The most important things to check on your car before taking a road trip.

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The most important things to check on your car before taking a road trip.

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Taking a road trip? Whether it is for business or pleasure, there are a few things that you should look over before you hit the pavement to increase your chances of having a smooth trip. We have compiled a list of the 7 most important things to check on your car before a long trip to help you avoid having to deal with a repair on the road. Taking the time to preform a little upkeep before you leave can possibly save you a lot of time and money by avoiding costly repairs on your long trip.

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Check up on Maintenance and Repairs:  Just like your annual medical exam, your car has regularly scheduled maintenance that needs to be addressed. If you are really good about this, you can check this off the list and move on to the next point. If you are like the rest of us, get your owner’s manual out and take a look.

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Review your maintenance schedule. If you haven’t looked lately, right before a long trip is a good time to check your regular maintenance schedule to see if there is anything that needs be done. Your owner’s manual is the best place to find the recommended maintenance schedule by mileage for your specific vehicle. If your owner’s manual has disappeared, like a sock in the dryer, google the make, model and year of your car. Most car manuals are now online.

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Fix repairs that you have been putting off. If there has been a repair or two that you have been putting off, make sure to check them off your list before you head on a long trip. You may also want check to see if there are any recalls open on your car while you are at the shop.

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 Check your fluids  Fluids are critical to the overall health of your car. Your car needs oil to lubricate the engine, antifreeze to regulate its temperature, and washer fluid to maintain good visibility.  It only takes a few minutes to look over all of these things. If you are low on an important fluid, you will be happy that you caught the issue before your trip, instead of being stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

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Regularly changing your oil is very important. You are better off changing your oil ahead of schedule than going over the recommended mileage during your trip. It is better to get your oil changed beforehand at your regular service provider. They will likely have records of previous maintenance on your vehicle and may be able to spot a potential issue before it is a serious problem. Most service providers will also check your fluid and tire pressure as part of their regular oil change service.

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If you are not in need of an oil change, at least do a quick oil check and make sure that your oil is not low. If your oil is low, it could present a problem on the road and you are better off safe than sorry. 

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Coolant Check the level on your coolant and make sure you are up to the mark on the tank. Coolant (or antifreeze) is usually stored in a plastic container called a surge tank. On the tank, you will see a mark or ridge that indicates the fill level. Make sure the coolant is at this level.

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Washer fluid If you have ever been traveling behind a large truck, and have been sprayed with a massive fan of mud, you know that that is not the time to figure out that you are low or out of washer fluid. Check it before you leave and you should be good to go

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 You may also want to give your wiper blades a quick glance over. Make sure that the rubber strip is still in good condition and that they make proper contact with the windshield. If you are going to be traveling to a cold climate, think about using an anti-freezing washer fluid for your long trip.

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Check your tires: Tires are a very important safety feature and are one of the most common sources of trouble on a long trip. You can avoid calling roadside service for a flat if you do a quick check of your tires before you leave.

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Check the tire air pressure. Tire air pressure is related to a lot of factors including driving safety, tire wear and gas mileage. Make sure that your tires are inflated properly. The correct recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) is listed on the inside of the driver’s door or on the side of the tire. The driver’s door is the car manufacturer’s recommendation and the tire sidewall has the tire manufacturer’s recommendation. 

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Summary: Whether it is for business or pleasure, there are a few things that you should look over before you hit the pavement to increase your chances of having a smooth trip. We have compiled a list of the 7 most important things to check on your car before a long trip to help you avoid having to deal with a repair on the road. Taking the time to preform a little upkeep before you leave can possibly save you a lot of time and money by avoiding costly repairs on your long trip.

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