Nothing sounds better than a road trip! The thought of wide open roads, wind in your face, and the excitement of reaching a new destination is so promising that many people skip the car safety checklist. However, if your car breaks down or malfunctions on the road – it’s an absolute joy kill. To make it easy, we’ve listed the most important things to examine your vehicle for before you set out on your trip.

1. Check Your Car’s Battery

Most modern cars will tell you if your battery is running out of juice, but sometimes the unexpected happens, which is why you should purchase a spare battery and keep it safely in your trunk. You should open up the hood and ensure the battery’s connection is corrosion-free, and everything is connected tightly. If you don’t know how to do that and your car is more than two years old, have a professional give your car a once-over before you travel thousands of miles. 

2. Top off Fluids and Replace Filters

Check your engine oil, power steering, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid before driving off. If any of these runs out or malfunctions, you’ll likely be stuck on the road waiting for roadside assistance for a while. These are also cheap and easy to replace, so it’s an easy maintenance procedure you can do to ensure your own safety. 

3. Try Your Lights, Electrical System, and Windshield Wipers

Turn it all on and make sure everything is working smoothly. Your interior and exterior lights should go on and off. Replace any bulbs if necessary. Your electrical system that connects your GPS and phone and keeps the car running should also get a quick diagnostic. Fix any system issues before a road trip. Keep your windshield wipers and fluid maintained, and ensure it’s working correctly. Otherwise, you may be on a highway when you realize your wipers are leaving streaks and impairing your visibility. Most shops recommend you replace your wipers every six months. 

4. Check Your Tires and Inspect the Brakes

It also helps if you have a large automobile and can stash an extra tire, but if you can’t, inspect it to make sure everything is in order. Most gas stations have a pump where you can fill your tires up with air. Any squealing noise from your brakes when you press them may be an indication that there’s an issue. You should always have your brakes and mechanics inspected before driving a long distance. 

5. Give Your Car a Good Wash

Spring for the extra if you can before you go on a trip. It may seem like a moot point because your car is likely to get dirty, but a professional, high-powered wash can keep your car functioning properly. The windshield can always be cleaned for visibility. The jets of water dislodge mud, dirt, and rocks from your undercarriage (which can prevent a mechanical error), and your tires will be clean and rolling smoothly. 
Before going on your road trip, take your car to any of our convenient Flagstop Car Wash locations. We’re all over the Richmond area, so no matter where you’re going, your automobile can get a spruce-up before you go. Check out our RVA Wash Club if you’re planning on driving through those muddy summer roads often! If you have any car-wash-related questions, our team would be happy to hear from you! Feel free to call us anytime at 804-782-9274.

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