Four Things To Do Before You Leave For That Road Trip

Your bags are packed, the kids are aching to leave, and the cooler is stocked with yummy snacks. Before you hit the road, it is essential to make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. Nothing is worse than having to make a detour to the repair shop when you have your heart set on exploring the Grand Canyon.

1. Examine Your Tires

Take a moment to examine the tread and condition of your tires. You can use the penny method to determine if your tires should be replaced. Take an upside down penny and insert it into the tread of the tires. If any of President Lincoln's head is visible, you should replace the tire.

In situations where your tire has a small puncture, you may be able to have the tired repaired instead of replacing it. If the puncture is no more than a quarter of an inch in diameter and it is an area that has not previously been repaired, repairing it is an option. Talk to a company like Terpstra's Sales Service & Rentals if you find any issues with your tires.

2. Check Your Battery

Being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead car battery is a road trip scene straight out of a horror movie. You can check it yourself with an analog or digital voltmeter, or you can ask your mechanic to evaluate it.

When your battery is less than 75 percent charged, it is time to recharge it. If the battery cannot hold a charge, it needs to be replaced. Car batteries generally need to be replaced every four to five years.

3. Give Your Headlights a Face Lift

First, make sure all of your headlights illuminate when turned on. Also make sure that your break lights light up when you tap the breaks.

If your headlights seem dim, swap your old headlight covers for new ones. Over time, your old ones become cloudy and minimize the brightness of your lights. You want unfamiliar roads to be as bright as possible when driving at night.

4. Create an Emergency Kit

An accident can leave even well-maintained cars in a bind. It is important to be prepared. Include the following items in your vehicle emergency kit: flashlight, foam tire sealant, jumper cables, jack, spare tire, lug wrench, tire gauge, and old rags.

Keep your phone charged while driving. You can use it to take pictures of an accident scene or to call for roadside assistance.

Before you punch in the destination on your GPS, make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. Taking a few moments to check it over and make simple adjustments helps keep you and your family safe while on the road.