If you’re like us the warmer temperatures and anticipation of summer vacation season has you excited to plan a road trip. But no matter how much care and effort you put into planning, it never seems to go exactly as planned. You might forget your most important item, even if you have a strict packing list. Your child might be prone to car sickness, which might make you queasy, too. Or… and this is a big one… you might get a flat tire.
While we can’t prevent all of the unexpected (or icky) from occurring, we can help you get your tires and car in tip-top shape to tackle your big trip. Here are a few tips to help:
- Replenish your vehicle's vital fluids – Now is the time to make sure your car’s oil level is sufficient and your wiper fluid is topped off. Low or ditry oil causes engine wear damage. Low coolant (antifreeze) causes overheating, which is the number one cause of breakdowns and usually results in catastrophic engine damage. Running the washer fluid pump without fluid in its reservoir can make it wear out quicker, and your visibility may be reduced. Our ASE-certified technicians at Tire Discounters can take care of these for you so your vehicle isn’t hung out to dry.
- Check your alignment and tread – When traveling long distances with loved ones, it’s especially important that your tires are in the right shape to keep you safe. Misalignment can lead to poor handling or imprecise maneuvering. Worn tire tread might also put you at risk for hydroplaning. If you’re unsure about your alignment or tire tread, stop by your local Tire Discounters store to have this checked.
- Travel with a spare – Not all vehicles are equipped with a spare tire, which could leave you in a pinch. Before your big trip, make sure you’re traveling with one in tow and know where to find it in your vehicle. Check to ensure the spare is properly inflated. It’s also helpful to keep a clear path to it so you can access it quickly. Finally, remember a spare is designed only for temporary use. While you may be tempted to use it as a fourth tire, most spares are only intended to be used for up to 50 miles.
- Have the right tools for changing a flat – It’s important to have the proper tools for putting that spare tire to good use. Many vehicles already come equipped with tools for lifting the tire, removing and replacing its lug nuts and prying off the wheel cover. Before leaving, make sure you’ve located these items – or purchase them if you don’t have them already.
- Stay safe – Our team knows road safety isn’t something that should be taken lightly. We recommend stocking up on a few helpful items to keep you out of harm’s way. An emergency kit that includes a flashlight, jumper cables, a first aid kit, water and a warm blanket will come in handy in the event of an emergency – day and night, no matter the weather.
Good luck on your big adventure! While we don’t wish travel mayhem on anyone, it sure can make for a great story (plus, others might learn a lot from your misfortunes). So, share your terrible road trip stories and trusted road trip tips with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #OnMyLastRoadTrip.