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Things You Need to Check in Your Car Before and After a Long Drive


man pouring oil in car engine

Planning a road trip, heading to a vacation destination, or just moving someplace far away? If you have a longer-than-usual car ride ahead of you, then there is a list of essential things you need to do to prepare. Here’s what to check in your car before making the journey. 

Oil, Oil, Oil

One of the most important pre-trip measurements you can take is changing the engine oil under your hood. Longer rides cause increased stress on the working parts of your engine, which means they need fresh oil to keep things lubricated and running smooth. 

If you don’t know how to change your own oil, check out this DIY guide to get the job done. Of course, you should always take your car to a shop if you’re unsure you can do the job properly and safely. Failing to take this critical step is an easy way to end up with costly repairs.

Other Fluids

While your car’s engine oil may be the most important fluid to check, you’ll also need to top off the rest. This includes your coolant, windshield wash, and brake fluids. Aside from the windshield fluid, the others can quickly lead to a breakdown or unintended accident. 

Tire Pressure

One thing you never want to run into on a trip is a flat or blown tire. Ask the car accident attorneys at Black & Depaoli, this is an easy way to cause a wreck with the high speeds of the highway or turnpike. Make sure each tire is at the proper pressure marker, which is indicated directly on the side of the tire. 

Tire Wear

You can run into the same exact problems if your tire tread is worn down too far. You can use a tire gauge or the penny trick, making sure Lincoln’s head is more than 1/16th of an inch inside the tread. Either way, your tread needs to be able to withstand the journey. 

Lights, Signals, and Air Filter

With the help of a friend, make sure your brake lights and turn signals are functioning properly. You should also ensure your head lights are working before heading out, too. Finally, double-checking your air filter will help you make sure your engine is getting the oxygen it needs for the trip ahead. 

Other Preparations

Emergency equipment is something most people overlook, but it can save your life. Ask this Aurora car accident attorney about incidents that left drivers stranded in the cold and you’ll never think twice about packing the proper gear. Here’s a checklist of items to place in your trunk:

  • Cell phone and backup battery
  • Spare tire
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver
  • Road flares or reflective triangles
  • Warm blankets or sleeping bags
  • Water bottles
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Paper towels (for cleaning spills and bathroom tissue)

Planning for a road trip isn’t challenging, but taking these few steps can make all the difference in preparing for an emergency or ensuring one doesn’t happen. Just follow the tips above and you’ll have safe, happy travels. 

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