Is Your Car Road Trip Ready?

Memorial Day is coming up quickly, and there’s a good chance many Omaha natives are gearing up to hit the open road over the long weekend. Whether you’re headed on an extended adventure out of state or simply camping at the lake, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is prepared for the long haul. Keep your family safe and your plans in tact and on time by following our guidelines to get your car road trip ready this summer!

man checking his oil before heading out on a road trip

Check the Oil

If you asked most people how often they think they should check their oil, they would probably say “every 3,000-5,000 miles.” Unfortunately, that answer is wrong. While it’s true that car owners should change their oil every 3,000-5,000 miles, you should check the oil level in your vehicle at least once per month to ensure it isn’t running low. Make sure your car is cool before checking your oil, as the heat from the engine expands the liquid which may distort the reading. Additionally, use a rag to wipe the dipstick clean before checking your levels, as residual oil can make your oil seem fuller than it is. If you’re a little low, make sure to look up the correct type of oil for your vehicle’s make, model, and year.

Check the Tires

Low or no tread can be extremely dangerous on long road trips. Having worn out tires makes them more likely to shred, leaving you, your family, and all your luggage on the side of the highway when you could be enjoying your vacation. To ensure a disaster-free drive, all you need is a penny. Since most people don’t have a tread depth gauge and dohave a penny laying around the house, this is the easiest way to check if your tires are road trip ready. Simply stick the penny in the tread of your tire with Lincoln’s head upside down facing toward you. If you can see the top of his Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. If the tread covers a good portion of his forehead, you’re all set! Take the distance you’re traveling into consideration as well. If your tread is only barely covering the top of Lincoln’s hair, you may want to consider replacing your tires before any extended trips just to be safe.

Check the Coolant

Checking the coolant in your vehicle is crucial, especially now that the weather is getting hot. Your car is much more likely to overheat in the summer months, and coolant is the best line of defense from that sticky situation. Wait until your car is completely cool before checking your coolant. This is extremely important because most vehicles have pressurized radiator caps, and if you remove it when the car is hot you risk scalding your hand. Wrap the cap in a rag, release the pressure, and remove the cap to check that your coolant reaches the fill line. If it doesn’t add coolant as needed. Make sure you mix coolant 50/50 with water if it is not premixed; the container will specify whether or not it was premixed.

unidentified man packing car trunk for road trip

Notes for Proper Packing

If you have children in carseats, make sure they don’t have luggage packed tightly around them. Each individual should have an uncluttered seat to themselves to remain safe in the event of an accident. Additionally, all bags should be packed lower than the top of the seat in front of them. Bags packed higher than the seats both obstruct the driver’s view and have the potential to become projectiles should an accident take place. Lastly, make sure to keep essentials like jumper cables, a good car jack, and a flashlight accessible so that you don’t have to dig underneath all of your bags to get to them if necessary.

Hopefully these tips are helpful in getting you to your destination and back home safely on all your trips. Having car trouble you can’t figure out on your own? Call ProCare Collision Center and we’ll get your vehicle road ready for the summer ahead!

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ProCare Collision Center, Auto Body Repair & Painting, Omaha, NE

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ProCare Collision Center

Auto Body Repair & Service in Omaha, Nebraska Serving Omaha, Ralston, La Vista, Papillion, Elkhorn, Fremont, Council Bluffs, Chalco, Bellevue, Carter Lake and surrounding areas.