task before your road trip. During your oil change, you can also have your air filter replaced. Top off any fluids in the car, too, including windshield wash and coolant.
  • Check your battery. Don’t risk stalling on the side of an unfamiliar area because of a dead battery. You may need a new battery before you leave if it’s been several years since a replacement.
  • Examine the tires. A flat tire on the road is one of the top reasons you’d need roadside assistance on your trip. Check the tire pressure and look at the tread too. Tire inspections can also identify issues like poor alignment.
  • Run through all the electrical equipment in the car. Make sure both interior and exterior bulbs are working correctly. Don’t forget to inspect the headlights and turn signals too.

Remember to bring emergency equipment along with you on the road trip, including flashlights, a spare tire, and a basic toolset. If you get in an accident on the road, find a specialist shop to complete any repairs after notifying your insurance company.