Whether Dad lives across the country or is merely over the river and through the woods, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is safe and ready to handle the trip for a visit! Finding the cheapest car insurance beforehand will put money back into your pocket and give you the peace of mind your dad can be proud of.
Falling on Sunday, June 19 this year, Father’s Day is traditionally an opportunity to spend quality time with fathers, whether they are biological or not. While June is great travel weather for most of the country, that doesn’t mean that your vehicle’s reliability and your family’s safety should be left to chance.
Check the Car Battery
Winter is not the only time of year when a battery can fail. They aren’t meant to last forever, and one thing that can put a huge crimp into a road trip is a failed car battery. It’s easy to perform a basic test by yourself. Turn on the car headlights without starting the engine. Leave them on for a few minutes and then turn the engine on. If the lights burn brighter or dim once the engine starts running, consider getting the voltage checked by a mechanic.
Check the Brakes
With daily travel, brakes get a lot of use. It doesn’t take much time at all before brake pads wear thin or other components need to be replaced. If you feel any vibrations or hear any grinding sounds associated with your brakes, get them checked out before hitting the road.
Examine the Tires
Get a good view of every tire to make sure that there aren’t any bulges protruding from the sidewall. One of the most important aspects of tire functionality is the tread. You can determine the quality of the tread with a simple Lincoln penny test. Hold the penny, specifically Lincoln’s head, into one of the tread lines. If you can see above Lincoln’s head, the tread is significantly worn. If only part of Lincoln’s head is obscured, you’re good to go!
Remember to start off your trip with properly inflated tires. Whenever you stop for gas along the way, visually check the tires for side bulges and lowered deflation. Get yourself a tire pressure gauge for fast and easy checks.
Clean and Check the Windows
One thing windshield cracks like to do is get bigger. A tiny one might not be terribly visible at first, so do a thorough check before the big day. Small cracks can be easily fixed by yourself with a kit or through a window repair company.
Use glass cleaner on both the outside and inside of the windows so visibility is not impaired. You might be surprised at how much dirt and grime has gathered on them without you realizing it.
Check all of the Lights
Lights serve not only with visibility but also for yours and others’ safety. Brake lights, blinkers, parking lights, headlights and interior lighting should all be in good working order. If other drivers can’t see you, you’re not only taking a safety risk but you’re also putting yourself in a position to be pulled over by police for the hazard.
Check all of the Fluid Levels
If you aren’t familiar with checking the fluid levels in your car – then get that way. It’s one of the easiest things to do and will go a long way in keeping your car running at optimal performance.
- Transmission Fluid. Review your car’s manual to find out exactly where to check the transmission fluid. While it doesn’t have to be refilled often (for newer cars it may reach 100,000 miles before this is necessary) it’s a good idea to keep a watchful eye on it. The transmission fluid lubricates and cools gears, valves, clutches, etc.
- Engine Oil. Driving with little – or no oil – can cause serious damage to your car’s engine. This is why the experts advise that it be changed every 3,000 miles.
- Coolant. Now that June is here, your car is going to be running warmer than before. Antifreeze (coolant) keeps the engine from overheating.
- Windshield Washer Fluid. Especially if you’re someone who uses washer fluid frequently, you’ll want to top it off and even take a gallon along with you on the trip. Conditions such as light rain, mud, dirt and even dead bugs make this fluid another necessity.
Now that you’ve planned your trip to dad’s house on Father’s Day, get your car in tip top shape before you set out on the road. Remember to take along paper maps, snacks, bottled water and a medical emergency kit to round out your checklist.