Here’s a guest post from Roman Milovidov who is the author and resident expert on cars, tires, and rims over at Rims and Tires. If you are planning to travel down south via road for the winter, or even for your next summer road trip, this is for ya!
Car adventures and road trips are usually an excellent way to discover new areas and get a break from your day to day work. Car travels can consume a lot of cash and a failure to adequately budget for your trip can result in budgetary constraints and a depletion of your bank account.
One aspect of a journey that consumes a considerable part of your travel budget is your car. Before you embark on any adventure by car, you need to be sure that your vehicle is ready for the journey. Your car should be serviced, cleaned up, and assessed for any maintenance issues. Otherwise, you are likely to run into some very costly vehicle-related problems that could disrupt your adventures while on the road.
The following are some tips on how to prepare your car for an adventure without breaking your budget:
Check all your vehicle fluids
The car engine contains fluids that are indispensable to the vehicle. Before you head out on any road trip, you need to check and ensure that your car has all the essential fluids (oils and fuels). Preparing the fluids before your departure ensures that you can get them at reasonable prices while avoiding unnecessary stops on the way. Some of the fluids that you much check before commencing your journey include:
A. Engine oil
Insufficient engine oil can cause expensive problems for your car. if your engine oil is depleting faster than usual, it can be as a result of a leak. It is therefore important to check your engine oil before embarking on that trip to ensure that your engine does not go out on you or develop mechanical problems that will require more cash. You should also ensure that your car’s oil is clean enough to run the car without clogging the moving parts.
Having enough gas is the most basic (and most critical) aspect of your trip. You need to check your gas levels before starting out on your adventure. This comes in handy especially if you are driving through a remote area or an area that is unfamiliar to you. Checking your gasoline levels will go a long way in ensuring that you don’t run out of gas on the road and be forced to pay a considerable amount of money for any available gas just because there are few and isolated gas stations along the route. More so, if there are no gas stations around, you could end up becoming stranded in the middle of nowhere.
C. Transmission fluids
Transmission fluids are necessary to keep up your cars optimum performance. For most vehicles, you are only required to change your transmission fluids after every two years or longer. However, if you detect potential transmission problems such as unexpected grinding, squeaking noises, or it gradually becomes difficult to shift the gears, it’s high time to check or change your transmission fluids. This will ensure that your car runs smoothly throughout your trip and reduce the risk of mechanical breakdown on the road.
Scrutinize your tires
Tires are arguably the most crucial parts of your car. If your tires are to last you longer on the road, you need to make sure that they have enough pressure and adequate tread. You also need to ensure that they are well cleaned and tear free.
When inflating your tires, take note of the recommended pressure that your car should have to make sure your tires can withstand the pressure in them. Overinflating your tires can result in a blowout which is why you need to keep the pressure well within the recommended limit.
The car tires should also be free of tear and bumps. The presence of cracks on your car’s tires is a sign that it’s time for a replacement.
It is smart to have a lightweight portable air compressor and a fully-charged cordless wrench for changing tires and pumping them on the road.
You also need to make sure that you have a spare tire even if your main tires appear okay.
Ensure your brakes are working perfectly
The brakes of your car have to be in tip-top shape if you want your trip to be hassle-free. Brakes are fundamentally the last line of defense, and the consequences of their failure to function effectively can be both fatal and devastating.
The last thing you want to experience during your trip is a brakes malfunction. This inconvenience is a pain to deal with and expensive to repair. Preventive measures are therefore necessary. It is cheaper and more realistic to have your brakes examined by a qualified professional beforehand than having to fix them on the road when they finally malfunction.
Related: 12 Ways To Save Money on Gas
Check your car’s battery
A battery that is in good shape will recharge as you drive and this will consequently increase its life. However, if your car’s battery is not strong enough, you will start to experience difficulty starting your car. If the battery dies during the course of your adventure, you will end up stranded and incur unbudgeted expenses to restart your car or may have to get a new battery.
To prepare yourself for the possibility of your car’s battery dying on the road, you need to ensure that you have packed jumper cables and also learned how to use them.
When you are on long road trip, you should be aware of your budget constraints and ensure that you minimize your miscellaneous and emergency expenses by preparing your car adequately for the trip. Most car related problems, such as flat tires, overheating, low engine oil, and a dead battery, can be avoided by adequately servicing your vehicle beforehand.