Summer is around the corner which means it’s that time of year to hit the open road for some exploring. Fun times are ahead, but you want to make sure you don’t encounter any unexpected mishaps with your vehicle. Nothing dampers a road trip like a road side breakdown in the middle of a heat wave or rainstorm. The key word here is preparation. It could make or break your adventurous road trip.
FLUIDS Check all of your truck’s fluids – this includes engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Be sure to check the colors of the fluids and consult your owner’s manual to ensure proper levels.
BATTERY – One of the leading causes of roadside disasters is the battery. Be sure to check the levels by removing the caps and looking inside. Look for corrosion at the terminals and clean it off with a wire brush and water. Also look for cracks and holes in the battery itself. This takes merely 5 minutes and could save your hours at a shop!
HOSES AND BELTS – Look for deterioration in the form of cracks and chunks missing. Give hoses a squeeze test to see if they are spongy, soft or brittle. If so, they should be replaced. Belts should feel firm and if they are squealing then they should be replaced as well before embarking on a long road trip.
BRAKES – Be mindful of things like grinding, vibrations or pulling to one side when the brakes are applied. There shouldn’t be any screeching sounds. Have your brakes inspected by a professional before you depart.
COOLING SYSTEM – Long driving days during a hot summer can be stressful on the cooling system. If it’s been a few years since your last flush, now would be a good time to do it. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road with an engine that is overheated.
AIR CONDITIONING Test the A/C by giving it a good run to make sure it is working properly. If the air cools quickly you’re in good shape, but if it doesn’t feel cold enough, you may need to have it re-charged. This is a simple procedure any service shop can perform.
LIGHTS Best way to test your lights is to have someone else check the lights as you press pedals and turn on switches. Look at the luminosity of the lights for dullness and if so, have the bulbs replaced. And definitely make sure your hazard lights are working as well.
PLAN THE TERRAIN
Where will you be taking your rig? Is it going to be a 4×4 adventure through sand and mud? Or maybe just a highway cruise with car camping? Either way, keep in mind these obstacles and consider all of the different terrain you are going to traverse. Think of all the tools and parts that are needed for different elements. Try to imagine worst case scenarios and plan ahead for them by packing the proper equipment. You’ll thank yourself later.
Things will happen no matter how well you prepare. Keep in mind to have some basic emergency gear within your truck. Jumper cables, anti-freeze, water, oil, and washer fluid can be a valuable asset later down the road. Also make sure the spare tire is inflated to the proper pressure as well as a tire changing kit. When dealing with a truck and its parts, sometimes cuts and burns can happen, so a first aid kit is a good idea as well. Keep your paperwork updated too. Such as license and registration, and be sure to have the owners manual stored in the glove box.