Pre-trip Checklist For Adventure Away-From-Home

Hitting the open road remains one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Review our vehicle checklist before heading out this summer--especially if your vehicle has been a bit overlooked during stay-at-home requirements.

Here are five critical items to inspect before loading up the family vehicle:

  • Tires tread wear. It’s easy to overlook the tire--and the spare. Are there any bald spots? Tread wear uneven? Is it inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Automotive experts recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. If your vehicle has a matching full-size spare tire, include that tire in the rotation. Ask your service advisor to inspect your tires and adjust the inflation pressure, including the spare tire.
  • Brake wear. The brake system remains a vital safety component that’s prone to problems in intense summer weather. Heat is the main culprit, especially for vehicles loaded down with travelers and their gear. Wheels squealing as you come to a stop and a vibrating steering wheel are common symptoms when your brakes are starting to fail. If brake pads become too worn down, the metal inside them may permanently damage the rotor. Rather than a minor brake repair, you could wind up replacing the entire brake system. Braking depends on friction, and the process slowly erodes the brake system over time. Routine maintenance of the shoes, fluid and hoses prevents normal wear and tear from becoming a costly headache.
  • Check the cabin air filter. As the name suggests, the cabin air filter helps cleanse the air inside your vehicle. But, like all filters, it can become clogged and dirty over time. It’s a component that needs routine replacement. The cabin air filter can prevent dust, contaminants and allergens from entering the vehicle. Check your vehicle manual to see how often yours should be replaced. Remember, you might need to replace your cabin air filter more frequently than the manual suggests if you do a lot of driving on dusty roads or regularly encounter road work during your daily drive.
  • Oil change with oil formulated for summer driving. Summer heat adds stress to your vehicle’s engine, especially one operating with oil that hasn’t been changed for a while. Ask your trusted service advisor if they recommend any particular type of oil that can withstand summer heat.
  • Check the radiator fluid. An overheating engine on a hot summer day? Not if you want to maintain peace and harmony on your next family outing. An overheating engine is usually the result of poor maintenance or a system failure. Always check fluid levels before heading out on the road. Engine coolant is like oil, it needs to be replenished and replaced periodically.