Trip Inspection Check List
Nothing can end a road trip quicker than a broken down car. When traveling, a well prepared car is a must to be Safe and Sound, especially in the hot Arizona desert. Any time you get ready to go on a road trip, you should give your vehicle thorough look over. S & S Tire and Auto Service will provide this service for free. However, knowing how to perform this inspection yourself can be invaluable, especially if last minute plans call you out of town. In the section bellow, we will discuss what you should check to make sure your vehicle is ready to hit the road.
Things you will need:
- Paper Towel
- Air Pressure Gage
- Basic Hand Tools (only needed for some vehicles)
- Optional: Rubber gloves to keep your hands clean
What to do:
This is best performed when the car is cooled down. If you have to do this when the car is hot, be careful not to burn yourself.
Check the air pressure in your tires, including the spare. The recommended air pressure for your tires should be found on a small sticker on the the driver's door jam. There is an excellent video under the Tire Safety tab that shows how to do this. Also, make sure your tires have plenty of tread on them and that they are wearing evenly from left to right.
After inspecting the tires, check all of the lights on the car. This includes headlights, marker lights, brake lights, and turn signals.
Things under the hood:
- Oil Level
- Coolant Level
- Power Steering Fluid Level
- Brake Fluid Level (low brake fluid level could indicate that it is time to replace the brakes and warrants a brake inspection)
- Power Steering Fluid Level
- Washer Fluid Level
- Air Filter (some cars require tools to open the air box)
- Hoses-Look for leaks or cracks
- Belts-Use a flashlight to inspect the belts and look for cracking or fraying
- Transmission Fluid Level (*specific directions bellow for automatic transmissions)
*When checking the fluid level on an automatic transmission, it is best to have the vehicle warmed up to driving temperature. With the vehicle running, check the fluid level just as you would the oil level. First, pull the dipstick and wipe it off with a rag and then check the fluid level. Your fluid should have a red or pink tint to it. If the fluid is dark or smells burnt, it is time to have a transmission flush done. Also, some newer automatic transmissions do not have a dipstick to check the level.
After you have completed the inspection, start the car up and listen for any obviously strange sounds. A squeal on start up could indicate that it is time to change the belts. Check your dash board and ensure that there isn't any warning lights on.
If everything on the vehicle checks out, then your car has passed a basic trip inspection. If something on your vehicle did not pass the inspection, you should correct it before starting your trip.
Following these basic steps will help ensure that your car is Safe and Sound for a road trip. If at any time you would like S & S Tire and Auto Service to do a complementary trip inspection, bring your vehicle to one of our stores and we will look it over. Also, if at anytime you have any questions, feel free to call and talk to our staff. Nothing is more important then being safe when on the road.