Road trips are the quintessential vacations for most American families. It is also convenient for most people to hop in their cars with some belongings and visit several destinations in such a large country.
Road trips can be one of the most exciting and enjoyable ways for all kinds of family vacations, such as visiting roadside attractions, enjoying scenic beauties, or shopping in big cities. They are also ideal for people with kids who love outdoor activities or have a chronic need to overpack.
Road trips have also become extremely popular after the pandemic since it offers better safety during travel. Many Americans are taking advantage of the reduced prices of used cars and buying them for road trips. Many people these days are choosing a used Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander hybrid, or Honda CRV for their trips.
These used midsize cars and SUVs are the ideal cars for a road trip because they offer optimum fuel economy, safety, technology, and features. However, it is still advisable to check a few things in any used car to avoid mechanical breakdowns on the road. So if you have bought a used car at the last minute, these are certain things you should do before taking it for a road trip.
Change the Motor Oil
Even if you have purchased a premium vehicle with a solid reputation from a reliable dealer, you will probably have to get the car checked by a mechanic. The first thing they will advise you to do is to change your engine oil to reset the change interval to zero without the need to second-guess.
Motor oil is the lifeblood of any engine and can prolong the life of your used car. Therefore, it is advisable to change the oil filter before you take the car for a long trip. Also, ask the mechanic to check the other filters in the car and change them if required before the trip. That way, you would be able to avoid further breakdowns and have a smoother road trip.
You can check the used car manual to determine if you can switch to synthetic oil. Synthetic motor oils can prolong your car’s engine life and provide a better starting if you are traveling to a place with cold weather. You might also notice a slightly better fuel economy during a long drive once you switch to synthetic engine oil.
Flush Out the Engine Coolant
Coolant plays a crucial role in your car to prevent the engine from heating up, which can destroy the gaskets and other components. Modern coolants can also turn into electrolytes slowly over time and corrode your engine components.
That is why you should always flush out the engine coolant after purchasing a used car and replenish it, especially when you plan to take the car for a long ride. Also, ask the mechanic to check the coolant hoses and replace the ones that are worn out so that you do not face any car troubles on the road.
Replace the Brake Fluid
Most cars use common glycol-based brake fluids that absorb moisture over time. The incorporation of moisture in the brake fluid makes it thicker, which reduces its boiling temperature and makes it susceptible to overheating in the calipers.
Old brake fluid can significantly reduce your car’s braking performance and compromise your safety on the road. So it is best if you get rid of the old braking fluid in the used car and ask your mechanic to replace it. It is not only beneficial for your car, but it will also ensure better safety during your trip.
Check the Battery and Other Electricals
Automobile batteries are no longer as robust as they used to be. Most batteries tend to die soon after their warranty expires. So make sure that you check the manufacturing date of the car battery and replace it if required before taking it on a trip.
A dead battery can leave you stranded in the middle of the road during your trip. You should also make sure that all the interior and exterior electricals are working perfectly. Check the light bulbs in the front and back of the car, and replace any that seem old or problematic.
If you feel that your wipers are not removing adequate water or leaving streaks on the windshield, you should replace them before the trip. Also, ask the mechanic to check the car horn and air conditioner for optimal performance.
Check the Tires
The used car tires may have passed the safety inspection process, but there are several other factors that you must check beyond tread depth for long road trips. Ask your mechanic to check for dry cracking that can be a sign of old tires.
Dry cracks on tires mean that they have lost their elasticity and could prove unsafe during a long trip. Make sure you change any tires that might be showing signs of cracks before you start the trip.
So as you can see, there are several aspects of a used car that you must check before you take it for a long road trip. Buying a used car from a reputable online dealership can reduce some of these burdens as they will take care of most of these requirements. It is still recommended to check these factors, but at least you will be able to save some of the costs before your already expensive trip.