Thursday, June 11, 2015

5 Steps to Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip

Road trip season is here! When preparing for a road trip, one of the most important things to do is make sure your car is road ready. The last thing you want to happen is for something on your car to fail before your reach your destination. As your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent, I'm here to help you stay safe on the road and avoid an insurance claim. Follow this road trip checklist before you hit the road next time!

Road Trip Checklist

1. Examine Your Tires - 

The most common issue people have with their cars while on a road trip is the tires. While you can't always avoid a road hazard that leads to a flat tire, you can reduce the risk of maintenance-connected issues. Start with a good tire inspection by answering these questions.
  • Are there signs of uneven tire wear?
  • Are the tires properly inflated? 
  • Is the tread worn to the point that the tire should be replaced? 
Depending on the answers to these questions, you may need to balance or rotate your tires, and even maybe get an alignment.

2. Check Fluid Levels - 

Start by checking your oil. Not only will  you want to make sure it's at the right level, you'll also want to check the coloring to make sure you're not due for an oil change. If it appears too black, you should change it before heading out on your trip. After the oil, be sure to also check the antifreeze, transmission fluid, break fluid and windshield wiper fluid. The second most common vehicle failure is the cooling system. Just like with the oil, if the transmission fluid appears too dark, its time to change it. If you're break fluid is too low, that could be an indicator of worn out brake pads. Be sure to have those inspected before heading out as well. You'll also want to check for any leaks.

3. Make Sure Battery is Charged - 

Check your battery to make sure its fully charged. Also check to make sure the terminals are tight and clean. If needed, you can clean them with a little baking soda and water. It's hard to go on a road trip if your car won't start. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell when a battery is going to die. However, if you feel the engine cranks slower than normal when trying to start it, you can assume its probably close to the end of its life. New batteries typically last from 3-6 years, so if yours is 4-5 years old you might want to have it tested before you head out on a long trip.

4. Test Electric Equipment - 

Check the horn, wipers and all of the lights to make sure they're working. You might consider bringing along a couple spare bulbs just in case. In addition to making sure the electrical part of the windshield wipers work, make sure they don't need replaced. If the rubber is worn and doesn't clean the windshield properly, be sure to replace them before heading out. Make sure your heater and air conditioner are also in proper working condition. You never know what kind of weather you could run into on a road trip!

5. Pack an Emergency Kit - 

In case of an accident or other emergency, you want to be prepared. Stock your car with emergency supplies including a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit and some basic tools. You should also bring extra water and snacks in case you get stranded somewhere for awhile.

Not only do you want to make sure everything on or in your car is in proper working condition before you head out, you'll also want to make sure your Lake of the Ozarks auto insurance is up to date. You never know when an accident is going to occur and you want to make sure you're covered. Contact Insure the Lake at 573-348-2794 regarding your auto insurance coverage today!

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 

About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral

T: 573-348-2794
F: 573-348-0191